With some birthdays coming up in the family I thought I'd take the opportunity to test out an idea I had for a home-made gift. A set of physical home-made blocks modeled after the video game Minecraft .
My total numbers for the 48 blocks:
9 Oak Leaves
6 Oak Trees
2 Iron Ore
I should also speak briefly about where the images came from. I decided to use the 'Faithful' texture pack. To keep the pixels fresh and crispy while digitally enlarging them to fit a 1.5" cube I created an action in Photoshop. The key piece to this exercise is to use Photoshop's "Image Size" tool and at the bottom of that window where it says "Resample Image:" choose the drop down setting "Nearest Neighbor (preserve hard edges)". Sweet pixel magic!
Now for the not so fun part of this exercise, the work.
I wanted to make a few sets for various family members so I figured I'd make them all at once... 192 blocks. You can buy wooden cubes online for a fair price but to keep costs down I opted to make my own cubes from some poplar boards from the local big box store. I used a compound miter saw, set up a "stop", and knocked out a couple hundred cubes in no time.
After the dust settled I saw a stack of cubes and started to contemplate if I bit off more than I could chew. I would put this question to the test as now the 192 cubes turned into 1152 sides.
Faces I had to sand
Printed squares I had to cut out
Squares I had to glue to the cubes
Sides I coated to protect the faces
To glue the squares on I used Mod Podge and applied it to the cube with a brush. I then turned the block over and pressed it to the tabletop to push out any air bubbles.
To coat the cubes I used a Gel Medium. I have had good success with this product. In many ways it is like Mod Podge but it dries extremely clear and with the Matte finish there is a slight texture that is put on the surface. This texture helped keep the cubes from sliding around on each other.
When I was done I had 4 coats of Gel Medium on the cubes. I focused on putting more gel on the edges to help prevent the edges of the paper from peeling up.
The next step was to knock out a chest to store the 48 pieces. I made this chest out of gatorboard and adhered the image to it in a similar fashion as the cubes. The joints are made from black duct tape. Not all of the duct tape ends were as clean as I would like so I may explore other options later.
Now on to the final product!!!