As well as making Christmas tree ornament for my grand kids I have been making wooden toys and puzzles for them for years too. I began making 5 and 6 piece puzzles and now need to make 50 pieces puzzles. This year I am trying two different approaches to these more complex puzzles. For this turtle puzzle I decided to paint it completely, I have yet to add the details and then cut it out.
With the fish puzzle I laid it out and cut it out and will then paint it. Regardless of when I paint them I give my puzzles a generous coat of shellac before I paint. My experience is that sealing the wood means that the coat goes on easier and takes far fewer coats, sometimes only one coat of paint is needed to get a good result.
And now that our grandchildren are 4 and 6 years old I don't have to worry about them chewing on the wooden pieces so I will lay on a coat or two of spray varnish once the painting is done.
Another project that is rolling along and leaving wood chips all over the house is my movie snow men, tomorrow I am going to look to attach so pipe cleaner arms and the carrot nose. I think the legs are a bit too long to impersonate a recent movie celebrity but I check that out before final painting.
It will soon be Christmas and I have found the most recent must have tool for a man's workshop. Check this out, it is my secret link of the day. This tool is specialised but may have a place in your shop beside the coffee pot and the mini fridge.
Keep work folks, Christmas is coming faster than you imagine.