# Build Blocks!

5 Steps
Are you tired of cheap toys, cheap electronic toys, cheap plastic toys, cheap plastic electronic toys?

Do you want to craft something for that special child in your life? Or have a neat coffee table toy?

Well, I have the project for you. This one will bring you back to your childhood, and when it's done, it's something that everyone will marvel at.

Blocks... Yes blocks.

This instructable will show you how you can turn a \$3 2x4 into a set of your very own, homemade blocks. We have seven shapes in our set, the brick, the long bridge, the short bridge, the square, the square column, the round column, and the triangle. Feel free to create your own shapes as you see fit!

Originally, I made a set of blocks when my youngest son was 2. However, shortly after making them, we gave them to my nieces for Christmas. Unfortunately, we never got around to making another set... Until now. My sister-in-law was lamenting the toy choices for my niece, and I offered to make a set of blocks. And we decided to document as an instructable.

As a matter of fact, try finding a set of wooden blocks to buy. There aren't many choices and most are more than \$50.

So, here's what you need:

Materials
1 - 2x4x8 - Pine ( get the \$3 one, not the \$1.50 one.) As straight, and ding free as possible.
1 - 1.5" x 36"diameter hardwood dowel

Tools:
Saws - Table and Miter, or hand saws and miter box
Drill - Hand or Press
Drill Bits - 3/8" and 2.5" hole bit
Sander - Hand or Belt

Safety:
Goggles
Gloves
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## Step 1: Block Dimensions

Before we cut out our blocks, we need to determine the dimensions of our blocks.

As a 2X4 is really 1.5x3.5, most of the pieces use the 3.5" width.

This are the dimensions i used.

(1) Square - 3.5" x 3.5"

(2) Brick - 7" x 3.5"

(3) Triangle 3.5 "x 3.5" x 5"

(4) Square Column 1.5" x 1.5" x 3.5"

(5) Round Column 1.5"D x 3.5"

(6) Long Bridge 5" x 1.75"

(7) Short Bridge 2.5" x 3.5"
vpatrick says: Nov 2, 2011. 11:39 PM
That's really easy . As it is made up of wood so its kind of green toys. which would be great for kids. I will definitely try it..
Green Toys
Hoaxinmi says: Nov 14, 2009. 9:06 AM
yesss. This exactly what i was looking for. Thanks, can't wait to make and paint a set for my nephew.....Now only for some sort of carrying case or box
HEY YOU says: Jun 5, 2009. 3:11 AM
Just a pile of blocks is lots of fun for all kids - even us "older" kids!!

For the educationally minded, "unit" blocks made to a ratio of 1:2:4 in large enough quantity to allow for the construction of almost anything are fantastic!

Here is a nice sample: http://www.sciencemusings.com/blog/2008/02/block-heads.html

Cheers - I have to go play now!!
lee_schnitz (author) in reply to HEY YOUJun 5, 2009. 8:33 AM
Hey You! ;-) I never hear of the unit block ratio... Good to know! And thanks for the link! Lee
celestiallarry says: May 21, 2009. 6:16 PM
I think the perfect time to make blocks for children is in conjunction with a baby shower. Nowadays, men and women get invitations to baby showers. At the ones we have hosted to celebrate our upcoming grandchildren we changed up the typical schedule: after the usual games and eats and at the point when the gifts start being opened, I lead the men and boys out to the shop where we make the blocks for the child. I cut the blocks ahead of the party, so they are ready to sand (and polish with lemon oil wax, if we have time). FYI, I start with 1" x 4" (nominal) poplar and first rip them in half and then in various lengths. Give each guy a shop apron and a few pieces of sandpaper and you'll get a lot of laughs during the project. Optional: I am lucky to also have access to a laser engraver so I put the child's name on a number of the longer blocks. I';ve also engraved a set of beginning vocabulary words on others. Don't forget to get photo of the group doing the job to save for the child's scrapbook!
lee_schnitz (author) in reply to celestiallarryMay 21, 2009. 7:36 PM
Larry That is an awesome idea... Next time we have a baby shower ... I will mention this! thanks again! Lee
futureage says: Jan 30, 2009. 2:59 PM
Nice job! We made a set of blocks for my 1 year old for Christmas and he loves them. Because he puts everything in his mouth we chose to seal his blocks with mineral oil because it is non-toxic.
LinuxH4x0r says: Dec 18, 2008. 6:33 PM
Nice! BUT DON"T WEAR GLOVES! They can get caught in the belt and suck your hand in (one of my friends was lucky and only lost a nail instead of the entire finger)
1up in reply to LinuxH4x0rDec 19, 2008. 8:18 PM
If you weren't wearing gloves and your hand got caught in the belt would the result be any better?
keethrax in reply to 1upJan 27, 2009. 10:31 AM
Yes. Gloves can turn a "minor" power tool injury into a catastrophe. (Minor may be a relative term depending on the specific incident) Or pull you in when there may have been no injury in the first place.
LinuxH4x0r in reply to 1upDec 19, 2008. 8:28 PM
Its less likely to get caught and pull you in. You can jerk it away easier if it does
duck-lemon says: Dec 28, 2008. 7:58 PM
That's some great work, my dad actually did exactly the same thing when i was young. -Duck
tomtoy says: Dec 20, 2008. 8:46 AM
Blocks, and other child's toys, are most usually made from beech, all corners rounded to minimize splintering. Sanding small parts is extremely time-consuming. One method I have seen is to make a revolving 6 or 8 sided drum of ply, lined with sandpaper. Some one centimetre cubes of softwood are added to cushion the parts during sanding. The whole is on a frame with a horizontal axis driven by a motor in the manor of a stone-tumbler, although larger. Does anyone have plans for such a machine, speed, gearing for washing machine motor?
beetlewoman says: Dec 19, 2008. 4:38 PM
Always fun!
johnpombrio says: Dec 18, 2008. 2:30 PM
Good idea but needs more work to make them safer. I built over 200 blocks for my kids when they were young. I used maple as pine just splinters too easily. I also used a rounding over bit on all 90 degree edges to again prevent splintering and to make them less painful if someone decides to turn into "Bam-Bam". I finished them with Watkins wipe on oil finish. When my kids outgrew them, I sent them to the kindergarten class where they a STILL being used 15 years later!
foobear says: Dec 18, 2008. 2:09 PM
so simple, I like it
nolte919 says: Dec 18, 2008. 12:42 PM
Excellent Instructable! I think you made a small typo in step 1 "block dimensions". You list the dimensions of the long bridge as 5" x 3.5", I think you meant 5" x 1.5".
lee_schnitz (author) in reply to nolte919Dec 18, 2008. 1:07 PM
Good catch. It's actually 5"x1.75" ( half of 3.5" width) I'll fix that! Thanks!
Phil B says: Dec 18, 2008. 7:22 AM
Nicely done, and the kids can use their imagination when they play with the blocks. When our kids were small I made a couple of dozen cubed blocks from scrap 2 x stock (actual dimension 1 5/8 x 1 5/8 x 1 5/8 inch). My wife painted them in colors with non-toxic paint. I made an open wooden tray for the blocks. It was painted red and I attached four roller skate wheels. There was a heavy string on the front for pulling the tray wagon. They got a lot of good use from these blocks and their wagon.