Thursday, January 17, 2013

Home-made Story Cubes tutorial and freebie

I LOVE story cubes! I have a few sets of Rory's Story Cubes in my literacy centers, but they are pricy, not very cute, and have limited themes. I put my thinking cap on, took a trip to Beverly's Crafts, and got to work! These were super-dooper easy to make. The one at the top left is just doodled onto the wood with a Copic drawing pen. I like these because they don't bleed into the porous wood. The others were made using a simple transfer method (tutorial below).

Here's what you need:
1" wood craft cubes (Beverly's, Michaels, or Hobby Lobby should have them)
Citrasolve (Wholefoods)
Fine grit sandpaper 
popscicle sticks
laser printed images

1) Find images to transfer to your story cubes. I prefer line art images for this project because they are crisper when transferred. You can find some great free images online or purchase them on Etsy or Teacher's Pay Teachers. Some of my favorites I have purchased from KPM Doodles. If you would like a template, CLICK HERE. There are blank spaces for your images in addition to one pre-made story cube.

2) Print your images using the mirror image option on your printer page. YOU MUST USE A LASER PRINTER. I have heard of people using a copy machine that has powdered toner, but I personally have not had luck with this printing method and the laser printer images always work.

3) Next, gently sand the sides of your wooden cube and wipe of the dust until it is clean.

4) Then cut the images down to size. Choose one image and place it image side down on one side of the wooden cube.

5) Get a SMALL amount of Citrasolve on the Q-tip. Dab the image lightly until it is just transparent. Be careful not to saturate the image, because the toner will begin running and your image will be ruined. Once it is transparent you will see the image appear.

6) Hold the paper firmly in place (so that it doesn't move) and rub the image on the paper with the popsicle stick. Make sure that you rub the entire image so that it will transfer.

7) Remove the paper and you will see your newly transferred image! It is permanent, but I like to apply two coats of a water-based varnish (Triple Thick Gloss or Modge Podge).
*If there are lines in your image that are a bit faint, use a fine point permanent pen to fix it. To make it a bit fancier, you can also use a colored laser printer or color them by hand using Copic markers or colored pencils prior to varnishing.

I would love to see the story cubes that you create! If you make any of your own, please send me a link so that I can take a peek!

Until later!


  1. Shelly,
    What a great idea! I can't wait to use this technique. I have a huge tub of wooden blocks just waiting for a purpose. :) I L.O.V.E. your blog design. Did you use a designer or DIY? I'm your newest follower. I'll be stopping back again soon!

    Take care,

    Read with Me ABC

  2. Thank you for being my newest follower! I did do the blog design myself. It is sooooooo simple to do and I love any chance to do something creative. Please send me a photo when you make your story cubes. I am excited to see what you create!

    Bug hugs,

  3. making story cubes for my daughters 7th birthday for party favors! :) each child will get a set of story cubes, storybook paper, colored pencils-crayons and markers. Really hope they like them.

    love your blog so happy I found it! New Follower :)

    Letters Numbers and Books oh my!

  4. Shannon,
    What a great favor idea! Those are some lucky littles!!! I would love a picture of them when you are done. If you have any questions when your making them, let me know. I would love to help. They are really cool.

    Bug hugs,

  5. Wow! I saw this the other day and I'm gonna try this. I just got my wooden blocks and now will plan what to put on them. Might take me a while because I have a big project in mind. Are you aware of any other solutions besides citra solv that are effective (in case I can't find it)? Thanks for sharing!



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