Monday, July 16, 2012

The One With the Chalk Block City

My sweet little nephew, Liam, turned one a few days ago. I've been thinking about what to get him for a while now, wanting to come up with the perfect little present. With a little help from a Babble post about multiple uses for chalkboard paint, I came up with idea of making a city of blocks painted with chalkboard paint so he could change them up whenever he wanted. I'm so happy with how they turned out!

Some of the pieces are just generic city skyline buildings, but I thought it would be fun to make a Stark tower like the one in The Avengers.  Of course, it's nowhere near an exact replica... but I think the idea comes across. There's also a rendition of the Empire State Building and, for the birthday boy, Liam's Library and Observatory. And there's a little apartment building meant to look like a Brownstone.

 If you would like to make some yourself, you will need
  • Wooden block pieces, of varying shapes and sizes. (Most of the buildings were created by putting together more than one block.)
  • Sandpaper (I purchased a General Use pack with sandpapers of varying grits)
  • Chalkboard Spray Paint (I used Rust-Oleum Chalkboard Spray)
  • Chalk and/or Chalk Marker
Collect your wood pieces. You could cut your own, use an old block set, or get some from a local crafter's store (like Scrap in Portland). I planned out what I wanted ahead of time to make sure I had all the pieces I wanted. Sand your wood blocks, first with a coarse sand paper and then with a finer one, being sure to eliminate the possibility of splinters. Spray paint your blocks in 3-4 coats, over two days. In between coats, rotate your blocks to make sure you get all sides. Also be sure to use your fine sand paper to sand away paint drips. Allow your blocks to dry for several hours in between coats.

Once your chalkboard paint is applied and dried, draw on your blocks however you like. Chalk Markers are easier to use for more detailed pieces, but the Chalk Marker is harder to remove than regular chalk, just so you know.
To present this gift, I found a bucket (although I would have preferred a closed container) that fit all the blocks and also supplied some regular and colored chalk so the birthday boy can color to his heart's content. I hope he enjoys them as much as I enjoyed making them!


  1. This is the cutest gift idea ever. I wish I had some younger children to give gifts too just so I could make these!

  2. Looking back today...this was so incredibly cute and sweet! Love it. :)


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