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How-Tuesday: Colorful Cubes

Dec 13, 2011

by hownowdesign handmade and vintage goods

The holidays need not be gift boxed into a red-and-green or blue-and-white corner. Celebrate a spectrum of vibrant colors while making your own set of abstract cubes with the help of artist, blogger and mother  Abbey Hendrickson in this week’s How-Tuesday post. Try making a set of these cheery wooden blocks in your own palette as a hands-on present for playtime or sculptural desk decor for your co-worker.

For more fun projects like this one, check out the new book, State of Craft, edited by Victoria Woodcock and Ziggy Hanor, available on Amazon and from an independent bookseller near you.

About the Artist: Abbey Hendrickson is an artist and blogger living happily in Owego, New York, with her husband and their two babies. She has a background in drawing, book-making and printmaking and is an enthusiastic crafter. The majority of Abbey’s days are spent with her children, pretending to be a superhero, unicorn or robot. In the wee hours, she also writes a daily lifestyle blog called Aesthetic Outburst and runs an Etsy shop called How Now Design.



Let’s get started!

Tools & Materials

– Ruler
– Eraser
– Fine sandpaper
– Paintbrushes
– Old milk carton lids to hold paint
– 24 wooden cubes in any size (available at craft shops). The ones pictured here are 2cm x 2cm, but you can use any length of square-ended wood to cut your own blocks.
– Acrylic paint in nine colors. This example uses turquoise, pink, yellow, light blue, red, orange, black, white and grey.

If you are cutting your own blocks, you’ll also need:

– Junior hacksaw
– Clamps
– Medium-grade sandpaper


1. If you have ready-bought blocks, skip to step 4. If you are making your own blocks, measure the width of your square-ended wood and mark this measurement along its length. So, if the wood is 2cm x 2cm, mark a line across the wood 2cm up from the end and at a right angle on the long edge (fig A).

2. Clamp the wood onto an appropriate surface (a workbench is ideal) and saw along the line.

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 to create 24 blocks and sand well with the medium-grade paper.

4. Inspect the wooden cubes and find the smoothest side of each. Position the cubes smoothest side up.

5. Use a pencil and ruler to draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on each cube (fig B).

6. If you are feeling very organized, you can make a chart of which colours to paint where. Otherwise, select a cube and paint in one triangle (fig C). Set this cube aside to dry and continue painting one triangle on the remaining cubes.

7. You can leave some cubes with just one triangle painted, but if you want to add color to the other side, let the first triangle of paint dry first.

8. Leave all of the cubes to dry completely, then rub out any visible pencil marks.

9. Use fine sandpaper to sand away any excess paint over the edges.

If you make your own set of blocks, share a photo with us in the Etsy Labs Flickr group.

More Things to Make | Holidays on Etsy

Lucky wooden horseshoe with geometric pattern
Lucky wooden horseshoe with geometric pattern
Wooden Blocks Set of 150
Wooden Blocks Set of 150


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