DIY Wooden Blocks ~ Easy Wood Toy

hi it's Katie from Katie cooks and crafts and today I'm crafting and I'm going to show you how I made these fun and colorful wooden blocks I got it in my head that I wanted to make wooden blocks as a Christmas gift to my 16 month old but I wasn't exactly sure if I could do it I don't have a ton of experience working with wood and I haven't really made a project like this since middle school shop class but I wanted to give it a go I went online and I found a bunch of instructions for all the different aspects I wanted to incorporate in these blocks and I'll put all those links in the description box so you can check them out for yourself these blocks are super simple and basic but I love the way that they turned out like I said I don't have a lot of experience with wood I'm just a mom that wanted to make the toy for her little girl so if I can do it you can do it and let me show you how so this is the wood that I got I got these at Home Depot and these are called Hobby boards and they're just short lengths they're usually 36 inches and they're really nice because they are nice hardwood they have a poplar oak and maple and they're already cut down into these square shapes so this one is one and a half inches by one and a half inches so otherwise you'd have to get a wider board and rip cut it to the width that you want and rip cutting is a lot more difficult so these are already the right width and I would just need to do cross cuts this way to make the blocks the length that I want them but they have these hoppy boards and they're usually around like eight to ten dollars each but these ones these say special buy on them and they were a little bit off to the side and they're one and a half inch by one and a half inch by 32 inches so a little bit shorter but these ones were only 225 each so I picked up two of these I think that will be plenty for the small number of blocks that I want to make and then I picked up this dowel rod this is a one and a quarter inch red oak dowel rod and they have cheaper dowel rods made out of another material I'm not exactly sure what the wood is but I thought that the red oak would be nice but after I got it I kind of not sure if I'm going to use and I'm not sure how easy it is to cut down rod with the saw and how easy it's going to be to sand it down so I might just return that and stick with the the square the cubes in the rectangle blocks for now but what I did is I measured this and when you buy lumber if you buy like a 2×4 it's not actually 2 inches by 4 inches it's one in 7/8 by 3 and 3/4 or something like that with 3 and 7/8 but I didn't measure this and these are right at 1 and a half inches so what I'm going to do is I'm going to mark off with my pencil here the lengths that I want these blocks so I'm going to make a bunch that are cubes so that would be one and a half inches long and then I'm going to make some that are three inches long some more rectangles then I might make a few that are like 4 inches long just so there's a different variety of of sizes so I'm just going to go ahead and mark these off with pencil and then I'm going to take them to my dad's house and he's going to help me cut them with his saw ok so I marked these off and what I have right now if you can see the pencil marks I made 12 of these cubes and then I did six of the three inch blocks and I have three of the 4 inch blocks for now and I have about a foot and a half left that I haven't marked and I'm just going to leave that for now in case something happens and one of these other ones that have already been marked gets damaged or something happens to it I'll have that excess that we can mark and cut at that time so take these over to my dad's house and he's going to help me cut them up so here are all my blocks cut and I sort of wasted my time by marking all of my cut lines all at once because that's something I forgot to take into account is the width of the saw blade as the saw blade goes through the wood it will shave a small amount of the wood off as it goes through and you know over the cumulative effect of like 10 or 15 blocks it makes a pretty big difference so I just started from scratch I measured marked my line and then cut one cube and then I started again measured marked and cut you know my second cube and I did that I also used my dad had a carpenter square which made it a lot easier to get a nice 90 degree angle so if you can get your hands on that tool that would be helpful so in the end I got six of these three inch cubes and four of the four inch cubes I did a fourth one I thought it would be nice to have four corners if she wanted to build a house or something and then twelve of the cubes so I think that's a pretty pretty good beginner set my next step is to sand all these blocks I need to remove the pencil marks and some of the edges the cut edges are a little bit splintered and a little bit rough and I also want to blunt these corners the points and the sides of the corner so this one I just kind of gave a once-over with 100 grit sandpaper this one had pretty nice smooth cut edges so this was really easy to just kind of polish up a little bit for these one's a little bit rougher cut and see I need to probably get something like sixty course 60 grit coarse sandpaper or something like that to start these out but pretty happy with these I'm not sure how blunt I want to go with these corners just trying to make them a little bit baby-safe but that is my next task is sanding all these and I'm just standing them by hand with sandpaper if you had a sander tool I'm sure that would make it a lot easier but I'm just kind of using what I got so let me work on that and I'll show you what they look like when I'm done so here are my blocks all sanded and ready to go and I'm not going to lie this wasn't the most fun part of the process I had to sand them all by hand and I will say that it helps to have quality sandpaper the first same paper I had was kind of a value pack and it wasn't doing a very good job so I got some better sandpaper some coarser sandpaper I started with 80 grit that really helped take down the points and the sides here and then I moved to 100 grit 150 grit and then finally 220 grit and I didn't want them like perfectly glass smooth so I didn't really worry too much about making them perfectly smooth I just wanted them uniform and no splinters of course blend the edges and smooth over the cut edge so I think that a little bit of texture is nice feels nice in the hand help the baby grip the block and I think it'll help the would accept the dye a little bit better so you could leave them just like this as natural wood or you can condition the wood with some oil or wax or something but I wanted color on mine and I didn't want to paint mine so I looked online for some ideas on how to dye the wood or stain the wood and one thing that I saw was to use liquid watercolor but the liquid watercolor at the craft store near my house did not say non-toxic so it has to be non-toxic of course so another idea I saw online was to use food coloring you can see I have some on my fingers I did a little test run with some of the scrap wood but basically most of the directions are pretty similar you just dilute some food coloring with a little bit of water and you can brush it on the wood or dip it and dunk it in the wood or soak it in the wood I also saw one instructions that said to use alcohol isopropyl alcohol and I really liked this idea over the water because the alcohol will evaporate away a lot faster than the water so these will dry a lot faster I can do a second coat a lot sooner and also because the alcohol will evaporate away the wood is less likely to be damaged by water so I'm going to do these directions the directions for Kyle luring the wood using this alcohol where I got this idea I'll link that down below so you can read it for yourself but what they said is to use one tablespoon of this alcohol and to tint it with 10 or more drops of food coloring and so I want to make these as colorful as possible so I have 22 blocks here and ideally I would like to have 22 different shades of colors so they're all completely different I don't know if I'm going to be able to do that but I'm going to try and I also I don't want to have like 22 different color little cups of color to do this so what I'm going to try I'm going to attempt this and hopefully it works is I'm going to start with one solid color like yellow I'm going to dunk one in the yellow and that will be the yellow block and then I'll slowly add drops of either the red or the blue or the green so that it slowly changes from the yellow to the green and that way I'm not you know ending up with 22 different cups of color so I'm not sure if these colors might end up a little murky if I start mixing a little bit too many shades so I might have to repeat colors I'm not sure yet but I'm just going to start with a small amount here so one tablespoon of the alcohol and I'll start with the yellow and I'll do ten drops of the yellow all right and I'm going to give that a little stir I'm using q-tips I don't have a bunch of paintbrushes so I'm just going to use q-tips and give that a stir and then I don't know if I'm going to brush this on or dunk it I did some practice runs with some scrap wood and I just dumped them but I think I might just do this and try to get a more uniform color okay so I'm going to just set this aside I have my work surface covered here with wax paper so it can just sit there and dry I'm going to set the yellow aside and I'm going to make a batch of I guess red I don't know if the camera is picking up how vivid the colors are they're turning out very saturated just with one coat and I think that colors will lighten as they dry but I'm very happy with how they look so far they're very pretty so next I will do I guess blue okay so now this is straight green he said I have a 1 block of each of those solid colors so now I'm going to start mixing my colors a little bit so I think I'm just going to mix a little bit of green and with the blue and get sort of a teal color so we'll just put some of this in here stir it around and see what it looks like so you can see how how they'd colors very slightly different but enough of a difference so now I have all my blocks colored and I'm really happy with the way they turned out this was actually a lot of fun I did the first blocks with just the one color and then I sort of mixed two colors together to get kind of in between those shades and then after that I just kind of mixed everything together you can see here in the container I have blue and I added green and I was just like using this q-tip picking up some blue putting it on the block then dipping it in the green and putting it on the block and they're all different shades and some of them you can kind of see the two different colors depending on how the wood was picking it up so I think they're really cool one thing I will say is it's probably best to start with the light colors because some of the colors as I mixed them together we're getting a little muddy or murky colored and what I was doing for those blocks is just making them a darker color to kind of hide that so like this one I was doing green and yellow together and it was starting to look like kind of muted olive green and I didn't like that so I just added a bunch of red and it turned out Orange so if you start light you can always make them darker and also my hands you can see some of this dark color was transferring to the lighter block so if you start light and go dark then you have a less less chance of that transferring but I guess I could have worn gloves but that's not how I roll so I'm going to let these blocks dry overnight clean up my mess here and I'll show you what they look like in the morning here we are the next day and the blocks are all dry and some of them came out really bright and vivid in uniform and some of them came out a little bit less uniform and I think part of that's just the way that the wood accepts the dye and I think probably also it's partially how I applied the dye but I'm not going to stress too much about it I wish they were a little bit more uniform but what are you going to do I'm going to press forward one thing I did want to check to see how much the dye transferred from the blocks and if you rub it with like a white cloth the dye transfers and if you get them wet the dye transfer is quite a bit so what I ended up doing was I'd started with these two and I just run water over them and just rinse them under the faucet and you can see how much lighter the colors are and it's it's a lighter shade of color but they're still very colorful and I would rather the color come off now in sort of a controlled fashion then to come off all over her hands and clothes and stuff like that so I washed these and kind of rubbed them to get the excess dye out of the wood and now that they're dry I rub them again and there's a little bit of color transfer if you really rub with a white cloth but not nearly as much as before so I'm going to go ahead and wash all of these blocks just to get that excess dye off so this is what the blocks look like after they were washed and dried I just let them air dry for several hours and you can see a lot of the color washed away but they're still very colorful and the colors even a little bit more even so I did rub them with the cloth again to see how much color transferred and it was a little bit but not too bad to get ish in the wood I'm going to use this oil and wax mixture I made and this is four parts coconut oil and 1 part beeswax and I'll put the link to the recipe in the description box but I just put this in the microwave for about two minutes and melted it down and then I stirred it as it cooled and it made this really thick paste it's kind of thick but the heat from your hands will start to melt it and I'm just going to rub it into the wood working it in the oils going to absorb into the wood and then the wax is going to lay on the surface to help keep the wood from drying out further so I'm just going to rub a thin layer all over all of the blocks okay so these blocks have been sitting here for about four hours with the oil wax sure on them and now I'm just going to take this this is just an old rag an old washcloth and I'm just going to wipe them to get the excess off and to sort of buff them polish them up a little bit you can see there's still a little bit of color transfer but it's nothing compared to what it was before I'm really scrubbing vigorously and that's how much know if you can see that's how much color transfer there is so I really think that washing them was a good idea and the washing them kind of lightened the color I'm but putting this oil wax mixture has kind of deepen the color so they kind of cancelled out and I still think they're really pretty so I just need to clean these all up and then I'm going to let them dry overnight just again just to make sure they're fully dry and then they'll be ready to wrap up for Christmas so here are my finished blocks and I'm really happy with the way that they turned out I mean I know they're not perfect but I feel like every time I make a project like this where I kind of reach outside of my comfort zone I get about halfway done and I think if these I'm not going to turn out and but in the end these turned out I think really nice and I think my little girl is going to have a lot of fun with them so I hope you like this video in this project if you found this video because you're making blocks yourself leave some comments down below I'd love to hear what you're making your blocks out of or you know the dimensions you're using or if you're putting color or painting on them I had so much fun making these blocks and I'd love to hear about your blocks too so until next time thank you so much for watching

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