Making a 100 Chart for Math

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

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.

wooden blocks for 100 chart
wooden blocks for 100 chart

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.

100 chart graph for mapping out colors in the 100 chart
100 chart graph for mapping out colors in the 100 chart

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.

watercolors for the waldorf style 100 math chart
watercolors for the Waldorf style 100 math chart

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.

multiplication side of the waldorf style 100 math chart
multiplication side of the Waldorf style 100 math chart

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.

completed DIY Grimm's style rainbow 100 chart for math
completed DIY Grimm’s style rainbow 100 chart for math

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Sarah Denie says:

    Hi Della,
    So, here I am, 7 months later and finally on the project 😀
    With my children until now, I´ve been using a paper version of the chart that you made, but now that I´m looking with more detail at the original Grimm pictures, I notice that they only do the multiplication chart, but coloured in lines (rather than the angles)…
    Have you by any chance found out what the logic is behind each pattern?

    And another question… How did your children end up using the chart?
    Thanks a lot in advance for your insights!
    And I´ll show you the pictures when I´m finally finished.

    1. Hi Sarah,

      I do not know the logic of their pattern, but I suspect it’s by Multiples: a row for the ones, a row for the twos, etc. The logic of my pattern was to show the square numbers, but I made the pattern backwards in mine. 😞

      We have used our chart endlessly. If you sign up for my newsletter, there is a link to a video on a few ways to use it. We have used it for patterns in the 100 chart, finding Multiples of a given number, finding Common Multiples, finding prime numbers by eliminating all the Multiples, Number bonds for 100, and practicing multiplication.

      We have used our multiplication table for finding patterns in the Multiples (I have a blog post on that.) finding Common Multiples, and finding equivalent fractions. I think I’m leaving something out, but there are a few ideas.

  2. Sarah Deniearah says:

    I love the result and I’m going to try to do a 100 chart as well.
    What size blocks did you choose and would you use that size again?
    Thanks a lot!

    1. I used the 1 inch blocks. Yes I would use those again. I was really happy with the results. I’d love to see yours when you finish.

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