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Milestone Blocks

Bridgewood Heirloom Classic ABC Wooden Block Love Letter Toys - Newborn Month Counting Blocks

Taking cute milestone pictures of a sweet and rapidly growing baby is fun! And even better when the adorable props are also educational toys that will help that little one develop fundamental motor skills. 

It is simple to make ‘Milestone Blocks.’ We created white Love Letters with Pastel Pink and Blue Numbers for this tutorial. But feel free to pick and choose your favorite colors to create something unique. For instance, colorful numbers on raw wood make lovely toys!

When creating the number blocks, you will see that we have a specific recommendation for which numbers go on which block. Although you can choose your own number combination, the one we suggest will give you the most versatility for creating milestone or date-counting blocks. 

Number Block #1 = 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Number Block #2 = 0, 1, 2, 6, 7, 8

Number Block #3 = 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 

This tutorial presumes that you are already familiar with the basic techniques for creating Made-With-Love toys. If you still need to, check out ‘How To Make Toys: The Basics‘ for easy-to-follow tutorials. 

Supply List

How to Make Milestone Blocks

1

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.

Mark as done

2

Paint the End Grains

  1. Use this tutorial to identify the end grain of each block.
  2. Using your foam applicator, apply a smooth, even layer of paint on the end grain of the wooden toy. When finished, flip over and apply to the opposite side. 
  3. Set on an unpainted side to dry. 
  4. Continue to paint the end grains of the entire set.
  5. It will likely take two or three coats of toy-safe paint to get even coverage. Build up the paint slowly. Thin, even layers will look the best, and accept a stencil the easiest. 
  6. By the time you have finished the last toy block, the first should be dry and ready for its second coat. 
  7. Continue until you have even coverage on the end grain of all the toys. 
  8. Let dry.
Mark as done

3

Apply the Star to SIX of the Blocks

  1. Yes! You heard it right! Only put the star on only six of the wood blocks.
  2. Cut out the star stencil, remembering to leave an edge to make it easier to pull off. 
  3. Using the ‘Stick, Scrape, Peel & Reveal’ technique you learned in ‘The Basics’ of Toymaking, gently scrape the paint color of your choice on the star. Lift to reveal your perfect BridgeWood star image.
  4. Repeat on the opposite side and continue for the rest of the six wood blocks.
  5. Set these blocks aside on an unpainted side to dry. We will work with them again in Step 11.
Mark as done

4

Apply Numbers 0 and 1

  1. On TWO blocks without the star, apply the numbers ‘0’ and ‘1’ to the end grain of the blocks. 
  2. Make sure each of these two blocks has one ‘0’ and one ‘1.’
  3. Paint your desired color. 
  4. It is best to do the stencils one at a time. That way, you can quickly lift and place the stencil onto another block to paint the number before the paint begins to dry in the mesh.
  5. Remember always to gently wash your stencil immediately after painting. (See steps 5 & 6 of this tutorial for detailed instructions.)
  6. If you choose to do different colors, you can do this in two ways.
    1. Let’s say that you start with a blue zero and then want to paint a pink zero on the other wooden block immediately afterward. You can do this, but note that there will always be a residue of blue paint left in the mesh of the silk screen. Your pink paint might have a purple tint instead of pure pink.
    2. Wash and dry the stencil before applying the different colors if you want ‘pure’ colors. 
      • Make sure that the stencil is bone dry before applying the toy-safe paint. If the stencil is wet, the water will ‘pull’ the paint under the edge of the stencil, leaving you with a fuzzy image or one that appears to have a ‘halo.’ 
        • If this happens, you can either immediately wipe it off with a baby wipe and then repaint the end grain white. 
        • Or wait until the image dries and use your detail brush to gently touch up the fuzzy image. 
        • When used by a responsible adult, an Exacto knife can also do wonders for fixing fuzzy images.
      • But it is MUCH easier to avoid having a fuzzy image in the first place by ensuring that your stencil is dry. 
Mark as done

5

Apply Numbers 3 & 4

  1. On the end grains of the third block, apply the letters’ 3′ and ‘4’ in the color of your choice.
  2. Clean the stencils and set them to the side, as you will use them again for Step 9. (Or skip ahead and go straight to Step 9 to apply the stencils immediately.)
  3. Repeat the steps from Step 4.
Mark as done

6

Seal the End Grains

  1. At this point, you should have two blocks with ‘0’ and ‘1’ on the end grains, and one block with ‘3’ and ‘4’ on the end grains.
  2. Once these end grains are painted, seal it by dipping the foam applicator lightly into the sealer. Apply to the surface of the end grain.
  3. Apply two coats and set on an unpainted side to dry.
  4. 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 to rest your toys. 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.
Mark as done

7

Paint the Four Sides White

  1. After the sealer is dry, paint the last four sides of each block  with an even coverage of Snowy White paint. 
  2. Just like the end grain, this will take multiple coats.
  3. Set on a dry and sealed star side to dry. 

8

Apply Number 2

  1. Using the paint color of your choice, apply the number ‘2’ to the two blocks with the numbers 0′ and ‘1’. 
  2. Repeat the steps and tips from Step 4.
Mark as done

9

Apply Numbers 3, 4, & 5

  1. Choosing one of the wooden blocks with 0, 1, and 2, apply the numbers 3, 4, and 5 in the colors of your choice. 
  2. Set on a dry, sealed star side to dry.
  3. Take the third block that already has 3 & 4 and immediately apply only the number 5 stencil. Or wash the stencil and dry it thoroughly before applying it to the third number block if using a different color than the previous block. 
Mark as done

10

Apply Numbers 6, 7, & 8

  1. On the remaining two number blocks, apply 6, 7, & 8 in the color of your choice. 
  2. By flipping it upside down, you can use the number 6 as either a six or a nine.
  3. Set on a dry, sealed star side to dry.
Mark as done

11

Apply The Letters

  1. Cut out the stencils for ‘M,’ ‘O’, ‘N,’ ‘T,’ ‘H,’ and ‘S.’ 
  2. Place the ‘M’ on one of the wooden block with stars on the end grains, aligning the stars on the top and bottom of the ‘M.’
  3. Paint and remove the ‘M.’ 
  4. Immediately, place the ‘M’ on the other three sides of the block. 
  5. If you change colors, wash and dry the stencil before applying the other ‘M’s to prevent color transfer. 
  6. Place on a dry, sealed star side to dry.
  7. Repeat this step on the other star blocks with each letter. 
Mark as done

12

Seal and Cure the Blocks

  1. When the letters and numbers are dry, take your foam applicator or perfect brush and apply sealer.
    • You will want to apply two thin, even coats of sealer.
  2. Set on a dry, sealed star side of the wooden block to dry. 
  3. Cure for 72 hours.
    • Although the sealer will feel dry to touch very quickly, you will want to let the toys cure for at least 72 hours. The underlayers are still drying and can stick together or on the drying surface.
    • Prevent this by placing your homemade toys on a plastic gallon freezer bag. 
    • Flip every day to a different side, so each side dries evenly.
Mark as done

13

Playtime!

Now, it is time to play! Enjoy your beautiful, Made-With-Love toys! We sincerely hope your handmade toys bring you and your loved ones many happy years of educational playtime.

Mark as done
You did GREAT! Enjoy and have happy, happy play with your loved ones!
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