For this project, I was inspired by a few places. I first saw this fabric tangram thing, and I thought that was really neat, but I didn't want to go through the effort to do all that sewing and hand sewing. Then I saw this wooden version of the same kind of thing, and I thought that this could be a way to get the same effect without all of that sewing. And then, true to form, I thought I could take it a step further. I was reminded of my mother-in-law's quilt pattern puzzle. It's basically a square made up of triangles that are colored on both sides. You then arrange the triangles in whatever pattern you wish. And I thought that I could do that; only with a cube, it could be six-sided!
So yes, I got out of sewing for this, but I did not make it any easier on myself. In fact, wait for it, I made it way harder. Let me tell you how.
First, let me preface this with the fact that my hubby is very frugal. Frugal is probably the wrong word because that implies that he buys things cheaply. No, he just doesn't really like to spend money. I'm quite the opposite. In Dave Ramsey speak, he's the saver, and I'm the spender. But, after nearly five years of marriage, I have to say, he's starting to rub off on me a little. So for this project, instead of buying already pre-cut cubes from the craft store which are overpriced in my mind, I opted to buy a piece of wood and cut it down into cubes.
Now this probably would have been a fine idea if it weren't for two things:
- We don't really own a saw. The house that we are renting has a few manual saws, but no power tools.
- I bought a piece of red oak. (For those of you who are clueless about wood as I apparently am, this is a hardwood <--read, not easy to saw through)
So, needless to say, Jacob and I got a good shoulder workout for this project. So thank you, Jacob, for your help. I couldn't have done it without you. But next time, I'm taking you with me to the store so we buy a reasonable kind of wood. Either that or we are buying you a saw!
But beyond the unnecessary physical making of the cubes, this project is pretty easy. All it requires is the cubes and a little bit of paint. (I also used sandpaper because, well, I didn't think it'd be such a nice gift to give my son splinters. We're playing with patterns here not doctor.)
I made nine cubes, but you could make as many as you'd like. I liked the idea of a square puzzle, but a rectangular one would work just as well.
|Sebastian even helped me sand!|
|Sanded and ready to be painted.|
I decided to make each cube the same. I painted one side a solid yellow, one side a solid green, and one side a solid purple. Then on the remaining three sides, I wanted to make the patterns a little more interesting, and a little more reminiscent of my mother-in-law's pattern puzzle. So I made two of the three sides into painted triangles; one with a match of yellow and green, and one with a match of green and purple.
If I was smart, I would have just made the last side a match of yellow and purple triangles. But I didn't.
|Prepping for the paint|
|Carefully paint one side|
|Carefully paint the other|
I decided that since I had nine cubes, this set could be used for not only pattern play but for tic-tac-toe. So I needed some Xs and Os. I decided that the Os could just be one of the solid colors. But I needed something for the Xs. So i made one out of the yellow and purple matched side by drawing an X in pencil and painting opposite sides of the X with the same color.
Once it's dry, you are free to play...
with different patterns...
and with tic-tac-toe!
Being able to make and recognize patterns is a really handy tool especially in math. So I like to think that this is Sebastian's pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-Algebra training. :)