WFMW – Handmade block puzzles!

By megret | January 20, 2009 at 10:50 pm | 5 comments | Learning and doing, mom-made crafty stuff, WFMW


I must say….I used to be a good friend of Mod Podge. I went through a “decoupage” phase in our early married years where I wanted to decoupage everything. Years passed, though, and my Mod Podge dried up inside their canisters….and I began to surrender to the fact that anything handmade and worth having would have to be bought.

Then I saw this tutorial over at ZRecommends. My kids LOVE six-sided block puzzles! We own two already and they (and I) are always tinkering with them. They stretch the mind in a way that a 2-D puzzle can’t….they force you to think in a non-linear fashion, and they’re addictive. And this tutorial looked pretty easy….and frugal, too. Think I’ll try it. Why not?

The blocks were easy to find….$2.99 at Hobby Lobby for a pack of six 1-1/2″ solid wood cubes. The Mod Podge, yes. Also easy to find. Took the place on the shelf that my dried-up cans once held claim to. Wait. Doing this project meant….cutting up/disassembling a picture book? No way. I hold books in high regard. There was no way I was going to embark on this unless I could find duplicates on our shelves.

Which I did. I had two copies each of five of our picture books….plus a cute past-year calendar my mom had given me for the sole purpose of “creative crafting.” I was set. For this particular block puzzle, I pulled pages from a free copy of “Do You Have a Hat?” by Eileen Spinelli and Geraldo Valerio that came in a box of Cheerios.

The process takes a little while to set up….but once it’s going, it flows pretty quickly. I first stacked the blocks in two rows of three, then measured the total surface area. I cut a frame out of cardstock to use as a guide. I took a book apart page by page, then framed the part of each illustration and cut them out with an x-acto knife (bearing down on an unused cutting sheet from my kitchen).

block puzzle 1

block puzzle 2

Marking off where each square began and ended, I proceeded to cut (alongside a ruler’s edge) the rectangle section of picture into six equal squares. I brushed the Mod Podge onto each block (I found this easier than brushing it onto the paper — it tended to curl up) then pressed each image down. After they dried, I brushed a full coat of Mod Podge to seal in each block, then let them dry overnight.

block puzzle 3

block puzzle 4

This particular puzzle went to a baby shower this past weekend for a cousin and his wife’s baby boy on the way. I have plans to make even more! And also, now that I have Mod Podge in hand and a renewed sense of what all it can be used for (sans 70s-era decoupaged vases and photo frames), I want to find time to try making these, this, and this.

Thanks, ZRecommends, for the tutorial…and the assurance that yes, even I, can create something useful that my children will love!

Run over to see more WFMW ideas for today at Rocks in My Dryer!

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5 Comments

  1. Serena (5 years ago)

    Wow, that looks wonderful! The art is perfect for a block puzzle!

  2. jodi (5 years ago)

    girl you are so smart! :) I saw these somewhere awhile back and thought they would be fun to try, but they never made it onto a list! :) thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Stephanie (5 years ago)

    Hey – that is really cool! I’m glad you posted so many corresponding photos. The end result is quite impressive …and I love that “vintage” look.

  4. Pmom@ChocolateandGarlic.com (5 years ago)

    This is fantastic! I bought a block puzzle like this in Germany a decade ago. It was soo expensive! But my kids have loved it. I would never have thought of making my own. What a wonderful idea! Thank you so much for posting this.

  5. LaDonna (5 years ago)

    I’ve bought the materials to make the puzzle and I’ve just finished up the clothes pin magnets as a birthday gift for a friend. They turned out so cute and I just know she’s going to love them. Thanks for the post :)

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