Saturday, January 15, 2011

Simply Homemade: Wooden Name Blocks

Christmas came this year after nine full months of unemployment. Needless to say, we didn't have much money to spare on gifts for family. I wanted to do something special but it needed to be simple and inexpensive. On A Thrifty Mom I saw the following idea and ended up creating four sets of Wooden Name Blocks. Mind you, I had a one-and-a-half month old baby at the time and a three year old. If I can do it, anyone can!

Here's what I ended up with:

 It cost me a total of about $8 to make all the gifts. I only needed to purchase two 2x4's and a can of black spray paint. A few friends helped make this project work. I borrowed the saw to cut the 2x4's, a belt-sander from another friend to smooth out the ends and round the edges. My friend, Annette, lent me her Cricut to cut the letters and also shared her scrapbooking paper and card-stock with me. (I would have purchased my own scrap booking paper but our nearest craft store is an hour away and it's not very thrifty to drive an hour to purchase paper). I have some pretty awesome friends! The mod-podge I had on hand from a past craft project.

Supplies You'll Need:
A 2x4
Black spray paint
Black cardstock
Coordinating scrap book paper
A saw
A belt-sander (you can use sandpaper but it's MUCH easier if you can use an electric sander of some sort!)

Write out the name you'd like to make in advance and decide what size blocks you want for each letter.
Cut the 2x4's to 4, 5, & 6 inch pieces to match what you need for the name.
Using a sander, sand the cut edges and round the corners a bit
Spray paint letters black (or whatever color you want). You may need two or three coats to cover the wood.
Once letters are fully dry, cut scrapbook paper to fit the blocks and mod-podge on.
Using a Cricut or Silhoutte machine (oh, the projects I would do if I owned one of these machines!) cut the letters for the name and mod-podge over the scrapbook paper.

After I had made all my gifts-I finished them just in time to ship them out for Christmas and the shipping cost nearly three times what I spent to make the blocks-I made my name and decided to make the letters double sided. I put the same letter on both sides but used different designs for the letters and different color scrapbook paper. With this method, I can turn the letters around and have different "themes" with the same four blocks. See what I mean?
Red and Green. Our Christmas Theme

Red, White and Blue. 4th of July theme

Red, blue, and tan. General theme.

A Blue theme

Another July theme.

Notice the different "a" in this photo from the one below?

Mix & Match. Lots of options!

The original tutorial I used can be found here on A Thrifty Mom's blog. I made a few changes as you can see. I tried using a stamp pad to ink the edges...totally didn't work and I found it to be an unnecessary step. Also skipped putting felt on the bottom. These blocks are not rough and won't scratch the surface of whatever they're on. Again, an unnecessary step that is an extra expense.

I hope some of you attempt your own name blocks, either for yourself or as a gift. If you do, I'd love to see the finished product! This could also be a cute way to do a child's first name for their room using paint and paper colors that match their room. The possibilities are endless!


  1. Love it! I might have to go visit my neighbor with a saw :)

  2. do you modge podge the entire block or just the front side? awesome project - in fact I have my spray painted blocks drying right now!

  3. You can do either. On my blocks I did letters on both sides (so I can turn them around and get different color/looks) so I did modge podge the entire block. It makes it smoother. On others that I gave as gifts that only have a letter on one side, I just modge lodged one side.

  4. I am making my first set. I love modge podge. Thanks for letting us in on how you do it all.

  5. I know you modge podge the scrapbook paper with the letter on it onto the wood. Do you also modge podge over top of the scrapbook paper on the front?