Thursday, July 28, 2011

Moving Pictures Photo Blocks

Create a clever conversation piece with family photo blocks.

Turn six favorite photos into infinite fun! Simply cut pictures into squares and mount them onto wooden cubes. Then rearrange them to create a coffee table puzzle that's also an interactive scrapbook.

6 family photos
9 wooden blocks, 2 inches by 2 inches each
Sandpaper, fine grit
Red spray paint
Tack cloth
Mod Podge decoupage glue
Foam paintbrush
X-Acto knife
Cutting mat
Computer and laser printer

Step One
To smooth the raw wooden blocks, rub the edges with fine grit sandpaper. Remove any dust with the tack cloth, then spray paint the blocks red on all sides. When the cubes have dried, clean them once again with the tack cloth to remove any paint dust.

Step Two Crop a favorite photo so it is square, then enlarge it to 6 inches by 6 inches. Print the photo in black and white on a laser printer (inkjet prints will run). Using the X-Acto knife, ruler, and cutting mat, cut the enlarged photo into three 2-inch wide strips. Then cut each strip into 2-inch squares. You should end up with nine 2-inch squares.

Step Three
Glue one 2-inch photo square onto one side of a wooden block using the Mod Podge decoupage glue and the foam paintbrush. Apply a coat of Mod Podge on top of the photo as well (it dries clear). Glue the next 2-inch photo square onto a different wooden cube. Repeat until each wooden cube has one segment of the photo mounted on one side. Repeat steps two and three until all six family photos are cut and mounted to the cubes. When you are done, every cube will have one square of each photo. Arrange the photo blocks three-by-three on your coffee table, then flip and turn each cube to recreate the original photos.

Chroma Zones: To give your puzzle an artsy touch, use your computer to tint the black and white photos in different colors so one picture ends up red, another blue, and so on.

Makin' Copies: Don't have a laser printer in your home office? Just take your images on a CD to Kinko's and they'll print them for you! And by the way, black and white pictures print best on the color printer. Who knew?

Big Little Tip: You can make this puzzle big or small depending on the cubes you choose. offers wood blocks ranging from ½ inches to 3½ inches. (Just think how cute a set of ½-inch cubes would be on your desk!)

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