You knock on the bedroom door and step in, carrying with you a mug of cocoa and some chicken noodle soup.
“How’s my little trooper doing?” you ask.
A small whimper squeaks out from under the pile of blankets and pillows.
You place the tray down on the bedside table and sit on the edge of the bed, feeling around for your little one under the plush layers.
Aha! You feel what seems to be some little knees and elbows poking out and you do what any practical adult would do – tickle attack!! The little whimpers turn to giggles and you’re rewarded with a sweet little face popping out from underneath.
You hug and you ask your little one how they’re feeling.
They prop themself up against the pillows and look out the window at the snow coming down.
“I’m feeling better, mostly. I’m just sad that I can’t go out and play.”
“I know,” you nod. “But do you know what you can play with while you get better?”
That little smile starts to reappear: “My icicle blocks toy making kit?”
“Yes!” you reply!
You pull out the wintery wooden blocks that the two of you painted little icicles and snowflakes on last year and empty them onto the bed.
“We can make anything with these, let’s just use our imaginations! Do you wanna build a snowman with our toy blocks? Or a little igloo? What do you want to make?” you ask.
Your little smiles back at you: “Let’s make everything!”
These cute icicle blocks are so sweet! They show a glimpse of raw wood with just enough of a splash of color to invite a second, admiring glance.
You will need the ‘‘Perfect Brush’’ for the streaky, icicle effect. Although you can try it with the foam applicator, the bristles on the Perfect Brush make it ideal for getting the delicate effect on these toys.
We recommend practicing on a piece of paper until you master the ‘‘swipe’’ that leaves the delicate streaks of paint. It won’t take long to get the hang of this simple technique, and the practice will significantly reduce frustrations when creating these wooden toys.
This tutorial presumes that you are familiar with the ‘‘Toymaking Basics’’. Check out these short and easy tutorials before making Icicle Blocks!
For this tutorial, we created Icicle Blocks that are pastel pink, white, and pastel blue. But you can create this effect using any color combination you like. We think white, grey, and black Icicle Blocks would make dramatic and fun toys!
How to Make Icicle Blocks
Prep the Blocks
Check each edge of the wooden toys. If there are any rough edges, sand them smooth and wipe them clean.
For detailed instructions and tips, see the “Prepping the Blocks” Tutorial.
Mix Your Paints
Our “Mixing Your Favorite Colors” Tutorial will teach you how to get the perfect shade.
We used the following colors in this example, but you are welcome to use YOUR favorite combinations!
- Mix Rosy Red, Butter Yellow, and Snowy White in an empty paint pot filling up about 1/3 of the pot. Use your squeegee to mix the paint to create Pastel Baby Rose Pink.
- Mix Mary Blue and Snowy White in an empty paint pot, filling up about 1/3 of the pot. Use your squeegee to thoroughly mix the paint to create Pastel Mary Blue.
Paint the End Grains
Note: You will only paint ONE side of the end grain. Do not paint both sides of the block but leave one side blank.
- Paint the end grain of three blocks with Snowy White toy-safe paint using your foam applicator. You will likely need two or three thin coats to get smooth, even coverage. Set on an unpainted side to dry.
- Paint the end grain of three blocks Pastel Baby Rose Pink. Set on an unpainted side to dry.
- Paint the end grain of three blocks of Pastel Mary Blue. Set on an unpainted side to dry.
Apply the Star
- Cut out the star stencil and center it on the dry, painted side of the block.
- On the pink and blue wooden blocks, apply a white star on both the painted and the unpainted end grain of the wood block.
- On the white blocks, apply three pastel pink stars to either the painted or the unpainted side of the blocks. Apply three pastel blue stars to the last three sides.
- Set on their unpainted sides to dry.
Seal the Stars
- Dip your foam applicator or perfect brush into the toy-safe sealer. Apply two thin coats of sealer to the end grain of each toy
- Set on an unpainted side to dry
- Ideally, you would wait 72 hours for the sealer to cure to avoid accidentally gluing your homemade toys to your artist’s surface. But if you can’t wait (and, to be honest, we never do!), set out a plastic gallon freezer bag for your toys to rest on. The thick plastic won’t stain or stick to your toys, making it easy to continue your project. Just flip the toys every so often so that every side has an even chance to cure and dry.
Apply the Icicles
- Practice this technique on paper until you are satisfied with the ‘‘swipe’’ and the look of your icicles!
- Take a little toy-safe paint that matches the color you chose for the wooden toy. In our example, we use Snowy White paint to match the Snowy White paint on top of our wooden block.
- Starting about 1/3 to ½ of the way up the side of the block, swipe ‘‘up’’ toward the painted end grain of the wooden block.
- Move the brush to the side of the first swipe. Choose a spot slightly higher or lower than the first swipe and repeat the movement.
- Continue until the entire side of the toy has ‘‘swipes’’ of varying lengths.
- If needed, carefully apply a second coat, mimicking the pattern of the first swipes.
- Fill in gaps near the top where the swipes connect to the fully painted side of the end grain.
- Repeat on all four sides of the block.
- Place on a sealed star side to dry.
- Repeat with the rest of the wooden blocks in the set, making sure to use the correct color to match the painted end grain. (ie. Pink Icicles to match the painted pink end grain.)
Seal the Last Four Sides
- Once dry, use your foam applicator or perfect brush to apply two thin coats of sealer to the last four sides of the toys.
- Set on a dotted, painted side to dry.
- Allow to cure for 72 hours.
- Although the sealer will be dry to the touch very quickly, the underlayers still need to cure and dry.
- Store the toys a finger-width apart on a gallon plastic freezer bag to avoid ‘gluing’ them to each other or the drying surface.
- Turn daily to ensure even curing on all sides of the wooden toys.
Now, it is time to play!
Enjoy your beautiful, Made-With-Love toys! They will look darling in a playroom, and your little ones will have so much fun with your beautiful, bespoke toys!