Upping the Game – Wrapped and Upcycled Game Pieces

Upping the Game – Wrapped and Upcycled Game Pieces main article image
Posted on March 4, 2021 by Jan Hunter

Using fonts and digital papers from Creative Fabrica and a few other odds and ends from the craft room, these Tumbling block pieces have taken on a new look and purpose.

You’ll need:

  • Wood game pieces – Similar to Jenga® blocks (these measure approximately 3in long x 7/8 x 15/16)
  • Acrylic Paint (white was used in these examples)
  • Copy paper
  • Images and fonts
  • Electronic die cutting machine and software (optional)
  • Photo editing program (optional)
  • Block Wrap SVG file and PDF file (click here to download)
  • Printer
  • Foil Quill
  • Heat Activated Foil
  • Beads, wire, other findings as needed
  • Wire cutter, round nose pliers (2)
  • Screw eyes (2 for each block)
  • Sand paper
  • Scissors, exacto knife if you don’t have a cutting machine and are using the pdf file.

Prepare the game pieces

If needed, clean, sand and prep the blocks. Drill a shallow hole in each end of the block for the screw eye.

Paint or stain each block. Let dry. Sand lightly if needed and if desired paint a second coat on the block. Samples for this project have one coat of paint. Once the paint has dried thoroughly, screw a screw eye securely into the shallow hole. Set aside.

Create the wrap

For those using a die cutting machine. Open the associated software and import the SVG. The SVG should import at 2.875 (w) x 3.250 (h) inches. If the imported size is different, resize. If your machine does a kiss cut to score, change the four (4) fold lines to a score line (solid or dashes according to your personal preference).

If desired fill the rectangle shape with a digital background paper following the directions provided in your software. An image from the collection below was used in this project.

Pink and Gold digital paper collection

Using the text tool in your software, create a word that will fit into one of the larger sections of the rectangle. Words used in this sample are W 2.482 x H 0.520.  The font used for these sample blocks is Susanna.  Be sure to change the text to Draw.

TIP:  Choose words that will easily fit into the area of the wrap. Too many letters will look crowded. Change up the font – change up the size a bit to accommodate the width of the font if you choose a display type of text. 

Ready for next steps? It’s time to print. Hide the score lines and the words. Print using the Print 2 cut command and your printer. Place the printed page on the mat, make sure it is firmly in place.  Next step is using the foil quill. Cover the rectangle with foil… secure the foil, making sure that any registration marks are not covered by the foil or tape.  Make sure your foil quill is ready for use and has been heating for at least 10 minutes before you begin to use it.

In the layers palette, select the words so they show again on your mat.  Select the software’s print 2 cut option.  Set the cut option to draw and using the foil quill or pen, draw the letters.  Do not remove the mat from the machine. Remove and unplug the foil quill or pen.  Set aside.  Replace the cutting blade.

Select the score lines so they are visible on the mat.  Hide the words.  Open the print 2 cut option again, change the option to cut and set for the paper you are using.  Follow the directions in your software and allow the machine to score and cut the wrap(s) out.  Remove the cuts from the mat and set aside.

Don’t have an electronic die cutting machine?

Use the pdf file (see download link in supply list). You’ll need adobe acrobat reader (download the reader here). Print a copy of the wrap template on the back of a piece of designer paper. You can also just print the template, cut it out and lay on the back of the designer paper, then cut and mark the score lines on your designer paper.

Decorate as desired using stickers, hand drawn letters, stencils or a stamp can be used to add the words to your wrap.

Make one wrap for each block.    

Wrapping the blocks

Fold along the score lines. Place the block on the wrong side of the rectangle and secure with a bit of tape or glue. Double stick tape was used here.

A decoupage glue could also be used, to secure the paper to the block. These “wraps” are so easy to create and allow you to interchange words or images. it would be easy to replace with a new series of words as desired.


Stringing the banner

Now, to connect the blocks together. There are so many options! From “S” hooks to lengths of chain to a set of stringed beads on wire, ribbons and fibers.

What will you choose? For this sample, wired beads from the craft room stash were used. A combination of gold, silver and pink beads were used to bring everything together.

This banner measures about 24 inches finished. Add additional blocks and stringers as desired.

Don’t want to make a banner? There are so many options for these wraps! Design a specialty ornament1 for any occasion, a key chain2. A special gift for a friend or family member.

1This ornament has a copy of an old family picture. Making a bunch of these would be fun for a family reunion or to create a family tree in a unique sort of way.

2The keychain has an image of a copy of a beautiful garden scene.
If using as a key chain, that will get a lot of use, apply the wrap using a good glue to secure the paper in place on the block. Seal with an acrylic or polymer sealer for extra protection to the artwork you’ve created. Add a charm if desired. And make sure that the screw eye is glued into the wood for extra strength.

We hope you’ll enjoy wrapping a few blocks and creating some new home décor, ornaments, key chains or something else giving new life to some old game pieces. Be sure to share your projects – we’d love to see them. For more creative inspiration, feel free to visit Jan’s blog or author page.

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3X Added to favorites

Joyce Migliore

March 5, 2021

Love these, you really inspire me to create Jan!

Jan Hunter's profile picture
Jan Hunter

March 5, 2021


Thanks, Joyce. You inspire me as well. Hoping you have a creative sort of day!

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