Paint and Play Toys

The Paint & Play series for Smarts & Crafts advocates for an ambient, hands-on crafting experience. Each wooden figurine invites the crafter to personalize their new favorite toy – with angles and mechanisms to investigate. Each kit also includes 12 basic and specialty paints as well as two paint brushes. The paints are curated to remain gender neutral and to challenge the ordinary.

My responsibilities were designing the wooden toys from sketch to finish, specifying guidelines and swatches for manufacturing, and developing the packaging.



In 2020, the Alien Explorer and Unicorn were the first of the Paint and Plays. These figures are my most dear as the possibilities were boundless. I designed with the following criteria in mind:

  • Open-ended form free of embellishment for the crafter to definethe figure
  • Transform from art project into a living toy
  • Sized within 5″× 5″× 4″
  • Be incredibly delightful

While the original Unicorn was static, there was an opportunity more narrative based play. Through 3D printing and paper folding, I engineered the Alien Explorer with articulated limbs and an accompanying piece – the Spaceship. This was a great success, and our buyers requested for more articulated and posable Paint and Plays in 2022 – including a redesign of the Unicorn with moving limbs.


Each Paint and Play toy features unique and exciting paints carefully selected to contest typical color schemes.



For the original Unicorn and Alien Explorer, I wanted the packaging to be stackable while challenging the typical 6-face box form. I figured, your next favorite toy should have a grand stage! Thus I developed the octagonal form with artwork across the panels.

In 2022, I revised the criteria for the packaging to accomodate for more Paint and Play designs on the shelves. The newest packaging maintains artwork that contextualizes the figure on a traditional 6-face box shape. A vignette specific to each figure calls back to the theatrical spirit of the original octagonal packaging.

In all versions, the packaging utilizes only paper and jute cording in order to be environmentally conscious.