ABOUT US | homegrown wooden toy finish



One of our favorite aspects about  Smiling Tree Toys  and the place we call home, is that we have the incredibly unique opportunity to grow and create our own organic oil blend for all of our toys.  Really, how cool is that?!  Read on for photos and a bit more of how our homegrown, organic wood finish for our toys came to be.

What is camelina?

It's an oil seed plant native to areas of eastern Europe and Asia.  A member of the Brassica family, it's also sometimes called "wild flax", "gold of pleasure", and Siberian oil seed.  (Check out  Wikipedia  to learn a bit more.)

Our family has been growing camelina on our organic farm since 2010. The oil from the seeds is wonderfully nutritious and flavorful.  Like flaxseed oil, camelina oil is loaded with heart healthy Omega 3 fatty acids.  The kicker, though, is that camelina has  lots  more Vitamin E antioxidants than flax.  This means it doesn't go rancid quickly like flax does.  The Omega 3's, antioxidants, and other nutrients in camelina oil reach you in a much fresher and more beneficial state than those in flaxseed oil.  And that means good things for your health. (It's so good for you, in fact, that we also bottle and sell it as an organic culinary oil.) 

 When we pressed our first batch of camelina seeds in 2011, we were also just starting our Smiling Tree Toys Etsy Shop.  And when that gorgeous, golden oil came trickling out of the press, we knew it was the perfect finish for our toys.  Serendipitous, indeed.

Our family's land is also a seasonal home to a happy and healthy family of honey bees.  We were thrilled to find a local beekeeper who wanted to use our organic pasture for his bees in exchange for delicious raw honey and beeswax.  These are the bee hives on our land.

After we press the oil, we gently warm it and add shredded beeswax (either our own or locally sourced, depending on the time of year) to create Smiling Tree's one-of-a-kind organic wooden toy finish.


And here's the end result.  The oil by itself is liquid, but adding the beeswax gives it a creamy consistency.  Perfect for coating wood.

So why do we finish our toys with this organic, earth friendly homegrown goodness?  

The camelina oil does a few things: it brings out the beautiful color and grain patterns in the wood, makes the American hardwoods that we use (maple, cherry, and black walnut) contrast wonderfully with one another, and offers protection from dirt, little fingerprints, and other stains.  The beeswax gives a light waterproof protection to the oiled wood.  When they need a little rejuvenating, you can gently wash your toys with warm, soapy water.  That won't hurt them.  But don't let them sit in water for very long; keep them out of the bath tub and the rain and they'll be much happier! After washing, simply hand sand them with a fine grit sandpaper and re-oil with a food-grade oil in your kitchen.  

And here's the incredible transformation that takes place when we add a fresh coat of camelina oil and beeswax.


So pretty, isn't it?! Our homegrown camelina oil and beeswax finish is another way in which we do our best to be a truly earth friendly, locally sourced business with the tiniest of eco-footprints. And all thanks to just a two simple things from Mother Nature, both in their pure and natural forms.  When you're fortunate enough to be doing something that you love...and when that something is organic, sustainable, and gentle on the earth...it just feels good  Plain and simple.