Linseed oil and tung oil Tung and linseed oil are the most durable oils for protecting wooden toys. The penetrating “drying” oils polymerize, leaving a durable but matte finish. They change the color of the wood, and tung oil produces the darkest color change, followed by flaxseed, then hemp and then walnut. Of all the topics I've discussed over the years, few are as mired in confusion as that of safe finishes for toys.
Rust-Oleum even has a line of paints suitable for toys, at least in the UK (although I've also seen some on Amazon). There are many carpentry clubs, churches and charitable groups that gladly accept donations of toys to give to children in need, especially during the holidays. However, depending on the situation, you can choose to sand the toy until it is smooth, gently over sharp edges and corners and leave it unfinished. Tung oil (also known as wood oil from China) comes from the seed of the tung tree and was supposedly introduced to the West by Marco Polo.
This includes items such as pressure treated wood and pallet wood (some of the pallet wood is fumigated or may have been exposed to toxic materials). There is even heat-treated wood that has been “cooked” for a darker color, greater stability and greater water resistance. A transparent finish will help keep the wood free of stains, facilitate cleaning and reduce any possible irritation in children, who may be sensitive to certain oily woods or nuts, such as walnut, cedar or coconut tree. Once again, there are degrees of “safety” with toys, so we'll start with the safest ones (the most suitable for younger children) and go from there.
ECOS paints are non-toxic, do not contain volatile organic compounds and are certified safe for use in toys and around people who are particularly sensitive to chemical vapors and paint odors.