Monday, April 16, 2012

Handmade Customized Toy Blocks

My half birthday was a month ago yesterday. It's a stretch, I know. I'd say I actually remember on March 15th that I am on the downward slope toward wrapping up another year about 25% of the time. Doing the math here, that means, I have remembered it is my half birthday on the actual day 6 times in my life. Sounds about right. Obviously, this year was not one of those cases. Anywho, it also means that a sweet baby girl in my life is well on her way to being 3, which I just cannot believe. We both decided that September 15th would be a lovely day to be born, 22 years apart of course. That being said, I have actually been meaning to share these blocks I made over a year ago for my little birthday sharer, Ellie. They were her 1st birthday gift from me and I didn't even come close to topping them this past year. I've got less than 6 months to step up my game for the big 3.

Before there was pinterest - how did I survive?! - I ineffectively bookmarked ideas on my browser. I can't even find the original post I used any more since I made these before I started blogging, but it showed how to make handmade customized toy blocks using stickers and mod podge. The tutorial showed cutting up a 2x4 for the blocks. Not having the tools or wanting to buy a 2x4, I thought I would swing by SCRAP in Portland and test my luck in being able to pick up scrap wood for cheap. Lo and behold, I came away with all this for only a couple bucks. (If you live near Portland, Oregon you must go check out SCRAP on NE MLK out because it can be a gold mine for crafts as well as kid projects. They have a great mission, too!)

Isn't that wooden spool awesome?

I went to Michels to look at stickers. I was drawn to an under the sea themed sheet and so I went with it. I gathered various other supplies from SCRAP (scraps of felt, googly eyeballs, mirrors) and  fabric, ribbon and paint from my craft stash to create the blocks.

First, paint your blocks (if you wish) and allow to dry completely. Then, plan out your scenes, or at least where you want to place each sticker, so you use them all. I did this by cutting the sticker sheet up and laying them out on the blocks before actually peeling the stickers off and sticking them onto the painted wood.

Once you decide where you want them to go, place them as you wish, mod podging over them. I was worried about my 3D parts of the stickers, but after 2-3 coats of mod podge, they were down solid. (And in fact, are still holding up to this day.) Ready to be bombarded by pictures? Here's all the sides of the blocks!

I used sand paper for the sand (mod podged over it) and cut the felt out to make the fish and seaweed, plus a googly eye!

This is one block, all 6 sides.

Here are all four sides of the long, skinny block. I used more sand paper covered in mod podge under the crabs and some white puffy paint for the waves above the turtle and whale.

Next is the front and back of one of the square blocks and the circular block. Those last two words are too much of an oxymoron, but I'm not quite sure how else to describe it since I don't think of them as cylinders, which I guess technically they are, just very shallow.

I covered one block with fabric, super gluing it on. This didn't work too incredibly well, so I wouldn't recommend it for a whole set, but cute enough for one.

You can't see in the picture below, but I had 3 small circular blocks/cylinders/whatever with little holes in the middle, so I painted them and ran a ribbon through them, tying it together.

I used a large recycled almond tin to hold all the blocks and spray painted it before wrapping a ribbon around it.

That's it! I did this project over a few nights, so as to allow proper drying time for the paint and mod podge. The tutorial I looked at did not paint the wood or make little scenes like I did. She just put one sticker per block, which works if that is what you want or don't have enough time to make little scenes. These really are super easy, slightly time consuming, mostly due to waiting for paint (if you use it) and mod podge to dry, but so worth it because they are one of a kind! I want to make another set! So many possibilities...other animals, seasons, food, letters, people.

This post is linked up to some of the parties listed under my Show & Tell tab at the top of the page.


  1. Have I ever told you these are some of my favorite things in our house? Like save-it-in-case-of-a-fire favorite? Because they are. And the girls love them, too. And they've held up so well over time! Yay!

  2. This is a fantastic project! I would love it if you would consider sharing it at my Pinworthy Projects Link Party over at Just Us Four!

  3. Stopping by from the Weekend Show Off Party!

  4. I am inviting you to come and be part of my blog hop:

  5. Adorable. I love how you gave each one of them great details.

  6. This is such a great idea. So cute. I love your designs.

  7. So sweet and so unique! Found you over at Fingerprints on the Fridge! I'd love for you to come link this up at my Tuesday Time Out Party - open all week!

    Tuesday Time Out Linky Party


    Reasons To Skip The Housework {The Blog}
    Tinker B Boutique {The Shop}

  8. DIY Smart Saw and DIY Magic Machine
    DOWNLOAD eBook


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