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Make Your Own Wooden Gem Blocks

Updated: Feb 29

One Christmas, I decided to make my son some wooden gem blocks for a present. I had seen the idea of using a chopping board on social media to make your own. Large sets of gem blocks usually retail between £80-£150.


I thought I'd give the idea of making my own wooden gem blocks a try, as I knew my son would love them to go with his other building blocks and we owned a large IKEA chopping board that I found too heavy to use for it's intended purpose that was the ideal size for this project. This is the result!



When you are a novice at these things, I found the process of making the gem blocks, gave me an appreciation of just how much skill goes into making items and therefore the price tag!


So how did I do it?

You will need:

A ruler, acrylic gemstones (ours were 3cm diameter), a circular saw, a sander, strong glue, and a drill with a 30mm drill bit.




So first I sanded down the board. As it had previously been used, it had cutting marks on it and I wanted to remove any grease and stains.


Then I measured out the blocks I wanted on the chopping board. At this point, I recommend drilling the holes needed into each measured block with a drill bit ready for the acrylic gem stones. I didn't do this and regretted it!


This is the drill bit I used. There may be other better options available where you can set the depth required, but as I have no DIY skills this was the easiest solution for me to create the holes with for the gems, so this is what I used.


I don't own a circular saw, so I asked a friend who did, if they could cut the blocks for me.


I then sanded down the edges of the blocks to create a smoother rounder edge. I found this remarkably challenging to get this equal on all edges of all blocks and it was time consuming. This was the point where I realised there is a lot of skill required by toy makers to achieve an equal finish to what they make.


I made the holes and added a natural wax to the blocks, and then glued in the gemstones. When choosing gems, they need to have flat bases, and as my holes were not all the way through, the gems needed a coating on the base which they had on them already.


The finished wooden gem blocks. I could have added more blocks but I felt this was enough for a set for our use and for the tray I had available.
















The finished gem blocks in use!

They were a perfect fit with our Grimms Large Stepped Pyramid.



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