I’ve been cleaning up and paring down lately, and that includes some of the wooden blocks my kids got as gifts when they were young. So I started thinking about upcycled wooden blocks craft ideas that might breathe some new life into them. While a fresh coat of paint (with a non-toxic finish!) is an easy fix, there are so many neat ideas out there from talented crafters to help you take those basic wooden blocks your child may have gotten as a baby, and repurpose them to make them fun for toddlers, kindergarteners, or even puzzle-solving big kids.
I think this DIY stacking house block craft at Mer Mag is so smart and easy. It’s the limited, muted color palette that makes it look like something you’d pay a fortune for in a modern toy store. And even if all you have is square blocks, I still think my kids would have fun building with this.
A while back, we found this DIY chalkboard city blocks craft at Hello Bee and it’s still a favorite. All you need is the chalkboard paint, and then you hand your kids the chalk. How fun that a farm can become a city–or that a charming ranch house one day can be a barn, a dog house, or a palace the next.
A fun variation on puzzle blocks, this animal block puzzle craft at The Everyday Soiree is so fun! And what a great airplane toy for long trips. If you create one on each side, your child will have six whole puzzles to play with. To make it even more personal, you could skip the fancy illustration (mine would never look like these, ha) and ask your child to paint each side with her own creation.
Wooden blocks don’t just have to be for play. This Instagram wooden photo blocks craft was designed as a DIY for displaying wedding photos at Intimate Weddings, but it’s perfect for family photos too, of course. My kids would love a set of these to display on their bookshelf–especially the photos they took themselves. She gets fancy with a corner punch to round the corners of the photos you print, but you can make it as simple as you like.
There’s also a very basic tutorial at A Day in My Life for six-sided wooden photo blocks using nothing more than Modge Podge, photos and blocks.
As long as you have the paint out, this DIY painted wooden block puzzle craft by Liz Stanley for Momstastic is so easy. Create a simple geometric shape across a number of blocks, and young kids can put it back together. You can even paint a more challenging one on the bottom for twice the fun.
Taking it a step further, is a tutorial for a geometric cube puzzle from wooden blocks by How Now Design on Etsy Blog. Isn’t the result gorgeous? If you’re working with blocks that are already painted, just cover them all with a coat of white paint first before you add the colored triangles. Voila! Brand new, very cool toy.