Although I a mum to a girl and a boy, I always find it harder to come up (or find) cool ideas for making things for boys! Is it just me?
Maybe its because my son is at the age of "electronics". You know, the age where only noisy cars and "Transformers" will do...I love handmade, but I think making one of those would stretch even the most skilled of crafters :)
Well, since I was making a few stocking fillers for my little girl, I decided to help Santa again and make something for my boy (I am leaving the Transformers to Santa..)
A personalised puzzle on wooden blocks!
All wrapped up and ready to go under the tree...
My son is really into puzzles at the moment, so this is ideal! It is a great present for boys and girls really, of all ages; since you can add any picture to suit them: their favourite cartoon character, a family photo, their favourite animal... I printed xmas Disney scenes I found on the web. What is also great about this idea is, that I had ALL the materials at home and did not have to spend a penny! Yeepee!
The initial idea and tutorial below have been inspired on a version by Tiffany at Making the World Cuter. The original tutorial was great, but I decided to add a little of my own spice :) For instance, I am using printed pictures from a computer, so I can personalise it by choosing from a selection of family photos or images from the web.
Before you start:
First things first, let's talk about the image. I tried printing both on laser printer and ink-jet. The best results are achieved with a laser printer, both in terms of the image quality and executing the tutorial itself (you'll see why soon). Don't worry about the image size yet, we'll come back to that.
Once you've selected the image you want, you need to decide on how big you want your puzzle. Mine was 16cm x 12cm. I cut my blocks from wood I had at home, so I was able to cut 4cm x 4cm sized blocks, which in total meant I needed 12 blocks. But you could also buy these blocks ready-cut from craft or DIY shops.
Now that you know how big is your puzzle, adjust your image (using any software you want such as Word, Photoshop, GIMP, Microsoft Picture Manager....) to fit your puzzle dimensions.
Now the fun part :)
- Wooden Blocks (Sand the edges with sand paper). You could paint the cubes if you wish. But I quite liked the "vintage toy" look of the wooden blocks
- Decoupage Glue (Tiffany used Modge Podge, which is also a type of glue, but I could not get it here in France, so I tried with a decoupage glue from craft shops, and it worked).
- Scissors or guillotine
- Paint brush
- Clear Varnish (polyeurethane)
How to make them:
Trim your image to fit your puzzle dimensions
According to your block's size, mark on the picture with a pencil where the blocks would go
Cut your individual squares and glue to the wooden blocks. To make it easier, put some glue on a small plastic container. I applied glue to both the blocks and the back of the paper. Press with the flat palm of your hand to ensure there are no bubbles.
Trim off any excess if needed as shown below. Don't worry, the puzzle will still look great :)
Now apply the glue on top of each picture. If you are using images printed on an ink-ket printer, you have to be very careful here so it doesn't smudge the colours. If this is your case, apply the glue gently and avoid going over the image too much. This is why it is important to ensure there are no bubbles before you do this part! You don't want to mess about with the images when the're wet.
Repeat with all the blocks and let them dry.
I also decided to apply an image to the back of the blocks, so he would have another puzzle to play with. Off course you could cover all the surfaces of the blocks. Wait until the blocks are dry on one side and repeat the same process as before.
The other side
I chose to package the blocks in a empty shoe box that I had at home.
You know how much I looove recycling!! (read cheap too...)
I simply covered the box and the lid with the same brown (Kraft) paper I used here. But feel free to add any paper you like. I have not done a step-by-step tut but it is very simple again. Measure all sides of your box and lid, cut the paper and glue on using stick or craft glue. The box looks wrinkled on the photo, but it does smooth out when dry.
Print a picture of your puzzles and stick on the lid of the box. Because I had 2 puzzles, one went on the inside of the lid.
I quite liked the way the box looked, so I just finished it off with a ribbon - Ready and waiting to go under the tree :)
Pheeeew...It was a long post, huh? Hope you liked the ideas though! :)