DIY ABC Blocks {Step by Step Tutorial}

10:42 AM Elephant & Chick 6 Comments


After moving into our home a few months ago, my husband Andrew became interested in woodworking.  He has since turned into quite the wood carpenter, making bookshelves, desks, corn hole boards, and a headboard just to name a few.   

A couple months ago Andrew decided he wanted to make some wooden "ABC blocks" for our daughter Penelope.  I couldn't be more excited, and love the thought of Penelope playing with toys her parents made just for her.  We knew this was going to be many hours of hard work so we decided  to make the blocks when my sister Genevieve came to visit!  Many hands make light work, right?! 


We opted to make the blocks entirely from scratch: 
Cut the wood ourselves 
Sand
Make the vinyl stencils from my circuit
Paint
Seal with polyurethane

  But, if you want to go Sandra Lee Style and go semi-homemade you can buy blocks pre cut and sanded, and buy vinyl stencils on Etsy.  




We purchased 2 x2's which measures 1.5 x 1.5 perfectly.  The blocks therefore, are perfectly square, measuring 1.5" on all sides.  This ended up being the perfect size for two reasons.  ONE, we were able to max out each piece of wood getting the most bang for our buck and TWO, this size fits perfectly in a baby (or child's) hand.    

Sanding is what took the longest.  Genevieve, Andrew and I sanded together for two hours.  
26 blocks + 3 people +2 hours = 6 man hours 

I liked sanding the blocks myself (as opposed to buying them) because I was able to get the blocks super smooth which is important since Penelope puts everything in her mouth!

I made the vinyl stencils for the blocks from my circuit.   Here are the different sides of the blocks:
Uppercase letters
Lowercase
 Solid block of color*
Random shape or number (or things like #, %. $ etc..)  
2 sides with a diagonal triangle *
*free hand


We peeled and cut the vinyl to fit the blocks and placed the different stencils on each of the three sides (other three sides were free handed, see * above).  Then we used blue tape and covered all of the parts of wood still showing to ensure we didn't get any paint on those parts.  Note:  I have since made many different kinds of blocks and now skip this step.  I just try to be very careful to not get paint on these parts.  If i wanted them to be perfect, I would just buy them from the store.         


The painting was the best part.  We choose 5 different colors (Martha Steward paint of course) and used the foam brushes you can get at your local craft store.       



For the white paint, we did two coats just to be sure, but for all other colors we just needed one.  


After we painted and let the colors dry, we pulled off the stencils and applied two coats of polyurethane.  This is what makes the blocks safe for babies (or anyone) to put in their mouth.  And if/when you need to clean them off (say, for example if you babies spits up on them) just use a warm wash cloth with soap.  
easy peasy.  




Penelope absolutely loves to play with them, and I do too!  They are always the talk of playgroups when we host at our house and I love the fond memories I have of making them every time I look at them.  Totally worth it in my opinion.  




Supply List: 

Wood Blocks or 2x2's 
Paint
Stenciles for blocks 
Sander and/or Sandpaper 
Foam Brush 
Polyurethane




What toys have you made for your baby? 





6 comments:

  1. These are ADORABLE!! Than you for posting this. I was originally looking for anyone that had a layout, or schematic, for what goes on each of the sides...and that search lead me to your post! Very helpful. Thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
  2. These are ADORABLE!! Than you for posting this. I was originally looking for anyone that had a layout, or schematic, for what goes on each of the sides...and that search lead me to your post! Very helpful. Thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh this makes me so happy. I'm glad you like it.

      Delete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It is safe for babies to put the polyurethane in their mouth?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is!! We've put it on all of our wood projects and it is safe for baby!

      Delete