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!

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  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!

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

    nice illustration! very vintage style :)

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  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.

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

    I love this! YOu have amazing ideas!

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


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


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  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=)

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  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!

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

    Once again: c'est génial!!!

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  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

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  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!

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  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.

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  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!

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  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!

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

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

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  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.

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

    Thanks so much everybody!

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

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

    Thanks, Joel. You are a great inspiration!

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  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!


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

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

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  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.

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

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

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  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

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    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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