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Shabby Chic Block Art

Shabby Chic Block Art main article image
Posted on April 27, 2021 by Jan Hunter

These cute decorated wooden blocks can be adapted to any occasion, holiday or seasonal décor. Digital watercolor images were chosen for the blocks in the examples below. There are many options to choose from…. Be sure to look for the perfect collection of images that will complete your idea.

Hand-painted Watercolor Blush and White by Patishop Art at Creative Fabrica offered just the look desired for a subtle colored design to decorate these blocks.

You’ll need:

  • Watercolor or clip art file of your choice
  • Fonts (Susannah, Ballegand, Bell MT)
  • Printer
  • Copy paper
  • 2 inch wood block(s)
  • Foil Quill pen (standard tip)
  • Heat activated foil (glimmer foil from Spellbinders was used)
  • Electronic die cutting machine (Sizzix eclips and eCal3 were used)
  • White acrylic paint (Liquitex full body)
  • Gel medium (Liquitex)
  • Foam brushes
  • Candlesticks (optional)

How to create shabby chic block art

Choose your files. 
Download and unzip the file(s) you’ve chosen to use. 

Open your cutting machine’s software.  Create a 1.875 inch square on the mat.  Using your software, fill the block with the desired background pattern.  If a very subtle look is desired,

change the opacity.  The opacity used in these samples are set at 50%.  Images below may be watermarked to protect the designer’s artwork

Import additional images from the file to the square as desired.  Be sure that the image is set to Print to Cut Print.  Center the image in the pattern filled square.

Choose your favorite font(s) – and add words that have special meaning to you.  In this case, these blocks are gifts and are individualized for each recipient.  Place a single word or short phrase on the block and set each to draw if you’ll be using the foil quill or set the words to print to cut print if you do not have the foil quill.   

Make sure that your page set up in the software is set to the size of the paper you will be printing to.  Regular 8.5 x 11 copy paper was used for these prints. 

Tip:  The copy paper is lightweight and doesn’t add bulk to the block and almost looks like a sublimation print without using a sublimation printer.    

Make sure that the set up also allows for the registration marks required by your cutting machine for Print 2 Cut options.  Using the Print to Cut command and print the images.  Allow the print to dry for several minutes, especially if the colors are deep and intense or you choose to use a coated paper. If you’re using the foil quill, let it heat up for at least 10 minutes before using.

Place the printed sheet on the mat. Make sure it’s secure on the mat and won’t slip. You can now let those words be visible on the matted images in the software. 

Using the print2cut option, set up the page to draw the words using the foil quill. 

Do not remove the mat from the machine.  Once the foil quill has finished, carefully remove the foil and the foil quill and replace with the blade holder and following the software’s directions, use the print 2 cut option again to cut the squares out. 

Don’t have an electronic cutting machine?  You can recreate the images in a photo editing software and print directly from the software and cut the images using a paper trimmer (directions using photo editing software are not included with this article). 

Prepare the block

Sand if needed and clean off any dust if needed.  Using some acrylic paint, apply a light basecoat on the block with a foam brush on 5 of the 6 sides (the unpainted side will be the bottom of the block).  Let the block dry.

Once the block is dry, sand lightly if needed.   Using a clean foam brush and apply a coat of Gel Medium to one side of the block.  Center one of the images on that side and smooth to make sure there are no bubbles.  There will be a small border all around the image that exposes the block.  Repeat for the other 3 sides of the block.  No image was used on the top of the block.  Let the images dry for about 2 hours.  Seal the block if desired with an acrylic clear spray.  Let dry thoroughly. 

Using a small amount of E6000 glue, attach the drawer pull to the top square of the block. Let dry overnight. 

Repeat the above steps for each of the blocks you make. 

Place the blocks on candle holders for display purposes (you can secure with a compatible glue if desired), As a reminder, these are perfect for use in themed tiered tray decor, baskets, as table favors, or gifts.

Shabby Chic not your favorite look?  How about something using bold and bright colors?  Here’s a sample using Black Rainbow Digital Background Papers by bestgraphicsonline also found at Creative Fabrica. Wood laser cuts were used for the words in the example below.  

Thanks for stopping by and if you happen to create your own version of these blocks, be sure to share.  We love seeing your creations too!  Be sure to visit Jan’s author page or blog for more inspiration.  

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Joyce Migliore

April 28, 2021

So pretty Jan!

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Jan Hunter

April 28, 2021


Thank you so much, Joyce.

Helle Müller

April 28, 2021

This is very creative Jan :-) Love it <3

Jan Hunter's profile picture
Jan Hunter

April 28, 2021


Thanks so much Helle.

Wendy Boulay

April 28, 2021

My mom would love this as a gift! Thank you!

Jan Hunter's profile picture
Jan Hunter

April 28, 2021


Wendy, thank you for the kind words. My mom loves them too.

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