I’ve been pondering the idea of making some wooden toys as Christmas gifts this year. And then a couple weeks ago, a reader emailed with a project idea… and it was too cute not to try! You won’t see me passing up an opportunity to use my scroll saw! Especially if it means making these darling wood and acrylic Animal Banks. And these are such great homemade gift ideas for the littles in your life! And in addition to the tutorial below, I’m sharing free printable templates for each of these guys too!
Supplies for Animal Banks
*This post contains affiliate links*
- 2×10” board (if you’re only making one back, you’d only need about a foot in length)
- Printable Animal Bank Templates
- Scroll Saw (this is the one I use, but this one is also fabulous and more affordable)
- Acrylic sheet
- Oscillating Multi-tool
- Rubber bank plugs
- Forstner bits
First things first? Print out (here) the animal shape of your choice onto cardstock, and cut out with scissors. Place your animal template onto the wood and trace with a pencil. Cut out with your scroll saw!
Sand the rough edges and smooth the whole thing out with 220 grit.
We bought sheets of acrylic (or ‘plexiglas’) and use a protractor to draw a perfect circle (x2) and cut with a band saw. We found that the band saw worked better than the scroll saw when cutting this medium, because the blade goes in one direction instead of jumping all over the place. We cleaned up the edges a bit with sandpaper to make a perfect circle. Resist the temptation to remove the film from the plexiglass until later after the holes are drilled!
If you’re wanting your animal bank to be left as raw wood, feel free to skip this next step. I decided to prime and paint some of them. I used this primer, and this brand of spray paint.
We experimented with a few different ideas for making the money slot on the top, but this method proved to be the easiest and look the most professional. We used this tool to create two slits, and then drilled both ends. It’s not perfect, but we’re ok with a little bit of a ‘homemade look’.
On a couple of the animals (giraffe and turtle) I painted some spots on before this next step using brown acrylic craft paint, and sealed with water-based poly.
Next, mark where you want your four screws to go. You don’t want the holes to be too close to the edge of the plexiglass OR the wood. Right in the middle please! Then drill. And repeat on the second acrylic circle for the opposite side.
After drilling the holes in our acrylic circle, we placed it onto the wooden animal bank and marked where the pilot holes need to be, then drilled our pilot holes into the wood.
Go ahead and remove the protective film on one of the acrylic circles and screw it onto one side. Then place the other one on the other side, and mark where you want your rubber plug to be. We used these rubber bank plugs, so we used a 1 3/8 Forstner bit.
They turned out SO CUTE! I love them all. Which one is your fave?
Wouldn’t these wooden animal banks make such cute homemade gifts for the holidays, birthdays, or even baby showers?!
Thanks for pinning!
If you make these again in the future, I’d maybe try a rabbeting router bit with a template of some kind for the coin holes if you can find one thin enough? Good job regardless!
Love these so much! Pig is adorable.
Handy Squad says
That is a marvelous gift idea! They look adorable and not too complicated to craft them! Absolutely fantastic, thank you for the post!
Oh my gosh these are downright adorable!
Remember the heart one your dad made for you years ago?
Bethany Sy says
Yes I still have it! It’s in a box in the attic somewhere. I tried to find it to share a picture in my post, but it must be buried pretty deep. 🙂
Those are the cutest-I love all the colors!
My dad made me one of these just like this when I was a kid!! It was an alligator. I forgot all about it until right now 🙂 Love it!
Jenifer S says
I made one of these as a 4-H project when I was a kid, but it was a teddy bear. I’d forgotten all about it, until I saw these! I need to make some for my kids now. I wonder where that bear went….