A few friends and family members have been expecting and I decided I wanted to make a custom set of wooden letter blocks to give to them as a gift.  

As a bonus, these blocks are made from the cast-offs from a lumber mill.  They are made from Western Yellow Cedar so smell great and by wood-burning and avoiding paints they are non-toxic.

Step 1: Make blocks

The yellow cedar I used were materials that were left over from a large order and had sat out in the weather for years.  To bring them back to a nice condition I used my hand planer, belt sander and chop saw to create blocks of wood that were almost two inches square.  I used the thickness of the board to determine the size of the block and honestly found that a little variation was nice to have.  They are not perfectly square but close enough.  

In about an hour I could cut 30 blocks (enough for a few errors) and sand the faces and edges to make them suitable for the next step.
Those look fantastic! I especially like the polar bear and the cursive 'B'. Having done some wood burning I can appreciate the HUGE number of hours invested here. Wow. <br> <br>As for a safe finish, you can use mineral oil or butcher block oil both of which are completely non-toxic. Really and finish that is labeled &quot;food safe&quot; shouldn't be a problem.
I hadn't thought of oils like that. I think I have a few cans of linseed oil - I'll do some research and see if that would do the trick. Thanks!
That's a really cute idea! I love how you added in capital letters, lower case, and cursive to help kids recognize letters in all forms. Also, you didn't stain or paint the blocks - that's just how western yellow cedar looks?
Nope... no stain. It was a tossup - with some stain or polyurethane or something they would stay cleaner but with the way kids put everything in their mouth I wanted to stay as non-toxic as possible. If someone has a good suggestion for something that would work I will give it a try though.

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Bio: I like making things out of items that would have otherwise been discarded. Check out my other projects!
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