After ordering around 3000 wooden cubes for another project, I found myself with a bag of "leftovers" which were unsuitable because some corners were a little wonky. Instead of just tossing out the spare blocks, I found a handy little way to re-use them.
This is a project that can be done over a few days. It takes some time to sand the edges of the cubes, and you'll need to allow a few days for glue to set, and paint or stain to dry.
I turned my little Tetrimino blocks into magnets, but you could make them into anything really.
Step 1: Supplies
You'll also need the following:
- Sandpaper (I used somewhere around 100 grit, but if you want a smooth finish be sure to get some higher grit, too)
- Tack Glue, or Wood Glue
- Wood Stain or Paint
- An Idea for the End Product
Step 2: Know Your Tetriminos
You'll need to know these shapes for the next few steps:
I - Made up of four blocks in a straight line.
O - Four blocks which are formed into a 2 x 2 square.
J - A column of three vertical blocks, with one placed to the bottom left.
L - A column of three vertical blocks, with one placed to the bottom right.
T - Three blocks forming a row, with one added below the center.
S - Two stacked horizontal blocks, with the top one offset to the right.
Z - Two stacked horizontal blocks, with the top one offset to the left.
Step 3: Sanding
Now that we have a decent idea of the different Tetriminos, you can set about sanding your wood cubes to get those o-so desirable beveled edges. This process takes a decent amount of time, since each cube needs to be sanded individually (Plus each one has 12 sides that need sanding).
If you're low on patience (and high on ingenuity), you can make yourself a jig to bevel multiple cubes at a time, or make something that would hover a power sander. As for me, I just start a Star Wars marathon and work my way through a bunch of cubes.
Once you bevel off the edges, you need to decide if the cubes need to be sanded with a finer grit paper, or if you like them the way they are. I decided to leave them the way they were.
Step 4: Gluing
Before you start gluing your cubes together you need to consider what application your Tetriminos will have. Mine will be put to use as magnets. Wood glue will create a much stronger bond, but will also require a much longer time to allow the glue to set. Depending on how many clamps you have this may not be an option.
After some testing with Tacky Glue I decided the strength of that bond (and low drying time) would be more than suitable for my applications.
Once you decide on your adhesive of choice, you can begin to arrange your wood cubes into Tetriminos and start applying adhesive.
Note: If you plan on staining your Tetriminos, be sure to arrange them with the wood grain all facing the same way.
Step 5: Painting/Staining
Hopefully you've decided between paint and wood stain by now. You should just follow the directions on your given product since they obviously will vary between the different mediums.
I decided to stain my Tetriminos, and found three different Minwax Wood Finish cans to do the job. The Tetriminos got divided up evenly between the three cans, and once I moved to a well ventilated area, were ready to go. It was kinda hard to take pictures of this process since my hands were somewhat covered in stain up until the end.
Depending on your proposed use for your Tetriminos, you'll probably want to coat them with a protective clear finish, or seal.
Step 6: Make Them Useful!
What are we going to make these little Tetriminos into?
A few ideas ran through my mind, but I was in dire need of some spiffy magnets for my white board. After collecting some spare (SUPER TINY) Neodymium magnets I had laying around I proceeded to glue magnets to the backs of each Tetrimino. If you really want to go all out, boring a proper sized hole for each magnet would be awesome.
That seems to be everything...
Thanks for reading!