Wooden alphabet blocks make a perfect baby gift – so why not DIY a set to make things that much more special? This simple tutorial is great for beginners. You can make a trio (to use as a prop), or make a full set for play.
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I recently splurged on one of my “dream” craft supplies (though it wasn’t that expensive…) – a woodburning tool, after I was inspired by this cool craft by a friend.
I pulled out every bit of scrap wood (craft sticks, paint stirrers, etc) to practice on. In the end, I decided to try for some wooden blocks for my baby due in June.
Of course, my toddler hijacked them in advance and promptly lost the B block before I had a chance to photograph it. So, I went for another round.
Please note: these wooden alphabet blocks are not appropriate for a baby to play with. They make a great gift as a prop to display, but since babies mouth everything, and I used regular (not taste safe) craft supplies, I wouldn’t give it to a baby who will mouth it. It does make a great toy for toddlers, so it can be gifted to be used as a prop initially, and then as a toy.
If you want the baby to play with it, you can try Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge (just leave a month or so for it to fully cure.) That should hopefully stand up to baby’s drools.
(Both regular glossy Mod Podge that I used AND dishwasher safe are non-toxic. I still wouldn’t want my baby eating it…)
The bottom line is, I think it’s not bad for my first woodburning project! I did practice in advance (and if you’re new to woodburning, I highly recommend you do too, to get the feel of it.) I also did not aim for perfection, but for a pretty, polished, handmade look. And I do love how it came out!
I drew simple shapes to represent the letters on top though it really could do without. I found that on the wood I had, the top was very rough, so I couldn’t draw on it smoothly. Check your cubes first to see if yours are appropriate for wood burning, and have a smooth, manageable surface.
I painted these using watercolors, to allow for a more subtle color, and for the wood grain to show through. You can replace with craft acrylics if those are more practical for you.
What you need to make these wooden alphabet blocks:
- Wooden craft cubes (note the size you want when purchasing. I recommend between 1-2 inches, larger if you’re using it as props, smaller if creating a whole set as a toy.)
- A woodburning tool
- Watercolor paints
- Mod Podge or similar decoupage medium
- Foam brush
- A pencil
How to make DIY wooden alphabet blocks:
1. Sketch your design in pencil. I did a letter on all four sides, and a picture on the top.
2. Outline it using your wood burning tool. Hold the tool as you would a pencil, and move along smoothly and softly (don’t put pressure).
3. Continue for all of your blocks.
4. Erase your design. Mix up watercolors to a consistency that you like. I did it thin enough to show through some grain, but thick enough to give me a bright, bold color.
5. Paint inside all your designs. Don’t worry if it overlaps the wood burn. It will likely not show on the final piece.
6. IMPORTANT: wait for your watercolors to dry completely before painting! When it’s dry, paint over with Mod Podge to seal it in, and give it a glossy finish. I did one layer. For more gloss, go for two. Tip: it works best if you dab on the decoupage, and then paint softly in a downward motion.
That is all! You now have a beautiful set of DIY wooden alphabet blocks to gift or to keep!
Now I need your feedback. What should I burn next?!
Friday 30th of September 2016
What a great way to use a woodburning pen! So glad I was able to inspired you to create something so cool ;)
Monday 16th of May 2016
I'm glad you mentioned a specific brand to cover the finished product with. My crafting experience is pretty limited, so the more specific the suggestion, the better. Thanks for sharing!
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