What you'll need:
Wood Pieces (Wheels, beads, blocks, etc.)
Straw Hats (Sold for dolls and bears.)
...anything else you think you can dye!
To get started, make sure you have some plastic containers that are not going to pick up your colors. I highly recommend disposable food containers like Gladware and similar items. Don't destroy your mother's tupperware if you don't have to! *grin*
Next, gather your pieces and separate them into dye lots - different piles for different colors. Separate your containers and take out your dyes, then start putting different colors into different containers. I recommend yellow, red, blue and green to get started. Then you can reuse your dyes afterward to make purple and orange without wasting supplies.
Now, make sure you add an entire bottle of color per container. Do not skimp or you'll have wishy-washy results that fade quickly. Then boil some hot water and add enough water to each container so that it'll cover the wooden pieces --just guess here, because your pieces should not be in the containers. You can add more later.
If using vinegar, add this next. A 1/4 cup per container is plenty and it's not always necessary to use it if you want to avoid the stench.
Tip: To get brighter colors, use paste food coloring, commonly available at Wal-Mart and grocery stores with bakery supplies. It's used to color icing and the like for cakes and produces a brighter color, but is more costly. To get the brightest color, rub on with a paper towel as if it were wood stain. Good for coloring perches and other large items.
This next step is the easiest... add your wooden pieces and, ta-da, wait. That's right, wait. Let them soak for about 30 minutes in the colored liquid, making sure you stir it so all pieces get good coverage. The boiling water helps open the pores of the wood so it absorbs more coloring, but it also makes vinegar stink more, so keep that in mind.
Tip: Adequate ventilation is a GOOD idea. Vinegar won't hurt your birds, but it sure does stink!
Lastly, you'll want to dry your pieces, and in order to avoid one piece picking up another piece's color (trust me, I found out the hard way...), make sure you dry your lots separately. You can either lay each piece flat on doubled-up newspaper on a countertop, or use wire baking racks with newspaper under them to catch drips.
Tip: If you get food coloring on your counter top, just use something with bleach in it and it'll come right out. The faster you get to cleaning it, the better though.
And there you have it, the fine art of dyeing bird toy pieces. Of course, if you're lazy or don't want to go through the mess and fuss, you can just buy your pre-coloured pieces online from somewhere like Windy City Parrot, which I do occasionally. *grin*
One Final Tip: Store your colors in the fridge in the Gladware containers for future use, if you think you're going to dye more. Why waste it?