DIY: Lacing Beads and Photo Puzzle

A wonderfully talented reader, Lindsay, sent me these instructions and photos for a couple really great projects for young toddlers: handmade lacing beads and a photo puzzle. I’m really excited to try these. Perfect for my very busy two year old.

Here are her instructions to create your own:

Lacing Beads

(You will need to use a miter saw and a drill with a 1/4″ drill bit)
one 1″ square dowel
one 1″ circle dowel (you could use other sizes that are close)
5 or so wooden balls 1 1/2″
medium grit sandpaper
non-toxic craft paint in 5 different colors
one shoelace

Measure and mark the dowels to have about 7 one-inch pieces and 7 half-inch pieces from each dowel (you will have extra wood). Wearing safety goggles 🙂 cut on the marks with a miter saw. Drill a 1/4″ hole through the middle of each piece, including the wooden balls. Sand each piece. Paint each set of pieces a different color. Sand lightly after they’re dry to prevent the pieces from transferring color. Tie a large knot in the end of the shoelace and they’re ready to use.

Picture Puzzle

(you will need to use a miter saw)
one 1 1/2″ square dowel (other sizes could be used)
mod podge, paintbrush
1-6 5×7 prints, depending on how many sides you want as puzzles
paper cutter

Mark the dowel every 1 1/2″ and cut with the saw to make blocks. Sand blocks. Cut the picture(s) into 9 pieces to fit the blocks (just a little smaller than 1 1/2″ square). Attach the pictures to the blocks with mod-podge and let dry.


these are cute! I thought I was really cool for purchasing a package of small wooden spools at the craft store, to use for bead stringing. but this is cooler.

great idea, Sarah! And glad to see that you found blocks without having to cut any :). I'm good at 'lazy' crafting

LOVE this!! Sending to my sister — perfect for her twins!! (or maybe I'll just have to make them with my older boys – and send them off to her. So fun!!)

Shelly, I bet you can buy plain blocks and beads at a craft store. Might make the whole project much simpler

I love the picture puzzle and it looks fairly simple to make as well.

I love the beads! Will have to try those when my boys get a little older. Love the gorgeous colors!

i love the idea of doing 6 pictures…one for each side of the cube. makes it a little more advanced, though. 🙂 oh the joys of keeping little dudes entertained!

I am all over that block picture puzzle idea. How fun would that be!! Thanks.

These sound great but I don't have a miter saw. Can you buy those beads or blocks already cut? Like at a craft store?

lovely ideas. I would love to create one of these lacing beads. my niece would love it!

I've seen the blocks done with 6 different photos. one for each side! very fun.

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