color blocking

I’m planning a baby shower for a close friend, and the theme is Color Blocking! I’ve been loving this theme in fashion these days, but applying it to party decor to celebrate a little baby boy on the way was a new and exciting challenge. I stumbled upon this project for DIY Wooden Gradient Blocks on Pinterest, and I knew this would be a perfect addition to our Color Blocking shower and possibly decorate Baby Boy’s nursery in the future.

Here is the original picture that inspired me.

And here is what I ended up with.

Not quite as perfect, but I think they look pretty cool!


  • 6, 9, or 12 wooden blocks
  • (sand paper)
  • primer
  • 6 shades of paint in saturated colors
  • white paint
  • paint brushes
  • mixing cups
  • polyurethane

I purchased a 1 1/2 inch square block of wood (about 24 inches long) and a guy at Lowe’s kindly cut it for me into the 1 1/2 by 1 1/2 blocks pictured above. The advantage was all of my 12 blocks (we had some wood left over) cost only $5, but apparently their saw is not designed for cutting blocks (oops, sorry!). So I would probably recommend purchasing them at a craft store or online (like this). Since the blocks were hand-cut, I needed to sand the rough edges in preparation for the paint and for the little baby fingers that will play with them.

On this note, the Handmade by Charlotte original tutorial recommends 6 or 9 blocks which is probably better than doing 12. What I didn’t consider was that each block requires a different shade of paint (each in a lighter hue than the one before) so I needed to mix 12 different shades instead of 6. For the baby shower decorating purposes I’m glad I have 12 blocks, but if I did it again I would probably do 2 sets of 6 instead.

12 shades of mustard yellow.

First, prime the blocks for better paint coverage. I like to use Zinsser Spray Primer because it sprays on and dries so quickly.

All primed. I went over them with sand paper once again to smooth out some places where they stuck to my drop cloth.

When they were dry, I started with my first side of color shades.

Mixing more hues of navy. I recommend putting several drops of blue in each container, then adding a drop of white to the second shade, two drops of white to the third shade, and so on. I tried to take a short cut by painting a side, then adding a few more drops of white to the previous shade, then painting the next side; but it turns out each side needs 2 or 3 coats of paint, so I learned the hard way that my short cut wasn’t worthwhile.

Keep painting, using each of your 6 shades diluting them with white paint like above. Be really careful around the edges, it’s so easy to bleed onto another colored side. I could’ve been a bit more careful.

Here are more of the colors in action. If I did this project over again, I would have mixed the paint in cups instead of the painting palette and saved each color to fix touch ups.

After all sides have been painted and dried, I misted them with Polyurethane to protect the finish.

After curing overnight, I tried them out on my willing assistant.

She was a fan!

Check back next week to see how our Color Blocked Baby Shower turns out!

I’m linking up to



2 thoughts on “color blocking

  1. Pingback: color blocking baby shower | Hello Brielle!

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