How to Make Easy Fabric Baby Blocks

Dear Sewfie,

Can you show me an easy way to make a fabric cube? I want to make some soft fabric blocks for my son.

– Marcia

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Dear Marcia,

You can make cute fabric baby blocks from a foam cube and six fabric squares. We used 4″ foam and an adorable fabric panel called “Baby Geniuses Grow Up!” by Linda Carlson & Diana Henage from Benartex.

You can make these cute fabric baby blocks!

You can make these cute fabric baby blocks!

One 5/8 yard panel has 30 colorful squares (enough to make 5 blocks) featuring letters of the alphabet and adorable cartoon animals. You could also use the 3″ number squares to make smaller number blocks.

Baby Geniuses Grow Up! 5/8 yard panel

Baby Geniuses Grow Up! 5/8 yard panel

You can use any size foam, simply cut your fabric squares 1/2″ wider than your foam. You can cut your foam block to shape using any sharp kitchen knife.

Materials: 4" foam cube and six 4.5" fabric squares

Materials: 4" foam cube and six 4.5" fabric squares

Note: To make nice square corners, do not stitch all the way to the edge of the fabric. Be sure to start and stop stitching 1/4″ from all edges.

Sew in 1/4" seam allowances

Sew in 1/4" seam allowances

Sew six squares into cross shape

Sew six squares into cross shape

So far... so good!

So far... so good!

Fold bottom on diagonal, then sew each of the four side seams

Fold the bottom square on a diagonal angle, then sew the side seam (where scissors are pointing). Repeat for each of the four side seams

Now you have a box with a flap top

Now you have a box with a flap top

Sew two sides of the top flap, leave one side open

Sew two sides of the top flap, leave one side open

Turn right side out and square corners gently with chopstick

Turn right side out and square corners gently with chopstick

Squeeze foam cube through opening

Squeeze foam cube through opening

Stitch opening shut

Stitch opening shut

Finished!

Finished!

Baby approves!

Baby approves!

For more fun toys for baby, see our Baby Puzzle Ball pattern

Baby Puzzle Ball

Baby Puzzle Ball – PDF pattern

… or our Baby Beach Ball pattern!

Baby Beach Ball

Baby Beach Ball – PDF pattern

Warm Stitches,

15 thoughts on “How to Make Easy Fabric Baby Blocks

  1. Can you tell me where to get the foam needed. In-store and online says the cost is $60 a yard. Is this reasonable? I want to make 10 of the 4″ thick baby blocks, like our sons had growing up. Thank you.

    1. Chris,

      I bought the foam at Jo Anne’s. If you don’t have a Jo Anne near you, try any large chain fabrics/crafts store or any place that sells home dec supplies. This foam is used for making seat cushions. Get the “high density” foam, it’s a light green color and more firm than the regular white foam. It’s very expensive (yes, its probably is about $60 per yard) BUT you can buy it by the inch, you only need a 4″ ‘slice’ to make all 5 blocks, to cover the whole alphabet. It comes in 24″ or 36″ widths, you’d only need the 24″ to make all 5 blocks. For you to make 10 blocks, you will probably need an 8″ “slice”. When I bought mine it ended up costing me about $6 to make the 5 blocks in this tutorial.

      If you can’t find 4″ foam, buy a 2″ seat cushion and double up! Seat cushions are very cheap and you can get them at Wal-Mart in the craft section or at any big box craft store.

      I hope this helps.

      Best,

      Sewfie

    2. For the high density foam, $60 is not really out of the ordinary. The good news for you is: you really only need a 4″ strip and if you go to a “big box” craft store like JoAnn, you can buy it by the inch. So, the 4 inch strip you need to make 5 or 6 blocks would really cost you about $6.

    1. I got it at Portsmouth Fabric Company in Portsmouth, NH. The fabric is out of print now but you can still find it online, try eBay, ETSY and just plain ol’ Google.

  2. Is the foam safe for babies to chew? Will it come apart or dissolve? Also, is it washable or should you just wipe the blocks with a cloth to clean them? Thanks!

    1. I am not a children’s product safety expert so I don’t know if its safe to chew. You would have to consult with the manufacturer of the foam to be really sure. I guess its as safe as chewing on any other cushion. The foam is just regular seat cushion foam. But I do know for sure it does not dissolve or come apart. Its washable. You can just toss the blocks in the washer along with regular clothes if they were very dirty. Otherwise I just wipe them up with a sponge. The set I made have lasted forever… the blocks (and the “baby”) in these photos is now 5! He doesn’t chew on them anymore, now he makes towers out of them and throws them. Still fun after all these years!

  3. Hi jen, thanks for this tutorial it is exactly what I’m after except a different application. I need to cover some hard cubes is there a way to sew with elastic or another method in order to slip to cover onto a hard cube and have fit tight like your cubes. In you case it’s easy because the foam block can change shape and fill the cube from the inside, I need away to hug the cube from the outside. Can you help? This will be the first thing I have ever sewed. Thanks again

    1. Dennis,
      If you want to make a cube cover to hug a hard cube of some kind, i.e. not the squishy foam block, my suggestion is to make the cube as described here, only eliminate the 6th side – the final flap shown in the tutorial. Then, run a length of seam tape or just a skinny strip of fabric around the edge of the open side, forming a casing. Then, thread some 1/4″ elastic though that, snug it up, tie it off in a knot and you should have a pretty snug fitting cube over! This is basically the way they make fitted sheets. Hope this helps!

  4. This has been one of the fastest, easiest DIY projects I have ever done.

    I made 6 small boxes and 2 large boxes in two hours. They would have taken a lot less time if I didn’t run into trouble with my machine.
    Thanks so much!

    1. I don’t really know. I don’t suppose its any different than any other printed quilting cotton that you would use for any other baby-related project, such as a quilt or garment.

  5. Thanks so much for this tutorial. I was wondering, how did you cut the blocks? I haven’t bought the foam yet, but I think it would be hard to use scissors. My other thought would be a serrated knife. What did you use?

    1. Hannah,
      I used a sharp kitchen knife. It helps to draw lines on the foam (top and sides) with a Sharpie or other permanent marker to help guide you. If your knife is nice and sharp, you can easily cut the foam by using a long drawing motion, pulling the knife towards yourself. At the bottom of your stroke, take the knife out and do it again, so you are always pulling the knife towards yourself, in one direction. Don’t try to “saw” like you would with a loaf of bread. That makes your cut line all wonky. If you just pull the knife always in the same direction (and follow your lines!) you can get a nice square cut. P.S. I have heard of other people using an electric knife such as a turkey carver, although I’ve never tried it myself!
      Sewfie

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