I adore Grimm’s Counting with Wooden Number Chart, but I couldn’t move past the $140 sticker price, though I think it’s well worth it. Still I really wanted a 100 chart like this, because we will be using the 100 chart a lot this coming school year for my youngest. I wanted something “whole brained” where the numbers could be moved and played with. I decided to try making one myself. Though it’s not a Grimm, I’m happy with the results. Here’s how I did it.
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What I Used
- 100 1-inch wooden blocks
- Stockmare watercolors*
- Stockmar stick crayons*
- Spoon butter or beeswax balm ( I made my own. It was ¼ cup beeswax, 1 Tbsp. Olive oil, 1Tbs Coconut oil, heated on the stove and then cooled.)
Count the Blocks
The first thing that I did was count my blocks. On several reviews there were folks saying they didn’t receive 100. I wanted to exchange them if I needed to. I didn’t need to.
Prep your Layout
I wanted a Waldorf-style multiplication table in addition to a 100 chart, so I was using two different patterns of colors and numbers. I printed out two 100 square grids and laid out my colors on paper first. This helped me to make sure there were enough colors and keep up with where I was while painting. You will notice both numbers on the 100 chart are the same. I was only using them for color pattern.
Color your Numbers
I was working with wax resist, so I wrote the number I was using with a crayon first and painted over them with watercolor. It helps to use a fresh crayon with a pointed tip. Some of my numbers have a smeared look from the tip not being sharp enough. Press firmly; you want those numbers to shine through the water color.
Paint your Blocks
This part took quite a bit of time, and partly because I decided to do two sets of numbers. I think it would have been move easier to do each block a solid color. You will notice that each side is different colors. This was done so that I could work pattern and explore common multiples of the numbers by turning certain blocks to the side, but it’s possible to achieve what I’m looking for with each block solid. In hindsight, I would have done each block one color.
Following my 100-chart paper template, I painted the front side of each block. After they dried, I painted the multiplication table side, the back side, of each block following my other template. Afterwards I painted all the other sides a different color, making sure all sides would match the corresponding sides of the other blocks.
Wax the Blocks to Finish
To finish your blocks rub some spoon butter or beeswax balm on each block and then polish. This also takes some time, but gives your blocks a richness that I love. It really finishes the look.
And You’re Done
If you also decide to make your own, let me know. You can comment here, of tag me @beauty_of_play on Instagram or post on Facebook at The Beauty of Play.