HomeDIY CraftHow to Make a Toy Car with Wood (So Cute)

How to Make a Toy Car with Wood (So Cute)


How to make a cute little toy car shaped like a ghost (or whatever you want).

Child playing with wooden blocks and toy car on the floor

So, I made a little wooden car for Halloween and honestly it is very easy to make. All you need is a little wood and a few other things and you’ll be driving those ghost cars in no time.

This Halloween toy is a perfect alternative to candy if you know a child who is interested in cars, or ghosts, or just Halloween in general. But you can also use this wooden toy car tutorial all year round – for birthday gifts, Christmas, Valentines Day, etc. There are lots of options for gifting a small handmade car.

And if you’re not big on ghost size, no worries! You can very easily modify this tutorial for other shapes as well. Animal cars, Halloween monster cars, or even just a regular old wooden car (classic). The process will be the same for all of them, the only variation will be while cutting the initial shape.

Anyway, here’s how I made a toy car for my son that actually spins and everything.

Wooden toys for children (blocks and a toy car) on the floor near a basket.

How to make a wooden car

A little backstory… I planned to make little wooden cars as gifts for Hayes’ birthday party. But I ran out of time.

So I thought I’d prepare them as DIY Christmas gifts. But then I was like…what about a ghost on wheels for Halloween?! Laugh out loud.

I think they turned out beautifully and they were very easy to make.

I’ll definitely be finishing up the remaining pieces for the holidays (I have eight more pieces of wood already cut and sanded). Or maybe as valentines for my son’s classmates in February. Anyway, here’s how I made wooden ghost cars…

Child playing with a wooden toy car with a friendly ghost face on it

Materials and Equipment

  • Scrap wood – I used pine, which is a soft wood, making it easy to cut and sand. It is also lightweight, making it a good choice for children’s toys.
  • Paint – I mixed acrylic paint with water to show the grain of the wood.
  • wooden wheel – I’ve linked the exact set I use and it comes with the little dowels needed for the wheels to make it easier.
  • Dowel Rod – Depending on the wheel set you choose, you may not need to purchase additional dowel rods.
  • Jigsaw – There are a few power tools you can use for this project, but the easiest tool (if you plan on cutting anything with curves or freeform shapes is a jigsaw. I have it) this saw And it works great (it even has a nice hardshell case to keep it safe and neat in the garage).
  • Large drill and drill bit from dowel rod
  • sander or sandpaper block

step by step instructions

1. Draw the initial shape.

Draw the shape of a ghost on a piece of wood. I just made a long arch shape for myself. And spaced each one about 3 to 5 inches apart.

This can be any type of wood of your choice. And works great with scrap wood too.

2. Cut out the shapes.

Use the jigsaw to cut out the wooden ghost shape.

3. Sand the wood.

To make the wood smooth and free of splinters, you will need to sand the shape created in Step 2. You can do this with a power sander or by hand with a sandpaper block.

4. Attach the wheels to the dowel rods on one side.

You’ll do this twice, so you have two sets of wheels running. So a dowel and a wheel. And then another dowel and another wheel.

5. Wait for it to dry and then cut off any excess dowel rod.

Using a multi tool or a pull saw, cut off any dowel rods sticking out.

No long inside part. Cut the outer portion smaller.

6. Mark where you want the wheels to move in the ghost shape.

Now that half of the wheel set is complete, determine where you want the wheels to go.

Mark them with a pencil on the underside of the ghost shape (or whatever shape you made in Step 2).

You want to make sure you don’t mark the holes too low or too high. Because this can affect how the wheels of the finished car will move.

7. Use a drill to make the two holes you marked in step 6.

You want to make sure that the two holes you make are larger than the dowel rod you will be using.

They don’t need to be very big, but should be at least one or two sizes larger. This way, the wheels will run smoothly when the project is completed.

8. Thread the dowels through the holes.

This is self explanatory.

9. Glue a second wheel onto each dowel.

Apply glue inside the wheel hole and also apply some glue on the sides of the dowel.

And then put the dowel in and apply some more glue around the dowel and wheel hole if necessary. This part is dirty.

I threaded the dowel with most of it sticking out the other end so the wheels could fit closer to each other. You will cut off the excess in the next step.

10. Once dry, cut off the excess dowel rod.

As you did in Step 5, after the glue has completely dried, cut off the excess dowel rod that is still sticking out of the wheel.

11. Sand off all excess glue.

Hand sand (or power sand) any excess dried glue and any leftover dowels stuck to the wheels.

12. Paint and seal.

Paint the car and wheels if desired. And then add sealant to finish things off. Now, your little ghost toy is ready for the ride.

*You can also paint the base of the car before assembling it (so after step 3). But for the wheels, I would wait until the end, as you may have to sand off the excess glue. So, finally, I did it all in one go.

Wooden toy blocks in neutral and muted tones on the floor near the striped rug and basket

Woven floor basket filled with wooden blocks and other wooden toys for kids

Wooden toy cars and other wooden blocks scattered on hardwood floor with striped neutral rug

And that’s all about DIY wooden cars. I hope you give these a try because they are really fun to push around on the floor.

Which reminds me, if you wanted to make something like a cat or dog shaped car as a toy pet, you could drill a hole and attach a short(ish) string to these as well.

still! There are so many possibilities with this. Let me know if you’re thinking about making one.

Roundup of different wooden toy cars for kids

Beautiful Wooden Toy Cars to Buy

Don’t feel like making DIY this time? No worries. I put together some of the cutest wooden toy cars I could find.

  1. wooden car set $60 from Odin Parker
  2. fire truck planworld vehicle $12 from Bitte
  3. Candilab Toys yellow b.nana car $10 from Amazon
  4. Guidecraft Wooden Garbage Truck $49.95 from Target
  5. Set of 4 Wooden Cars $26.99 from Etsy
  6. toy car set Hearth & Hand from Target $12.99
  7. bajo pullback car $26 from maisonette
  8. Wooden Animal Pull-Back Car $30 from Odin Parker

More kid-focused DIYs to try

Are you looking for do-it-yourself projects like these?

How to make a toy car (from wood)

I made a little wooden car for Halloween and honestly it is very easy to make. All you need is a little wood and a few other things and you’ll be driving those ghost cars in no time. This Halloween toy is a perfect alternative to candy if you know a child who is interested in cars, or ghosts, or just Halloween in general. But you can also use this wooden toy car tutorial all year round – for birthday gifts, Christmas, Valentines Day, etc. There are so many options for gifting this little handmade car. And if you’re not big on ghost size, no worries! You can very easily modify this tutorial for other shapes as well. Animal cars, Halloween monster cars, or even just a regular old wooden car (classic). The process will be the same for all of them, the only variation will be while cutting the initial shape. Anyway, here’s how I made a toy car for my son that actually spins and everything.

Keywords: lamps, children’s toys, wood

Servings: 1 car

Author: brittany

  • scrap wood
  • paint
  • wooden wheel
  • dowel rods
  • Draw the shape of a ghost on a piece of wood. I just made a long arch shape for myself. And spaced each one about 3 to 5 inches apart. This can be any type of wood of your choice. And works great with scrap wood too.

  • Use the jigsaw to cut out the wooden ghost shape.

  • Sand the wood. To make the wood smooth and free of splinters, you will need to sand the shape created in Step 2. You can do this with a power sander or by hand with a sandpaper block.

  • Attach the wheels to the dowel rod on one side. You’ll do this twice, so you have two sets of wheels running. So a dowel and a wheel. And then another dowel and another wheel.

  • Wait for it to dry and then cut off any excess dowel rod. Using a multi tool or a pull saw, cut off any dowel rods sticking out. No long inside part. Cut the outer portion smaller.

  • Now that half of the wheel set is complete, determine where you want the wheels to go. Mark them with a pencil on the underside of the ghost shape (or whatever shape you made in Step 2). You want to make sure you don’t mark the holes too low or too high. Because this can affect how the wheels of the finished car will move.

  • Use a drill to make the two holes you marked in Step 6. You want to make sure that the two holes you make are larger than the dowel rod you will be using. They don’t need to be very big, but should be at least one or two sizes larger. This way, the wheels will run smoothly when the project is completed.

  • Thread the dowels through the holes. This is self explanatory.

  • Apply glue inside the wheel hole and also apply some glue on the sides of the dowel. And then put the dowel in and apply some more glue around the dowel and wheel hole if necessary. This part is dirty.

  • I threaded the dowel with most of it sticking out the other end so the wheels could fit closer to each other. You will cut off the excess in the next step.

  • As you did in Step 5, after the glue has completely dried, cut off the excess dowel rod that is still sticking out of the wheel.

  • Hand sand (or power sand) any excess dried glue and any leftover dowels stuck to the wheels.

  • Paint the car and wheels if desired. And then add sealant to finish things off. Now, your little ghost toy is ready for the ride. *You can also paint the base of the car before assembling it (so after step 3). But for the wheels, I would wait until the end, as you may have to sand off the excess glue. So, finally, I did it all in one go.



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