Stacking blocks


This project is rated as: Moderate

Materials needed: Card stock (optionally, paper); crayons, colored pencils, or paint; scissors; glue

In this project, you will make a child's toy. It is called "Stacking Blocks." You will make three blocks out of card stock. One block will have four heads, one on each side. Another block will contain four body middles with arms. The third block will contain four sets of legs and hands. The above picture shows two sets of such blocks. One set shows the girl sides of the blocks and the other set shows the boy sides of the blocks.

When completed, the blocks may be stacked on top of each other, and the blocks can be rotated to give many combinations of body parts.

To start, you will print out six patterns from which you will make the three boxes.

Print each of the folowing on card stock:

Top box, part 1
Top box, part 2
Middle box, part 1
Middle box, part 2
Bottom box, part 1
Bottom box, part 2
(Note: When printing the patterns for the bottom boxes, it may be necessary to reduce the default margins that your browser uses. The width of those patterns exceed 7 inches. If you are using a Macintosh computer, your printouts may exceed the width of your card stock. In that case, you need to capture the necessary images and print them from a graphics program so you can control the size of the printed images.)

Each of these pieces has two sides containing art work; either a top or bottom; and tabs for joining the box together.

After printing each of the above, cut out the box part by cutting around the outside edges.

Color the art work using colors and a medium (crayons, colored pencils, or paint) of your choosing.

Glue the two parts of each box together. Glue the the tab at the end of a side of part1 to the underside of the side without a tab of part 2.

When the glue is set, you will have a single piece for each box that can be folded to make a block. It will look something like the following picture.

Next, you need to fold the tabs downward to a 90 degree angle with the sides of the box. You also need to make right angle folds between adjoining sides of the box. (It is easier to make the folds if you first score the underside of each fold line. You can use a ball point pen that is out of ink to use as a scoring tool.)

Using the labeled picture as a guide:
Glue the tabs labeled "X" to the inside of the "BOTTOM."
Next, glue the tabs labeled "Y" to the side labeled "SIDE."
Finally, the remaining tabs can be glued to complete the box.

After you have made the three boxes, you can stack in the order (from top to bottom) head, upper body, lower body. You are then ready to rotate each block to see the different combinations that you can make.

If you have a color printer, and would prefer to use it to have the parts colored, then you may use the following pre-colored parts to make your boxes.

Top box (color), part 1
Top box (color), part 2
Middle box (color), part 1
Middle box (color), part 2
Bottom box (color), part 1
Bottom box (color), part 2

A more difficult variation of this project is as follows.

If you are interested in making a sturdier set of stacking blocks, they can be made of wood (or maybe Styrofoam.) A 4 by 4 is probably a suitable width for most print outs. However, the height of each block must correspond to the height of each printout.

Print out the box parts as before (either pre-colored or not). Measure the height for each box and cut a piece of 4 by 4 to the necessary height for each block.
Paint the blocks a neutral color such as white.
Color the art work (if not already colored.)
Cut out the art work.
Glue the art work onto the appropriate blocks and in the appropriate positions.
For extra protection, you can spray the blocks with a clear lacquer.

After everything is dry, the blocks can be stacked and rotated as before.

If you are an artist, you can use the given art work as a guide and paint similar (or different) figures onto the blocks.