Step One: Prepping the Blocks
Those blank blocks aren’t wooden ‘blocks’. They are your future toys! So, get ready Toymaker. You are about to start making beautiful toys!
BridgeWood blocks are handmade and hand-sanded. They should be ready to go but checking the surface to ensure it is perfectly smooth never hurts. A smooth surface will make it much easier to get a clean ‘pull’ on your stencil later. So here we share some quick tricks for prepping the surface of your toys and getting them ready for painting.
Check The Surface
Before painting, check each of the block’s six sides to ensure a smooth surface. One place to check carefully is around the edges of the block. If a spot was missed during hand-sanding, it is more likely to happen along the edges of the blocks. If you find a rough patch, it will only take a couple of seconds to fix.
Most of your blocks should already be perfect and ready to go. Set your block to the side if there are no rough patches.
Sand The Rough Patch
If there is a rough patch, take your sandpaper and sand it in a well-ventilated area.
If you have never sanded before, your first step will be to identify the rough side of your sandpaper. This abrasive side is what you will quickly rub up and down along the long grain of the block. The friction between the paper and the wood will easily remove any rough patches on the wood.
Wear a dust mask if you are concerned about inhaling small particles.
Along The Grain
Sand along the long, straight grain of the wood to easily remove the rough patch.
In the video, you will see that I am ‘cheating’ by sanding against the grain. Sanding against the grain will very quickly remove any rough patches.
But this technique also scratches the surface! If you are going to ‘cheat’ like me, you should also take a moment to smooth out any scratches by sanding along the long grain. A few rubs will remove scratches, making your surface look pristine.
Cleaning The Surface
When finished, make sure to wipe off the sawdust thoroughly. Even a little bit of dust left on the surface of the block or your toymaking surface will cause your stencil to bleed and can gum up your paint. You will be good to go with a couple of wipes with a dry or lightly damp cloth.
Your Blocks Are Ready!
A little prep goes a long way to having smooth toys perfect for painting and playing. The work you have just done will make the rest of your toymaking experience go much more smoothly.