Inspired by this Bag O’ Blocks and several others like it that I’ve seen, I decided to try making my own scale blocks. I could have just bought this wonderful set from Music Educator’s Marketplace, but I wanted to have several octave sets and couldn’t afford to buy more than one.
So, I began my creative endeavor with the following supplies:
60 one-inch wooden blocks, matte finish craft paint, 4 one-inch paint sponges, small paint brush, a can of clear acrylic sealer (also matte finish)
Make sure I know what I’m doing. I drew up this little diagram so that I would know which blocks needed to be painted white-black-white-black and which ones needed to be painted white-white-white-black.
Start painting! I painted white first that way if there was overlap, the black would cover it up.
Keep painting! Since there were two sides that didn’t need key names, I decided to paint them in my studio colors: red and yellow. The longest part of this project was painting all the key names. It would have probably worked (and definitely been faster!) to use a paint pen, rather than a brush, but I didn’t have any on hand and didn’t feel like making a run to the store.
The paint dried very fast, so as soon as I finished the last key name I took them outside and sprayed them with the acrylic sealer. I left them out to dry for about 10 minutes, then turned them over and sprayed the other side. After about another 10-15 minutes, they were done. (I definitely advise using a sealer. It was amazing how much better the blocks looked and felt after they were sprayed with it. I can tell they will last longer this way!)
Bag them up, with two complete octaves per set, and think of lots of ways to use them! I’ve already used the scale blocks at least 5 times this week and hope to post some specific ideas in the future. They are such a blast!