Published on September 12th, 2010 | by Julie Finn1
Art Blocks: A Painted Wooden Building Blocks Tutorial
Yes, it’s me again, with another post about building blocks. I’m obsessed, I know, but my obsession inspires me to think up new and unusual stuff to do with our family’s huge building block collection pretty much every day.
Painting art blocks is the latest thing that we’ve been doing with our building blocks. We’ve created everything from abstracts to architectural components, from features of earth and sky to active scenes of life, all to add interest to my children’s already interesting block play.
Painting your own building blocks is another surprisingly simple project that’s also full of impact- my favorite kind of project. Here’s how to do it:
You will need:
- Wooden building blocks, clean and sanded. All shapes and sizes of blocks are appropriate for this project.
- Primer. You can use any primer that’s appropriate for wood and for your paints. Since I’m using artist’s acrylics, I prime with gesso.
- Paints and brushes. Choose the best-quality acrylic paints that you can afford. Craft acrylics are fine, but I personally prefer artist’s acrylics.
- Sealant or varnish. Again, use any sealant that’s appropriate to use with your paints.
1. Prime your blocks and let dry. You’ll have to do this in two stages, because you’ll need to leave one surface unpainted so that the block can rest on it while all the other surfaces dry. Then, paint that one unfinished surface and let it dry.
2. Paint your blocks and let dry, again doing this in two stages. The flatter that you keep your painted surfaces, the better they’ll continue to function as building blocks, so avoid leaving ridges or drips in the paint as you work.
3. When the blocks are completely dry, usually overnight, seal them with your sealant or varnish.
These blocks are gorgeous, educational, creative, and fun, and since you painted them yourself, you know that they’re non-toxic, and that the only sweatshop involved in their creation is your own personal family sweat shoppe.