Wednesday, December 17, 2008

fairy block puzzle

I love fairies. I especially love Cicely Mary Barker's sumptuous flower fairy illustrations. I check her books out from the library for the girls every now and then, and am kind of surprised when they don't get much reading. I finally admitted to myself the reason: her poetry just isn't that great. So I decided not to feel sacrilegious when I took an exacto knife to 2 of her mini books in making flower fairy blocks for the girls. We like the paintings best.

I found used books for a minimal price on Amazon (like this), and 1 1/4" wood cubes from Casey's Wood Products (I've also seen them at craft stores). The flower fairy paintings were a close match to the measurements of a 6-block (2x3) of the cubes: 2 1/2" x 3 3/4". You could recycle your own building or alphabet blocks for this project; just adjust the measurements accordingly.

I first cut the fairy pages with an exacto knife.The next step was to use a paper cutter to trim the prints to 2 1/2" x 3 3/4", then into 1 1/4" squares. I matched each paper square to a face of the cube, sometimes trimming another bitty slice off of an edge to make sure it fit the face without overhanging. Those little edges just wouldn't hold up to play & transport.
I used Mod Podge, glossy, since that's what I had on my shelves (I decided to use a smaller brush than the foam one pictured). I wiped a thin, but thorough, coat of Mod Podge on the wood, then quickly adhered the print square and finger-burnished it. I used another coat of Mod Podge to seal the surface, giving extra attention to the edges. Turn each cube on its side & repeat.
The Mod Podge was dry to the touch within a couple of minutes, but I split the gluing into two sessions a day apart, doing 4 faces the first day and 2 the second, to let them dry further, then dried them on a shelf, turning occasionally, for another week before packaging.

I froze on my great idea a bit mid-way through the purchases, afraid it would turn out sloppy, but was pleased at how easily and prettily they came out. I made 2 sets, one for each fairy in our household, and although I know 10 is a bit too old for block puzzles, the similar floral motifs could make them really pretty challenging, especially if the sets get mixed. I thought they'd be a good sit-still or take-to-church activity. The finished sets have a nice feel and almost do the illustrations justice.


nweames said...

What a fantastic idea! Now I want to do them for Christmas for my kids and I don't think I have time. AAAHHH!!! :)

Anonymous said...

I love those pictures too... That is a great idea... so cute.

Meg said...

Another great idea Val. I am sure the girls will love them.