In preparation for Eleanor’s Peter Rabbit themed first birthday party this weekend I’ve had lots of little (and not so little!) crafty projects bouncing around in my brain. I have had these blank wooden blocks sitting in my craft supplies stash for goodness knows how long, I’ve decoupaged similar blocks before as newborn gifts (spelling out a name or special word) using paint and scrapbooking papers. Then the other day snooping around our local op shop I spied a relatively run-of-the-mill Peter Rabbit book for 50 cents. An idea formed to create some little blocks perfect to use as decor at Eleanor’s party, and then later be thrown into her toy basket to stack and build, or sit on the shelf in her bedroom with all her other special treasures.
To make your own storybook decoupage blocks you will need the following…
- blank wooden blocks (I bought mine on Etsy, you can find similar at craft stores)
- craft glue
- a book of your choice with paper pages
- paper trimmer or scissors
- acrylic paints (if you would like to paint some sides of your blocks)
- flat paintbrush
My blocks were 1.5 x 1.5 inches, so I set about cutting up my book pages. This can feel a little sacrilege, pulling apart a book and slicing and dicing it! I chose the images I wanted to feature – Peter, Flopsy Mopsy and Cottontail, little birds and mice, Mr McGregor’s terracotta pots and watering can. I also cut up some of the text to feature words or sentences which I liked and you one’s which you could identify as from the Peter Rabbit story. I used my paper trimmer which was super fast and easy, but scissors would obviously do the same job. I cut mine as close to 1.5 x 1.5 inches as I could, but I preferred to have them a smidge too small rather than big as I don’t mind the raw wood peeking through on the edges. If you wanted a more seamless look though you could make the paper pieces slightly too big and fold them over the edges of the blocks.
Before you start the decoupage process you can paint the sides of your blocks, although you might want to entirely cover your blocks with your book pages. I wanted to have some solid colour sides as well, using pink, blue and a natural tan colour I painted two sides of every block, doing a few coats.
Using your flat paintbrush and craft glue you can now start coating your block sides and sticking on your paper squares from your book. Use a fairly generous amount of glue, it doesn’t matter how ‘wet’ your paper gets (as long as it doesn’t tear) as you will be going over the top with the glue in a minute anyway! Press down firmly to properly adhere the paper to the wood.
Once you have covered all sides of your blocks with your book cutout’s (this can take quite a while as you turn the blocks over and back, gluing and pressing!) mix up a watered down glue solution – I generally use 2 parts glue to 1 part water. This will thin the glue out, making it less sticky but still great to ‘set’ the paper and give a gloss shine finish. Paint your watered down glue solution onto your blocks, let it dry and then do a few more coats. This process can take awhile also as you let each coat dry, turn the blocks over, paint again, let dry. I’m fairly sure my blocks sat on our kitchen table for a few days as I did half a coat here and there in between Eleanor’s naps and meal times! Also paint the watered down solution onto your painted sides to give a sheen finish to them too.
I lost count of how many times I turned and painted! But I think my blocks ended up with at least 3-4 coats on them. My blocks are quite random and haphazard, but you can cut up your pages a lot more precisely so that when you put them back together they make up one of the book’s pages – a storybook puzzle of sorts!
I’m hoping Eleanor will love stacking her Peter Rabbit blocks into all sorts of configurations, stacking them high and knocking them down, turning them over in her chubby little hands and studying the words and sweet pictures of Peter, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail.
Have you got much decoupage under your crafty belt?
Or re-purposed any op shop finds?