Sunday, March 14, 2010

More Letter Blocks Ideas

Just made a set of family letter blocks. My favorite part of it is seeing my kids turn it around to see all of the family faces.

We first did this project in the fall of 2009. We made sets that spelled the words: BOO, FUN, JOY, LOVE and FAMILY. Suni made an awesome family set, but I never quite got mine finished. I created a .pdf for anyone who wanted to use it for printing their own letters. Some people didn't like the fact that the letters were combined on the same sheet (if you wanted the word boo, you also got the letters for fun). I always meant to fix it, but lost the file when my hard drive crashed a few months back.

Since then, I've come up with a few other ideas for this project...

Mother's Day is a few short months away. I'm going to make a set spelling the word M-O-M featuring pictures of each of my children... equally nice will be a set for my MIL featuring her kids and grandkids.

I also just had a friend celebrate a son's marriage. We're waiting to get the photographs back to make a set using their wedding pictures and the date 2-0-1-0.

I'm putting these ideas out across the world wide web as a way to inspire you.... and to make sure that I get my projects done!

Here is the original Letter Blocks PDF (it spells the words BOO, FUN, JOY, LOVE, FAMILY --using all the letters over three different pages).

Here is the new Letter Blocks 2 PDF. This one offers three options: FAMILY, 2010, MOM. One word per page, but I'd still recommend printing it several times using different scrapbook paper (you can give the extra letters to a friend.) If the word didn't fill the page, I created a couple different font options of some of the letters. Also note that I used different fonts to spell the word FAMILY. If you want the same fonts as the one in the picture, you'll need to use the original Letter file.

You can easily make up your own words using letters large enough to fill the block. Our letters have been set up for blocks measuring 3.25".

For you to Gather:
3 - 6 blocks (depending on the word you're featuring).
Coordinating scrapbook papers to match theme (make sure you have extra squares to cover top and bottoms of blocks)
Decoupage Glue - We like ModPodge's Matte Glue
Printer -black ink works best for printing letters
Foam Brush
Sanding Block (Not really needed, but it goes a long way to saving your hands during the sanding process!)
Distress Ink or Chalk and Finishing Spray
9 - 18 pictures formatted to fit your blocks. The Photo Wizard will help you format your pictures to fit our blocks perfectly!

Step 1:
Determine the theme that you want to display.

Pick coordinating paper to match your word choice. 12x12 scrapbook paper works great. Just trim the paper to 8.5 x 11 before feeding it through your printer. Save any extra scraps for covering the top and bottom of the blocks. Print one of our letter block .pdfs, (see above) or your own letters on your selected papers. Cut out each square using the trim markings. (Trim depends on the block size that you're using. Project formatted to Stories by Me blocks.)

Step 2:
Prepare your pictures. You have two options here. Either print each picture to be at least as large as your blocks. Use the edge of the block to trace around each picture and cut away the excess. Or, you can use the Photo Wizard to get your picture to the exact size that is needed for this project. Need help using the Photo Wizard. See our demo. Still need help? We're only a mouse click away. Just email us at www.mythoughts@storiesbyme.com. Cut each picture to size.

Be sure to print your pictures using a LASER printer! Ink jet colors tend to smear when they get wet!!

Step 3: The cut ends of the wood absorb more glue than the grained ends. Before beginning this step, apply a thin layer of glue of glue to the ends with the rougher (cut) surfaces. Let glue dry.
Apply a thin layer of glue to the first side of one block. Place picture over glue and press in to place. Remove any air bubbles. While the glue is drying, repeat the process for other blocks. Check for overhanging paper edges. It is important to WAIT for the glue to dry before attempting to remove any excess paper. Add picture's 2 and 3 following same procedure. Once all of the picture are in place, add one letter square to each block. Complete this step by adding a decorative top and bottom paper square to each block. Don't worry about matching sides. A random look is great!

Step 4:
Once the glue is dry, carefully sand the edges of each block. Add a distress look by rubbing ink or chalk along the sides of each square to darken the exposed wood and remove any white paper edge.

Protect your project with several light coats of decoupage glue or matte Acrylic spray.

That's all that's to it! Remember, you CAN'T ruin this project. Fix any mistakes by simply sanding down the offending side and adding another layer.

Sit back, enjoy your handiwork and start telling the stories that accompany each picture!


Rachel said...

This is son wonderful. I am so glad to have found your inspirational site! I have been having troubles finding the wooden blocks. Can you suggest a store? Thank you.


creativejewishmom.com said...

Thank you so much for sharing another really inspiring project at Craft Schooling Sunday! Maybe next week you could share the family tree I see over there in the side bar? all the very best! Sara

Stories by Me! said...

Rachel, we've found blocks at our local craft stores. We also had a handy person cut blocks out of 2x4's. Only thing I would caution is to look for wood without splits or knots. Getting corners squared is also a bit tricky when cutting your own. We just ordered a shipment of amazing lightweight blocks in 2" and 3.25" sizes. Shipping costs might make them more than what you can get locally, but check them out here: http://www.storiesbyme.com/?p=/shop

Ann said...

I love the family blocks idea - a great way for younger family members to remember the older generation, especially if you have a person at different ages on the same block. I've seen old children's blocks in charity shops (thrift stores) and will definitely be on the lookout for them now!

Red Couch Recipes said...

I love your blocks and what a great idea to put old photos on them...this is definitely on my craft to do list...thanks. Joni

BailiwickStudio said...

This is a great project! I have an idea or two about how to make a block with the two great-grandsons of my mother and MIL for Mother's Day, and maybe a block of each boy for their mother. I even have the blocks already, from a past idea that never materialised. Thanks! ::Jill

Kimbo West said...

Adorable! My kids would love this...my mom would love this..I love this! found you from skip to my lou

Marianne@Songbird said...

What a fun project! I love all of the vintage photo's and they look so great mixed in with the new.
Great way to keep family memories alive.

Kaysi said...

That is so fun and cute!

Katie said...

Super cute! I am going to make these for everyone I know!

Laura said...

What a great idea. Thanks for sharing!

Feel free to stop by my blog and enter my necklace giveaway!

Lanie Ree said...

These are so creative!

Thank you for linking this up to A Little Craft Therapy, with Life in the Pitts.

Julie said...

Great idea!

Stacey @ Fun to Craft said...

These are just great! I love that they tell a story of family too with the pictures. So creative!! I would love if you shared this at Fun to Craft at our Spring has Sprung Party.

Lois said...

Cute idea....love the blocks...come over and visit my blog sometime.

Lori said...

I love your blocks..

Thanks for joining Get Your Craft On Thursday at Life As Lori... Please join me next week for another great party!

Carolyn @ My Backyard Eden said...

This is such a great idea! Thanks for the links to the letter files.

I just did my first Mod Podge project. This one may be my second!

Thanks for linking up to Make it Yours day at My Backyard Eden.

jill said...

What darling ideas!! putting pictures on the blocks is genius! I love the rustic look all your blocks have!

Quick question for you...where do you get your square blocks? do you cut them yourself or do you buy them some where? I can't ever find any big enough at the craft store.

Stories by Me! said...

Jill, we used to buy our blocks from local craft stores. After we cleaned them out, we tried cutting our own blocks. I don't recommend it. Only about 1/2 were usable. We ended up finding a wonderful resource overseas and had our own made for our projects. We have two sizes (2" and 3.25") but we're hoping to add one more larger size. You can check them out at http://www.storiesbyme.com/?p=/shop

Anonymous said...

What a great idea!!! I am going to craft some blocks as Christmas gifts! Quick question: do you glue the actual pictures (on photo paper) onto the blocks, or do you print pictures onto regular paper and then apply to the blocks?

Thank so much!!!

Stories by Me said...

Yup, regular paper...just be sure to print using a Laser printer (some ink jets smear when the ink gets wet). We use FedEx Kinko's for all of our printing needs. (You can't print an 8.5x11 color sheet for $0.69 at home!)

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