[we’ve gone giddy for…]

Our Little A is a budding mathematician (or at least that is what his very biased mother thinks) and we are more than encouraging it (hey, the arts are great and all, but any other way to make a living and we say go for it!). He’s been obsessed with puzzles for quite some time and is especially fond of shapes and matching, etc. We have a lot of Montessori toys that he enjoys but I’ve had this idea for a geometric art puzzle that I wanted to try with him. Last summer (yes I’ve had this project idea stewing for far too long…seems to be the way things go around here) I went to Home Depot and had them cut a large sheet of 1/4 inch hardboard into five inch squares. Just this week I finally managed to paint them into colorful triangular shapes. I used acrylic craft paint and a sponge brush (don’t use a bristle brush, it will just frustrate you).
As soon as Little A saw them, he went to town and I loved what he came up with. The amount of beautiful designs is truly endless. I have to confess that I’m having just as much fun with them as he is!
My original plan was to apply Velcro to the back of each square and then mount them onto the wall as a movable art piece (an idea I got from a friend, Amy Palmer, while living in Brooklyn. She had various shades of blue squares hung above her couch and it was true eye candy). However, once I saw the “out-of-the-box” designs that little A made, I knew these were better suited as a floor activity.

I might still hang them on the wall as a visually appealing home for them while they are not in use, but for now we are enjoying sliding them about, mixing and matching, this way and that. Talk about just the thing to do while cooped up indoors during this week of California rain storms.

*To get the sharp diagonal I took a ruler and made a pencil line from corner to corner before painting. From there I just eyed it (taking advantage of the clean line a sponge brush can give you) but if you are a perfectionist you might want to try taping it off.

January 3, 2010
January 27, 2010


  1. Reply

    Séminaire Cergy

    January 20, 2010

    how very fun! WTG, mom

  2. Reply


    January 20, 2010

    What a simple, yet fantastic toy. Looks like Atticus is already very talented!

  3. Reply


    January 20, 2010

    I so want to copy you (get Mike to copy you)! Cool, cool toy!!

  4. Reply

    handmade charlotte

    January 20, 2010

    I love this idea! wow! I am going to try it! You always have the best ideas! thanks!

  5. Reply

    Jenn Kirk

    January 20, 2010

    So inspiring. I’m going to have to do this. To paint a sharp diagonal, did you use tape or just eyeball it? Thanks!

  6. Reply


    January 20, 2010

    Way cool. I love it.

  7. Reply


    January 20, 2010

    This is so great! When your little man gets a bit older, he might enjoy one of these:

    I have one that lives on my coffee table and I love it.

  8. Reply


    January 20, 2010

    thanks everyone for the kind words!

    Jenn- I added this addendum: “To get the sharp diagonal I took a ruler and made a pencil line from corner to corner before painting. From there I just eyed it (taking advantage of the clean line a sponge brush can give you) but if you are a perfectionist you might want to try taping it off.”

  9. Reply


    January 21, 2010

    These are so cool! Just wondering if you have a clever way to store them. Thanks for the idea!

  10. Reply


    January 21, 2010

    What a fantastic idea! Did you just choose the paint colors for each square randomly or did you plan it all out?

  11. Reply


    January 21, 2010

    Love this one! With three boys (1,5,7) who all seem to be very visual and mathmatical…I am inspired to do this project! Thanks! I hope to blog about it on my blog and link back to you.

  12. Reply


    January 21, 2010

    these are spectacular!!!! I can’t wait to make them for my little one. I hope you don’t mind, but I linked to you from my blog… if you mind at all, please let me know and I’ll take it down. My second baby is due tomorrow, and I tend to forget about awesome ideas like this if I just bookmark…so I posted about it so I’d remember after the baby comes.

  13. Reply

    Wonder Mom

    January 21, 2010

    Want to do this…

  14. Reply


    January 21, 2010

    That is an absolutely brilliant! I just might have to copy you too, but it will probably take me a year or two.

  15. Reply

    Brooke Reynolds

    January 21, 2010

    I think I know what JR’s next project will be!

  16. Reply


    January 21, 2010

    These are amazing. I’m going to head to home depot and get some squares cut. Such a great gift idea, too.

  17. Reply


    January 21, 2010

    Amazing! I’m definitely going to make this for my girlies. They’re total roughnecks, though, so I’m also definitely going to seal the acrylics after I paint them.

  18. Reply

    M and E

    January 21, 2010

    What an easy-yet-fantastic project!! I’m adding this to my list of projects (it always grows longer, never shorter!) to do this year!

  19. Reply


    January 21, 2010

    I LOVE this & want to make it this weekend…..how much does Home Depot charge to cut the wood? Thanks!!

  20. Reply


    January 21, 2010

    As an educator, I applaud you. Combining art and math, this activity has endless possibilities.

  21. Reply


    January 21, 2010

    Fabulous! Go crafty Mumma!
    It’s always the simple toys that you remember and are the most fun!

  22. Reply


    January 21, 2010

    wow, these are great! and will be on my to-do list, thank you for sharing.

  23. Reply

    A Little Bunny

    January 22, 2010

    i think i found my project for the weekend! great idea. i have been toying with the idea of some natural blocks cut from fallen oak branches in the woods around our home. i think this is going to come first though 🙂

  24. Reply


    January 22, 2010

    I love this idea! Did you have a whole 4′ x 8′ sheet cut? Or did you opt for something smaller, keeping the remainder?

    Gosh…I hope the rest of our snow melts soon so I can run out to Home Depot!

  25. Reply


    January 23, 2010

    Love the blog, some great stuff here, well done from all at http://nichegallerycouk.blogspot.com

  26. Reply

    Fleecenik Farm

    January 23, 2010

    I was wondering if you put felt on the other side they would slide easily on your floor and not scratch. This also could serve a dual purpose of using for felt boards..

  27. Reply

    Cheryl Arkison

    January 24, 2010

    That so appeals to a quilter like me.

  28. Reply

    Cheryl Arkison

    January 24, 2010

    That so appeals to a quilter like me.

  29. Reply


    January 25, 2010

    Well crap, add one more visual project to my list that I want to do and probably won’t. These are awesome.

  30. Reply


    January 26, 2010

    I was so inspired that I went to Home Depot today–got my board for around $5 and the guy cut it for free! Can’t decide if I’m going to do felt on the back, or velcro, for a cool “installation.” Really wonderful idea! Thank you so much…I re-blogged and sent everyone here for instructions and all credit, just so you know…http://sweetsweetlife.typepad.com/sweet_sweet_life/
    Awesome ideas, as always…Amy

  31. Reply


    January 26, 2010

    I love it, it looks like so much fun. I think I’m going to make one.
    I’ve blogged about it (www.enelpaisdelashadas.com), I hope it’s okay with you!.

  32. Reply

    Kickcan and Conkers

    January 29, 2010

    Simple, smart and versatile. Well done!

  33. Reply


    January 29, 2010

    Brilliant! We’ll have to give it a go, for a fun pop of color in this deep mid-winter.

  34. Reply

    Julie Elton

    January 29, 2010

    I can’t say how much I love this. The colors are fantastic!

  35. Reply


    January 30, 2010

    It’s always excellent when it satisfies all ages!

  36. Reply


    February 3, 2010

    I love it! You are so talented. Can’t wait to make one for me! 😉

  37. Reply


    February 7, 2010

    I am so bummed – I have tried not one, but TWO Home Depots to get a sheet of 2′ x 4′ hardboard cut for me and NO ONE WILL DO IT. ARGH. They say that 5″ squares are too small for their sawing thingy and that cutting pieces that small will split the wood. *sob* What’s everyone’s secret to getting the wood cut?? I can’t even find anything online for cheap.

  38. Reply


    February 7, 2010

    N- Call Home Depot and see if they will cut 6″ pieces. I know 5″ is pretty small and I think they told me something similar. Hopefully they will do it at 6″. Good luck!


  39. Reply


    March 8, 2010

    very cool! I’ve listed it in a Spring Break roundup on my blog, The Handmade Experiment. I’ve got tutorials on things to make and things to bake and a couple of cool etsy artists for things to take this spring break. Come on over and check it out and thanks for the inspiration!

  40. Reply


    March 8, 2010

    N.:I had mine done at Lowes, but you have to pay .25 cents per cut – it was about $4.50. Unfortunately, your HD people were right, the edges on almost all of my squares are really rough and broken a bit. I’m hoping I can save it with sand paper, but not looking forward to the project now. I might have wasted $12. :o/

  41. Reply


    May 27, 2010

    great project. i’ve made several as presents and just wrote it up @ my site. thanks so much for sharing! my little people really enjoy it.

  42. Reply

    von Hand zu Hand

    August 22, 2010

    what a great idea.
    i’m totally in love with this idea…so easy, so much fun.

    i’m linking.

    thanks for this tutorial, doro.

  43. Reply


    March 31, 2012

    this is awesome!! i know this is an old post, but i just saw it on pinterest. love this and so going to try it!!

  44. Reply

    Lorraine Rabadi

    October 19, 2012

    cant wait to make these and give them out as christmas gifts!!! can hardly contain myself eeeeeek!


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