City Block

I recently scored a free box of wood scraps and in it was this fabulous old cedar block.  I decided to paint it and turn it into a “city block”.  I think it might be a good block for the Vintage Wood Figures to hang out with.


  1. ann foxlee
    September 30, 2010 at 2:30 am

    love it-- well done!

  2. Miss Sews-it-all
    September 30, 2010 at 3:24 am

    I love that you've given a different view to each and every side! Nicely done, I also love it!

  3. = lingonsmak
    September 30, 2010 at 5:23 am

    nice illustration! very vintage style :)

  4. Kirsty
    September 30, 2010 at 6:32 am

    I love the retro feel! This belongs in a decorating blog haha! I particularly live the red, black and white sides! Stunning.

  5. monika@lifemadesimple
    September 30, 2010 at 7:14 am

    I love this! YOu have amazing ideas!

  6. Rachel @ A Cupcake for Moose
    September 30, 2010 at 11:59 am


  7. Anonymous
    September 30, 2010 at 7:03 pm


  8. Melissa
    September 30, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    Wonderful idea, love it! We have lots of woodblocks in our backyard, we could build a whole city=)

  9. Ninfa
    September 30, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    I like very much how you painted this cedar block: the colours, the particulars and your graphic sign. I love also the labirinth of your foregoing post, it's a bright idea!

  10. elvina
    September 30, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Once again: c'est génial!!!

  11. famiglia Parentini
    September 30, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    Dear Joel, we follow and love your blog from Italy! I wanted to tell you that the italian Vanity Fair wrote about you, would you like me to send you a copy? Ale

  12. Joel Henriques
    September 30, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    Thank you everybody! It's very simple but fun.

    famiglia Parentini - Hello Ale, wow I had no idea. I would totally love it if you could send me a copy! I'll send you a little toy or something in return. Could you email me so we can exchange information?

    Thanks Ale!

  13. molly
    October 1, 2010 at 3:16 am

    As ever, I am so stunned by the fun, soaring quality of your illustrations. Your confidence with a line is enviable.

  14. mari
    October 1, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Perfect. And all because your illustrations rock it.
    Added it to my link love this week, well deserved!

  15. Maiz
    October 1, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    This looks like so much fun to play with! I love the variety... the way it looks like day or night, and how the white side looks kind of foggy or wintry. Another great simple idea, Joel!

  16. Cheryl Arkison
    October 2, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Time to raid the scraps in the basement from our reno...

  17. Lynn
    October 17, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    My 5 year old son and I were inspired by these and your paper city... so he did the drawing and we shared the painting and came up with this.
    My 3 year old son loves playing with them.

    Thanks for your very enjoyable blog and lovely ideas.

  18. Joel Henriques
    October 17, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    Thanks so much everybody!

    Lynn - Those blocks are beautifully done! I love that city!!

  19. Lynn
    October 20, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Thanks, Joel. You are a great inspiration!

  20. Zill.y
    November 9, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    Just had a look at your page with my almost 4 year old - he was all excited and asked, when we would go over to your house to play with the kids ;)

    Cheers from WA. Love your work!


  21. Joel Henriques
    November 11, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    Ha, thanks Zill.y. That's great!

  22. μπαμπάκα;
    November 25, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Fantastic, as everything you do!
    Big fan here in Athens, Greece.
    I've just added you to my favorite blogs.

  23. Billy Banan
    December 12, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    cool, cool, cool - you are 2010´s Jørgen Clevin - absolutely brilliant !

  24. Stacy
    April 12, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Beautiful My kids would love these. Love Your Site! Quick question? I've made some smaller versions of these but I'm having problems with the paint pens bleeding - so i don't get very crisp lines. Do you generally seal raw wood before you draw on it? toy making novice

    1. April 12, 2012 at 9:09 pm

      Thanks everybody! Stacy - Yes, depending on the wood, you sometimes need to coat it. with some sort of sealant before you use markers, or it will bleed. I have a non-toxic sealant that is great, but it's hard to find. You could also use beeswax I think, but not sure how well the pen would write on it. Might be just fine. The other alternative, is to use acrylic paint, and just use a small brush to paint the design on. The paint won't bleed, so you don't have to seal the wood first. On this block of wood though, I didn't need to seal it at all. I just drew on the raw wood. I'm not a wood expert, but maybe this was a closed grain wood or something, so it wasn't so porous.

    2. Stacy
      April 28, 2012 at 2:44 pm

      Thanks. i ended up painting them with acrylic paint then drawing on them after. I did like how the wood looked thru the little windows though.Mind if I ask which sealant you were referring to?

    3. May 3, 2012 at 10:12 pm

      Nice! Upload a photo on the facebook page if you'd like! And I typically use a non-toxic Crystal Urethane by Timber Pro Coatings. I'm not sure how easy it is to find. There's a green building supply store here in Portland that sells small cans of it. It's pretty awesome.

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