How to Make DIY Wooden Blocks for Your Kids

Updated: Jul. 19, 2023

A simple set of wooden blocks to make for the aspiring builders in your life.

Next Project
Time

A day

Complexity

Beginner

Cost

Around $60

Introduction

Playing with wooden blocks develops motor skills, problem solving, and creativity. Here's a simple set of DIY wooden blocks you can make.

Tools Required

  • Jigsaw / band saw
  • Miter saw or table saw with a crosscut sled
  • Sanding block
  • Sandpaper
  • Table saw

Materials Required

  • 1- 1x4x8’ pine board
  • 1- 2x4x8’ lumber
  • 2- 1/4” x 2’ pine board
  • 2- 3/4x4 dowel rod
  • Tung oil

I grew up playing with a great set of wooden blocks passed down from my grandparents. They were a fun way for me to develop my fine motor skills, problem solving and creativity.

Here’s a set you can make for the little builders in your life with nominal home center lumber.

Cutting List

KEY QTY. PART DIMENSIONS
A 4 3×5 Thick block 1-1/2” x 3” x 5”
B 8 1-1/2 Square x 5 block 1-1/2”x 1-1/2”x 5”
C 10 3×5 Ramp 1-1/2” x 3” x 5”
D 4 3-1/2 x 5 Medium block 3/4” x 3-1/2” x 5”
E Varies Square pillars 3/4” x 3/4” x (5”, 3-1/2”, 1-1/2”)
F Varies Round pillars 3/4” diameter x (5”, 3-1/2”, 1-1/2”)
G 4 3-1/2 x 5 Thin block 1/4” x 3-1/2” x 5”
H 8 1-1/2 x 5 Plank 1/4” x 1-1/2” x 5”, 1/4” x 2” x 5”
J 2 3×5 Bridge and half circle blocks 1-1/2” x 3” x 5”

Sand before playing!

After cutting all the parts for this set, be sure to sand each of them thoroughly. The corners should be eased with sandpaper, and all saw marks removed. To extend the life of your new building block set, apply a wipe-on finish like tung oil.

Project step-by-step (9)

Step 1

Make 3×5 thick blocks

Take one of the 2×4’s and cut it down to 24 inches. Run it through the table saw, taking off 1/4-inch on one edge. Flip it over and take off another 1/4-inch on the other edge.

Then cut it into five-inch lengths with a miter saw, or on the table saw using a crosscut sled. This will make four uniform blocks and a small scrap that can be included in the set.

1 How To Make Diy Wooden Blocks For Your KidsFamily Handyman

Step 2

Make 1-1/2 square x 5-in. blocks

Cut another 2×4 to 24 inches. Set the table saw to cut 1/4-inch off one edge. Then re-set the table saw to make 1-1/2-inch rips. This leaves you with two 1-1/2 square sticks and a thin stick.

Crosscut these into five-inch long pieces (even the thin stick, if it’s not too thin to use!). This will make eight blocks and a few scraps to include in the set.

2 How To Make Diy Wooden Blocks For Your KidsFamily Handyman

Step 3

Make 3×5 ramps

The block requires a band saw to cut safely.

Starting with a 30-inch length of 2×4. Set the table saw to cut off 1/4-inch on each edge, just like the 3×5 thick block. Next, cut this into 5-1/2-inch lengths.

Use a straight edge to draw a line from one corner to the opposite corner on one of the edges. With the edge facing up on the table of your band saw, follow this line to cut the block into a ramp shape.

Finally, cut the tip off to make the block five inches long and create a safer edge to play with. This will make 10 ramps. You can rip some of these down to 1-1/2-inches wide to give more variety in your set.

3 How To Make Diy Wooden Blocks For Your KidsFamily Handyman

Step 4

Make 3-1/2- x 5-in. medium blocks

Cut this block from the 1×4 pine board. It’s easiest to make; simply cut the board into five-inch lengths.

4 How To Make Diy Wooden Blocks For Your KidsFamily Handyman

Step 5

Square pillars

Rip a 24-inch length of 1×4 pine board into three sticks. To set your table saw (be sure it’s powered off), place the pine board next to the blade and slide the fence until it touches the board. This will set the saw to make a cut that matches the boards thickness.

Cut the board into three sticks. Then cut the sticks into five-inch, three-inch, and 1-1/2-inch lengths for a variety of building blocks.

5 How To Make Diy Wooden Blocks For Your KidsFamily Handyman

Step 6

Round pillars

Starting with 3/4-inch diameter dowel rods, cut them to the same lengths as the square pillars: five-inch, three-inch, and 1-1/2-inch. To add even more variety, add a similar set using 1-1/2-in diameter dowels.

6 How To Make Diy Wooden Blocks For Your KidsFamily Handyman

Step 7

Make 3-1/2- x 5-in. thin blocks

Similar to the medium block, start with a 24-inch length of 1/4- x 4-inch board and cut into five-inch lengths.

7 How To Make Diy Wooden Blocks For Your KidsFamily Handyman

Step 8

Make 1-1/2- x 5-in. planks

With another 24-inch length of 1/4- x 4-in. pine board, set the table saw to 1-1/2-inches. After sending the board through the saw, you’ll end up with a 1-1/2-inch and two-inch wide sticks.

Crosscut the sticks to five-inch lengths with a miter saw. To add more variety, cut a few to smaller or larger lengths.

9 How To Make Diy Wooden Blocks For Your KidsFamily Handyman

Step 9

Make 3×5 bridge and half circle blocks

You can modify a 3×5 thick block into a bridge by tracing out a half circle on one edge and cutting it out with a band saw. Keep the half circle cut off as a bonus block.

8 How To Make Diy Wooden Blocks For Your KidsFamily Handyman