Family Is… A Knockoff

My Mom turned 50 last week (gasp!) – which, on a side note, means I’m no longer in my 20s (*sigh*).  I had no idea what to get her that was a little more special than a GC to the mall – 50’s an important milestone!  What to do, what to do….

Lightbulb moment – let’s check Pinterest!  I remember that my mom pinned a picture of these wooden block decor things that said “Family Is Everything”, originally featured on   So I stole borrowed the idea, and because I’m a last minute kinda girl, printed off a picture, tucked into an envelope and presented it with flowers and made it an IOU.

This weekend, I was in the mood for crafting – worked on some baby monograms for my sister-in-law, who is presenting them as a gift – sorry no pictures this time (yet)!  I also got Kevin to “help” me with some sawing? cutting?  What’s the proper term?  As well as drilling… yah, he doesn’t let me near the power tools!  We created this work of art:

The original blog where we found our idea doesn’t offer a tutorial but sold them as a kit… so here is how we did it:

Supplies –
* (1) 2″x3″x4′  pine board (not pressure treated, you’re going to want to look for hobby wood – pine was the cheapest but you might find some knots.)
* sanding block
* scrapbook paper
* acrylic paint
* paint brush
* carpenter’s or craft glue
* mod-podge (or other adhesive)
* giant adjustable clamps
* sandpaper
* wooden dowels (1/4″ x 1 1/4″) – found a pack of them in Home Depot at the end of the hobby wood aisle.

Depending on the supplies you have on hand, this project should run you less than $10.  I can’t give you a total timeframe because nothing is a sit-down-and-do-it-all-at-once project around here – we have lots of interruptions and distractions so we squeeze in steps between laundry loads, mealtimes and stories.

First, figure out what you’re spelling… we did Family is forever.  Which means I needed 7 blocks of various heights and a platform for them to rest on.  Apparently, a 2×3 is actually more like 1.5×2.5 so keep the actual dimensions of your board in mind.  We Kev cut our board to 2 @ 6.5″, 1 each at 10″, 4.5″, 4″, 3.5″, and 3″.  The letter blocks are going to be centered on your base so figure out your centre line and drill holes for your dowels on the base and in the corresponding letter blocks.  Kevin did this part… so uh, you can do the math.   Your end letter blocks (F & Y in our case) will have 2 dowels  inserted on the side, not the bottom, one going into the base, one going into the neighbouring letter.  We drilled after painting and sanding, etc… not such a bright idea!

Now, sand like crazy getting rid of any rough edges on the cut sides and the drill holes.   I used a sanding block but I think next one I make (for me!) I’ll use our little hand sander. 

Once it’s all smooth and pretty, decide on your base paint colour and add as many coats as necessary to ensure everything is covered nicely.  I did 3 coats (and due to the drilling mistake, will probably now have to do some touch ups). 

Trim your patterned paper to fit your squares leaving a border of the painted block.  Mine were (2) 2″x6″, 1 each 2″x2.5″, 2″x3″, 2″x3.5″ 2″x4″.  You don’t need one for the base block.  Adhere to painted blocks as desired – I used mod podge and allowed to dry.

For the letters, I used my Cricut to cut the saying out of vinyl.  If you don’t have vinyl you could use paper and just podge it to the scrapbook paper/wood.  If you don’t have a die cutting machine, you could just cut them out by hand – print them using MS Word or something similar and grab the scissors! Or paint them on if you have a steady hand.  I think painted would like nice but I’m not that artistic.  They can be different fonts, heights, etc.  Just make sure they’ll fit on the accompanying paper.  Seal everything with a coat of mod-podge or other sealant (acrylic spray, etc.)

Glue the dowels into place, and glue the blocks into place, clamping with each addition and allowing the glue to dry.  If your measurements were right, it should all fit together tightly.  My only hint is to adhere the smaller blocks to the base before attaching the end ones.  Once everything is dry, sit back and enjoy your masterpiece – but take a picture first and let me see how it looks!

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