How about a little tutorial to brighten up a Monday morning? I promised you a tutorial on how I made these little blocks and so here it is finally. I had been working through Wellspring 2020 and there was a project that required wooden blocks, but I didn’t have any wooden blocks and I am trying not to spend any money on more stuff, so I had pretty much decided that I would have to skip this exercise. Then a few days I was emptying the bathroom bin and sorting the recycling and separating the cardboard etc and it came to me in a flash how I could make my own cubes…
Yes, toothpaste tubes! Now toothpaste tubes are not square, not all sides are equal. They are actually rectangular, but they would still make a block I thought. I had four tubes to work with so I cut each one in half which would give me eight blocks.
I measured them and worked out how big my blocks (or cubes) could be given what I had to work with and they are 4cm – 4.5cm because, as I said, rectangles. I cut down the sides so I could fold them over to make the sixth side since each half tube already had five sides ready made.
The difference between a solid block and an empty tube is of course, weight, and I didn’t want my cubes to be blowing about in a gust of wind or from a fan, and I didn’t want them easily crushed either. So my solution was to fill them up with these very old hemp seeds. I had to laugh as the best before date was 24.05.05 and yes that’s accurate lol. I have had them sitting around to be used since 2005 but of course when I bought them, they were to be eaten, and then we didn’t and I thought I could use them to stuff something, but then I didn’t do that either. But that’s lucky because here they are ready for this project. 🙂
So find something with which to fill your cubes and it doesn’t have to be vintage hemp seeds!
Once they are filled up – you can leave some space if you want to be able to shake them like maracas – fold over the flaps and glue them shut.
Now you have little cubes ready to decorate and you’ve saved something from having to be recycled.
How you decide to decorate your cubes and what you want to do with them is up to you – you could even make them into a type of building block for babies if that’s your thing. Here’s what I did with mine…
I love using books in my art and so for these I used some pages from a book I got for free and didn’t like, so why not make use of the paper! I sprayed them with coffee and then I just wanted to drink coffee lol. I usually have a tea and coffee spray handy as I use both of them a lot so this was conveniently just waiting on my desk.
I added some ink splatters and splotches to make them look more aged and distressed.
I did quite a few pages so I can use them in other projects.
When they were dry, I wrapped them around my cubes.
I added some of the leftover red papers from another project, some more paints and inks and then this bird stamp on one side of each cube.
As this post is all about how to make the cubes from the toothpaste tubes, I haven’t included any other step-by-step photos but here are some photos of my finished cubes. I used a combination of Tim Holtz and Finnabair word stickers to add various words on all the sides, so I can make up little phrases or focus on one or a few words.
You can see in this photo how the cubes have some sides that are square and some that are rectangular because of the shape of the toothpaste tube.
Book pages or other paper
Paints and inks of your choice
Gel Medium or other glue of your choice
From stash: everything!
I started something new for April and continuing:
Since we are all stuck inside and can’t leave the house, I thought I would try and do two things:
1. use this time to finish any unfinished projects
2. use as much recycled materials as possible (I do this a lot anyway) but also not to buy new stuff!
So, with that in mind, I will note the above on any posts, if applicable.
UNFINISHED PROJECT – NO
RECYCLED MATERIALS – YES – plus nothing new used, no new purchases!