How To Make Blocks For Kids The Easy Way

I made some blocks after watching my grandson trying to build stuff from random chunks of wood. The best ones (the ones he likes and the most) are I cut from 2x4s. I sanded them smooth and rounded the corners with a belt sander. I didn't use a router for rounding over the pine because it tears out so easy I would need to sand them any after routing. I didn't use a pattern or plan. I reasoned that all you need to make a basic block set is to cut a square and use the square as the basic size and keep adding to it. For example, the second size block is exactly 2x the size of the square. A 2x4 is 3-1/2 inches wide. Trim the end to be sure you have it square and smooth. Now cut the blocks 3-1/2 inches long and you have your square blocks. Cut the next blocks 7 inches long yielding a rectangle 7x3-1/2 inches. Seven-inch double size blocks may be all you need. However, I cut a few 10-1/2x3-1/2. I cut around all the knots unless they are tiny and any pitch pockets or other defects. If you carefully pick you 2x4s from the better grades, you will get a much higher yield. Make a few fancier blocks to add some variety. By request, I bored som large (2-1/2 inch) holes in some of the blocks using a Forstner bit and rounded the corners with a router and sandpaper. One hole in the squares, two holes in the double squares and three holes in the longer pieces. I cut some lengths of closet pole for round pieces 3-1/2 inches long. You can make triangles, arches, or other shapes so long as you keep them based on the dimensions of the basic square. Other dimension lumber will work for blocks. To make small blocks cut a 1x2 the same way. A 1x2 will yield blocks based on 1-1/2 inch square. To make cubes, glue the squares together before sanding. I started with cubes. I had built a project that required me to laminate two 2x4s together. When I cut the pieces to size, the cutoffs were near perfect cubes. Within a day these had found a new home in my grandson's toy box. He loved to stack them. You could put some finish on the blocks. I don't think they need it. If my grandson wants to color them, then we get some shop time while he learns a bit about how to paint. MDF would make some excellent blocks. It's smooth and easy to use. To make blocks from MDF cut it into a square and make the other blocks as multiples of the square. If you size the blocks right, there will be very little if any waste. The only downside I can see to making blocks from MDF is that they have no moisture resistance. If MDF gets wet, it will swell up and fall apart. It should go without saying that you should not give MDF blocks to kids that like to chew on their toys.
I made some blocks after watching my grandson trying to build stuff from random chunks of wood. The best ones (the ones he likes and the most) are I cut from 2x4s. I sanded them smooth and rounded the corners with a belt sander. I didn't use a router for rounding over the pine because it tears out so easy I would need to sand them any after routing. I didn't use a pattern or plan.

I reasoned that all you need to make a basic block set is to cut a square and use the square as the basic size and keep adding to it. For example, the second size block is exactly 2x the size of the square.

A 2x4 is 3-1/2 inches wide. Trim the end to be sure you have it square and smooth. Now cut the blocks 3-1/2 inches long and you have your square blocks. Cut the next blocks 7 inches long yielding a rectangle 7x3-1/2 inches. Seven-inch double size blocks may be all you need. However, I cut a few 10-1/2x3-1/2.

I cut around all the knots unless they are tiny and any pitch pockets or other defects. If you carefully pick you 2x4s from the better grades, you will get a much higher yield.

Make a few fancier blocks to add some variety. By request, I bored som large (2-1/2 inch) holes in some of the blocks using a Forstner bit and rounded the corners with a router and sandpaper. One hole in the squares, two holes in the double squares and three holes in the longer pieces.

I cut some lengths of closet pole for round pieces 3-1/2 inches long.

You can make triangles, arches, or other shapes so long as you keep them based on the dimensions of the basic square.

Other dimension lumber will work for blocks. To make small blocks cut a 1x2 the same way. A 1x2 will yield blocks based on 1-1/2 inch square.

To make cubes, glue the squares together before sanding. I started with cubes. I had built a project that required me to laminate two 2x4s together. When I cut the pieces to size, the cutoffs were near perfect cubes. Within a day these had found a new home in my grandson's toy box. He loved to stack them.

You could put some finish on the blocks. I don't think they need it. If my grandson wants to color them, then we get some shop time while he learns a bit about how to paint.

MDF would make some excellent blocks. It's smooth and easy to use. To make blocks from MDF cut it into a square and make the other blocks as multiples of the square. If you size the blocks right, there will be very little if any waste. The only downside I can see to making blocks from MDF is that they have no moisture resistance. If MDF gets wet, it will swell up and fall apart. It should go without saying that you should not give MDF blocks to kids that like to chew on their toys.

Get busy and make some blocks. Blocks are easy to make and cheap to make, and the kids will love them.
Get busy and make some blocks. Blocks are easy to make and cheap to make, and the kids will love them. I made some blocks after watching my grandson trying to build stuff from random chunks of wood. The best ones (the ones he likes and the most) are I cut from 2x4s. I sanded them smooth and rounded the corners with a belt sander. I didn't use a router for rounding over the pine because it tears out so easy I would need to sand them any after routing. I didn't use a pattern or plan. I reasoned that all you need to make a basic block set is to cut a square and use the square as the basic size and keep adding to it. For example, the second size block is exactly 2x the size of the square A 2x4 is 3-1/2 inches wide. Trim the end to be sure you have it square and smooth. Now cut the blocks 3-1/2 inches long and you have your square blocks. Cut the next blocks 7 inches long yielding a rectangle 7x3-1/2 inches. Seven-inch double size blocks may be all you need. However, I cut a few 10-1/2x3-1/2. I cut around all the knots unless they are tiny and any pitch pockets or other defects. If you carefully pick you 2x4s from the better grades, you will get a much higher yield. Make a few fancier blocks to add som variety. By request, I bored som large (2-1/2 inch) holes in some of the blocks using a Forstner bit and rounded the corners with a router and sandpaper. One hole in the squares, two holes in the double squares and three holes in the longer pieces. I cut some lengths of closet pole for round pieces 3-1/2 inches long. You can make triangles, arches, or other shapes so long as you keep them based on the dimensions of the basic square. Other dimension lumber will work for blocks. To make small blocks cut a 1x2 the same way. A 1x2 will yield blocks based on 1-1/2 inch square. To make cubes, glue the squares together before sanding. I started with cubes. I had built a project that required me to laminate two 2x4s together. When I cut the pieces to size, the cutoffs were near perfect cubes. Within a day these had found a new home in my grandson's toy box. He loved to stack them. You could put some finish on the blocks. I don't think they need it. If my grandson wants to color them, then we get some shop time while he learns a bit about how to paint. MDF would make some excellent blocks. It's smooth and easy to use. To make blocks from MDF cut it into a square and make the other blocks as multiples of the square. If you size the blocks right, there will be very little if any waste. The only downside I can see to making blocks from MDF is that they have no moisture resistance. If MDF gets wet, it will swell up and fall apart. It should go without saying that you should not give MDF blocks to kids that like to chew on their toys. Get busy and make some blocks. Blocks are easy to make and cheap to make, and the kids will love them.

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