Friday, September 9, 2016

quilt blocks. like actual blocks.


Literal Quilt Blocks for my big sister Leigh for her birthday! I have had the idea for this gift (and also the supplies) for at least two years. Sorry, Leigh. Sometimes it takes a while for me to get to things. Your birthday rolled around again and it finally lit the fire under me. (But still too late for your actual day. Doh!)

I sent this block set to her along with the HST card I made and a handy chart with block layout suggestions:


The 4x4 set of painted blocks is just meant to be a fun, quilty coffee table display or to stand upright on a bookshelf. Leigh's a very talented quilter so I thought she'd have fun switching the designs of the blocks around to suit her mood.

I spent a very looooong time playing with this set. It's fun! See:

















You get the idea! So many possible combos. You can make each design in only one color, two colors, or use all three. And if you are methodical when you paint the blocks and do each one the exact same way, each time you build a design on the front there's a different symmetrical design on the flip side.


I bought the precut 1.5 inch wood blocks on Etsy. Six sides to each block = three solid colors and three HSTs in the same colors. Any sides with unusually dark or flawed woodgrains got covered with a solid. I was pretty happy with the nice quality of the unfinished blocks. (Tip: Make sure your blocks are all nice and square before you paint.)

I debated greatly on the best way to get the color on the blocks. I thought about cut paper and Mod Podge first, but scrapped that idea (haha, quilt pun) and decided to paint them by hand with acrylic artist paint. Important: Use a good quality flat brush and a careful stroke to paint on the color if you don't want to drive yourself crazy getting paint over the edges. Mine aren't perfect but I decided that lends them handmade charm.

I used a spray clear sealant to finish the blocks. As a project bonus, the fumes gave me visions of heffalumps and woozles. Strong stuff. Definitely use it outside and don't bring the blocks in until they are dry.


And yes, the overspray got on my glass table^. Didn't realize that until I took away the cardboard and noticed it had a nice frosted glass effect around the edges. Soap, water and steel wool took care of the problem. Rookie mistake.

These blocks were a fun project! I'm planning to make at least one more set.


20 comments:

  1. What a great idea! That must've taken a lot of thinking and planning? Like making a fabric quilt?

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    1. Grandma G, not nearly the brain bender that an actual quilt is. :-)

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  2. What a wonderful table/shelf decoration! I'm looking at your blocks and you said 3 solids and 3 HSTs in the same colors, but I'm seeing at least 4 combinations. Each of the colors with a natural half, and one HST done as black/white. Is that correct?

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    1. Hey! Thank you! I'm not counting the wood as a color. Just the paint.
      Three sides of the cube are solids: white, green, and black. Three sides of the cube are HSTs with the natural wood showing: white, green and black.

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    2. Thanks Larissa. I realize now that the square I thought was half black/half white is a lighting issue. It really is a very clever project.
      Sheryl M

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  3. I made a set of quilt wooden blocks for decoration--there is a photo on my instagram @brigitgail, but I really love the idea of using these as a tool to play with quilt designs! I didn't think to spray them with a fixative--also a great idea.

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    1. That was a cool idea, I had a look! Thanks for sharing.

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  4. looks super amazing! I had a set of blocks like this but never thought of making them into quilt blocks! how cool.

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    1. Hey, Anna, thanks so much! I apologize in advance for the time you'll spend staring and turning the blocks if you decide to convert yours to to quilt blocks.

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  5. My husband is a woodworker, I showed him your post and I said he could make wooden cubes. He said that yes, he could and just looked at me. I reminded him that we have a year old granddaughter and he said he might make them. I will buy the blocks on Etsy, like you did. Thank you, this is wonderful!

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    1. LOL, Joanne! Good luck with motivating your in-house wood worker. Yes, might get faster results ordering the blocks. :-)

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  6. Love this project! I'm curious about the HST suggestion card you included in the gift. Did you make that yourself or is it available anywhere?

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    1. Hi, Mary! No I confess I picked it up on an image search. I just googled 4x4 HST quilt blocks and it turned up. Further digging credits the block designs to this nice person: http://www.plover.com/~mjd/misc/quilt/quilt/

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  7. I have the same question about the card! It's all so clever and the entire package is a great gift!!!! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hey, mariaeb on Ravelry, I just googled 4x4 HST quilt blocks and that helpful image turned up. Further digging credits the block designs to this nice person: http://www.plover.com/~mjd/misc/quilt/quilt/

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  8. Have you thought about manufacturing them? I would buy a set but I don't want to spend the time painting. Also I bet you could market them to quilt shops both local and online. You might want to run with this. If it were my idea, I would.

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  9. this is so smart!!! I'm going to try and make a set for my kids to play with.... they can learn patterns etc. so cool. thanks for sharing!

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  10. You should get the game Q-bitz....same types of blocks, but with cards. You get four sets of blocks, and cards you need to copy, and race the people you are playing against. My kids love it. http://intl.target.com/p/q-bitz-visual-dexterity-game/-/A-17072452

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