In todays world of DIY everything, we are often asked how to safely achieve the brightly colored blocks that our pampered feather babies LOVE to destroy. I will share one method here. There are plenty around and this is just one of the many.
To begin, start with clean sanded block shapes. (make sure you have rinsed off the sanding dust) You choose size, shape and wood. (make sure it is a "safe wood). It is a good idea to do quite a few of these at one time, as they can be used as refills for chewing toys. Divide these into different lots, these will be your different colors.
Source some containers . These will need to be of some size as you will need to leave them to intensify in color. We suggest using gel food coloring. This is human grade food coloring mixed to a ratio of 2 teaspoons food coloring gel to approximately 1 liter (1 quart) of isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) . Soak your blocks for an hour, (for more intense color, paint a number of layers with a brush) then remove to dry in the sun. This drying steps dissipates the alcohol making the blocks completely safe for our companion birds.
Alternatively, you can replace the isopropyl alcohol with 1/2 cup of water and bring to a boil. (NEVER EVER BOIL ALCOHOL) As above soak the blocks for an hour ( the paint brush layering works here as well) and remove to dry in the sun.
If you find the sun has abandoned you, air dry your blocks for an hour while pre warming your oven, 160f to 200f , and dry them in the oven. This drying time will vary depending on the degree of dying achieved during the air dry phase. Keep a close eye on your blocks in the oven, and remove promptly when dry. Let cool.
You can now use them as refills for your birds chewing toys, or if you are making new toys, make sure your skewers or chain is stainless. If you are using rope, please use no cotton. If you are using bells, these need to be stainless as well.
Congratulation and well done on your decision to DIY your parrot toys and good luck.
Edited and adapted from the original effort by Terrie Hein and Sandra Witt 1/23/17