How to Make a Wooden Toy Rifle

By Jane Smith

According to Ellen Booth Church, former professor of early childhood education, education consultant and author, "Pretend play...promotes abstract thinking. The ability to use a prop (such as a block) as a symbol for something else (such as a phone) is a high-level thinking skill." Children begin using their thumb and forefinger, a stick, or some other item to simulate a gun sometime between age three and five. This is not a cause for alarm, but a healthy process which enables the child to integrate what he or she has learned about guns into his sense of right and wrong, fair play, and consideration for others. When children are forbidden something, it becomes all the more fascinating. When they are taught a healthy respect for dangerous items, however, and taught a code of proper behavior with those items, they learn to use other, higher-level problem-solving skills.

Lay out the profile of your rifle stock on the 2-inch by 4-inch by 15-inch pieces of stock lumber. Cut out the profile using a jig saw. Use the rifle stock profile that accompanies this step or design your own. Use a 2-inch hole saw to make the trigger hole as shown in the diagram.

Use your Dremel tool to carve a 3/4-inch diameter, 3-8 inch radius groove in the nose end of the rifle stock. This is where your rifle barrel will go. Smooth the groove with sanding bits.

Use instant adhesive to attach the 3/4-inch diameter dowel to the gun stock. Press the dowel into place firmly and allow the glue to harden.

Drill four 1/8-inch diameter pilot holes along the barrel, into the stock, beginning at the butt end of the barrel, every two inches. Countersink the holes. Attach the barrel to the stock using 2-inch long, 1/4-inch diameter brass wood screws.

Use your disk sander to smooth the entire gun profile to a satin finish, using coarse, medium, fine, and extra fine sanding disks, in that order. Apply several coats of bright neon orange, pink, green or yellow paint to the entire rifle for safety.

Things You Will Need

  • 2-inch by 4-inch by 15-inch piece of Stock lumber
  • 3/4-inch diameter by 18-inch Dowel for rifle barrel
  • Carpenter's pencil
  • Power drill
  • 2-inch Hole saw
  • 1/8-inch Drill bit
  • Countersink bit
  • 4 2-inch long, 1/4-inch Brass wood screws
  • Dremel tool with wood carving bits
  • Jig saw
  • Disk sander
  • Coarse, medium, fine and extra fine sanding disks
  • Instant adhesive
  • Bright neon orange, pink, yellow or green paint
  • Clear acrylic wood treatment