Some people call it a busy board. Others call it a latch board or discovery board. But whatever you call it, babies and toddlers think it’s amazing.
That’s why this DIY busy board would make a great Christmas gift for your favorite baby. It’s truly an easy and fun project, too. This DIY busy board is made from items right out of the aisles of a Home Depot store, including cabinet knobs, a door knocker, a bolt lock and more.
Just follow along with this step-by-step tutorial.
DIY Busy Board
The first step to creating a busy board is purchasing the sensory hardware that will go on the board. Take a walk around The Home Depot, look for different types of hinges, knobs, locks, latches. Anything that requires movement or grasp, or has a nice texture— and is baby safe— will be a great addition to your board!
Here’s how we created this particular discovery board.
- Liberty White Ceramic Knob
- Liberty 1¾ in. Unfinished Wood Knob
- Liberty Hammercraft Door Hinge
- Liberty Citation II Plaza Knob
- Baldwin Colonial Door Knocker
- Chain door lock
- Barrel bolt
- Swivel caster
- Felt pad
- Behr Dark Navy Matte Paint and Primer in One
- Behr Frost Matte Paint and Primer in One
- Orange Acrylic Paint
- Wooster Shortcut 2-in. Angle Sage Brush
- Painter’s tape
- Round wood table top
- Drill (You can rent a drill from The Home Depot.)
- Phillips-head screw driver
Step 1: Position and Mark Hardware
Start by placing the individual pieces of hardware on the board. While holding the hardware in place, test out their sensory features. For example slide the barrel bolt, and flip the hinge. If you like the placement, and the sensory features don’t disrupt one another during movement, then mark all of your mounting holes for each piece of hardware.
Tip: There is no right or wrong way to choose or layout your hardware. Babies find all these shapes, colors and textures irresistable. Just have fun with it.
Step 2: Pre-drill
Now that you have the placement holes marked, use a 5/32 in. drill bit to pre-drill for application ease.
Step 3: Tape and Paint
For our board, we wanted bold colors with a unique geometric design. We started by taping the bottom quarter of the board to paint Dark Navy Blue. Once you have your tape securely placed, use your paintbrush and apply paint in the direction of the wood grain.
Allow the paint to fully dry before removing the tape.
For our second color we taped over the edge of where we just painted Dark Navy Blue and added Frost White to the rest of the board. Again, allow your second coat to fully dry before removing the tape.
For our third color, we went with a bold orange acrylic paint, following the same process listed above.
Step 4: Add Hardware
Use a Phillips-head screw driver and the provided mounting screws to attach the knob to the busy board. Start from the back of the board, and push installation screws through to connect into the threaded cabinet hardware.
For the other hardware items, follow their individual instructions for mounting. Each piece of hardware you purchased should come with installation instructions and mounting hardware.
Step 5: Unwrap and Enjoy!
The greatest part of this DIY busy board project was the final result!
Our test subject, Hudson, really liked it. Watching him scrunch up his fingers as he tried to push the barrel bolt and seeing his awareness of how his hands were moving as he tried to clutch the chain was a most rewarding experience.
Developing fine motor skills is a important task for a baby, and this project was a fun way to help in his developmental milestones!