Saturday, July 6, 2013

DIY It's A Small World Blocks

As I was rummaging through some old craft supplies this spring, this idea popped into my head. And right away I knew I needed to try it. It goes without saying, I'm a fan of Mary Blair and It's A Small World. Let's be honest, "fan" might not be a strong enough word, obsessed might come a bit closer. And since the kids' room is already themed as such, these Small World blocks seemed like just the right thing for their toy box.

As I said, I was going through some old craft supplies. In fact, I hadn't worked with this plastic canvas since my grandmother and I made several tissue boxes in the 80s! It was so great to remember that time with her. I definitely inherited her need to craft! I think she'd be just as proud of these blocks as she was with our tissue boxes.

I started with the cover art from the original It's A Small World Disneyland record. I printed the artwork at 150% and then drew a 1 cm x 1 cm graph over those adorable little boys. Viola! My block design was born! I used my colored pencils to transfer the design to paper and make sure that the blocky versions still looked like the little dolls I intended them to represent. I then cut from one sheet of plastic canvas: 6, 23x23 squares and 6, 15x15 squares. (Each block requires 6 sides.) I was able to get one large block and another smaller block from one sheet of plastic canvas. This turns out to be a fairly inexpensive project if you have a significant stash of yarn. Um, that would definitely be me!

Once I had my canvas cut and rough edges trimmed, I was able to copy my design from graphs to the canvas. I was surprised at how little yarn it actually took to create these little people. All you need to complete this project is yarn, a yarn needle, and a pair of scissors. I sewed my designs to each block side. Once I was satisfied with how each side looked, I began whip-stitching the sides together. I thought the last sides would be difficult, but because the canvas is fairly stiff, it wasn't hard at all. When I was done, I pulled the end of the yarn through about 5 stitches on the side and snipped it off. I then remembered why my grandmother and I had made so many tissue boxes; it's so satisfying to see them all complete! I like the sides accentuated with a contrasting color. I will certainly do this for the rest of them. I have a few more in the works!

My little doll people wouldn't fit on the smaller blocks, so I created a few iconic images that I think represent the design of the Small World attraction. I'm going to be selling some block kits in my Etsy store, so swing by and check them out! They would be a perfect project to do on the way to Disney! And a fun toy for the ride home. Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

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