Five Crafty Things to Do with Wooden Building Blocks

I own a lot of wooden building blocks. Seriously, I own a LOT of wooden building blocks. Some I’ve bought new, some I’ve dumpster dived, most I’ve thrifted, but it all amounts to a hell of a collection for my little kids, who can build themselves a hell of a building block fort over the course of a rainy weekend, thanks to me.

But wooden building blocks do not have to be solely your child’s provenance. Whether they’re alphabet or standard, painted or bare, wooden building blocks offer a lot of possibilities for the average crafter.

And for the average eco-warrior craft god/goddess? Well, you guys can see the extra benefits to crafting with a natural material like wood, especially if it’s recycled from some kid’s old playthings.

Maybe you’re a scrapper. Maybe you create altered art. Whatever you do, wrap your head around these five new uses for what you’ll soon see as the champion of the craft room: the ubiquitous wooden block:

  1. If your block has any kind of raised image on it (old-school alphabet blocks often have their letters and pictures done in relief on them, instead of being painted on) then you can print your own woodcuts from them, as easy as stamping.
  2. Speaking of stamping, Chasing Cheerios has a project for turning wooden blocks and foam letters (an excellent way to get rid of them!) into multi-sided stamps. Efficient on space!
  3. Photojojo offers a brilliant tutorial for turning several cube blocks into a photo puzzle. You could totally put a different puzzle on every side of the block, and drive yourself NUTS!
  4. This tutorial for a geometric art puzzle from Mer Mag technically calls for cut hardboard, but it’s easy to imagine how you could substitute in any uniform wooden building block such as triangles, rectangles, planks, and squares. They can all be interestingly tiled.
  5. And if you’re going to paint your building blocks, why not decorate them elaborately? My girls and I have a tradition of decorating wooden Easter eggs with Sharpies instead of dyeing chicken eggs, and you could create similarly elaborate designs on building blocks. Architectural detailing? Animals or aliens? Graffiti? The possibilities are endless.

Have you ever done something crafty with a kid’s toy?

Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

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