Made by Hand & Heart: Personalized Baby Blocks

Posted by on Aug 19, 2014 in Baby/Kids, Craft, Etsy | One Comment

If it wasn’t for the urging of a friend, I may not have started an Etsy site in the first place.

Now what came first, the baby or the block? Well, it depends. Some of my customers purchase a personalized, baby block set while anxiously awaiting for baby to arrive (as was the case when I developed my first set, see nursery here). Others may be ordering blocks after a baby is born and a name has been chosen; perhaps for a friend or family member. I recall when a husband surprised his wife with a set for their baby girl. So cute! Whatever the reason, these blocks are a great way to mark one of the most exciting times in a parent’s life. I’ll admit, I was a little apprehensive about uncovering my “behind the scenes / top secret” block construction. Then I thought, the cost for a personalized product should be justified with a little insight.

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Let’s start with the wood.

I cut each block from a stick of poplar. I LOVE this wood as it is both soft to work with and light in color/weight. My blocks are larger than normal, measuring a little over 2.5″. This size allows you to really make a statement when spelling out a name.

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Cut, sand, and sand again.

When I started making blocks I would hand sand each and every block by hand. Luckily, Lowes had a great sale on a floor model belt sander. I snagged this one for just $40! It cuts sanding time almost in half. The belt sander takes the edge off prior to smoothing by hand.

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Time for a little personal touch.

At the beginning of a job, I type set a name in InDesign using an existing template. This takes a bit of time as I must select unique letter forms (or fonts) to spell out a name. I’m adamant about including the entire alphabet so that as a child grows, a parent may teach their child about letter form. I currently carry 6 different blocks styles in my Etsy shop.

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Time to make the cut.

Most designers are accustomed to cutting graphics with a bleed and crop marks. In order to make the most of my paper and fit 25 block sides on each sheet, I cut VERY carefully with no bleed. This step takes a lot of patience, but it pays off…literally. Finally, the sides are arranged so that I can plan which letters and images will be affixed to each block.

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Affixing paper to wood.

I tend to stick (no pun) with supplies that haven’t let me down. I keep stocked with the same glue and paper which were used to construct my first block set. I hope to find a double stick paper which will cut down on time spent affixing each side. This step can feel a little drawn out but I want to be sure that each side is permanently bonded.

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Packaging and branding.

When I left my job as creative director to stay home with my two lovely babies I knew I had to find a creative outlet; one that would allow me to keep my branding skills in check. I feel that presentation of a product is equally important as the product itself. For years, I’ve developed branding for other business owners, so it’s been fun to develop my own for a change (a work in progress). To view branding/design work >>

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I currently carry 6 different blocks styles in my Etsy shop.

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