Creating a Letterblock Tray

Creating a Letterblock Tray2017-12-27T11:23:09-05:00

Project Description

Finish Letterblock Tray with photos and found items

The finished letterblock tray featuring photos and found items, entitled “LOVE 2 PLAY GAMES Together”

It’s Margie’s fault. Maybe Joe Morgan’s, too. I’ll tell you about Margie in a minute. As for JoeM… a while ago, he picked up a 7Gypsies Letterblock Tray at Archiver’s. It has sat, among all the other supplies we’ve collected for our crafting dreams and fantasies, waiting for the right moment to turn in to a real-life project.

Papers and embellishments for letterblock tray

Papers and embellishments for letterblock tray

A few weeks ago, we stopped in to Archiver’s in Columbus, OH to pick up some free paper (don’t you just love those coupons!). I saw the sign advertising their “One-of-a-Kind Wall Art” contest. Decorate a tray with products available for purchase at Archiver’s, personal photos, memorabilia and found items. Submit it. And you’re done. It was that simple. I thought about it, for a second, and decided against it.

On Friday, I stopped in to Archiver’s again. As I was staring at the samples on display. Here’s where Margie comes in to play. Margie is a delightful associate at Archiver’s, who, in a soft, confident, assuring voice, told me I could get a tray done and submit it before the deadline. Which was Sunday, 6PM. She was so nice, I was hooked. Even though I knew I would be gone all day Saturday at StampAway in Cincinnati, I decided to give it a shot.

Laying out game pieces on the letterblock tray

Laying out game pieces and other found items

I decided on a theme right away – games. We’ve accumulated so many board games with great little pieces that I knew would fit perfectly in the small rectangles that make up the tray. Next, complimentary papers and additional embellishments. Looking around Archiver’s I found great papers from 7Gypsies and Crate Paper that would fit the game theme. Of course, Idea-Ology had some embellishments I couldn’t pass up. I picked up Joe Morgan and we started to hit some thrift stores looking for any game pieces I couldn’t do without. Of course, we found some!

Arranging photos in the letterblock tray

Arranging photos in the letterblock tray

As soon as we got home, I searched for pictures. Luckily, my sister, Betty, had a box we could go through and we found some perfect ones of my niece, nephews and mom playing games! I scanned them, converted them to black and white, and was ready to begin pulling it all together. JoeM used Copic markers to color Elphaba’s eyes and the Barbie in two photos. I put everything I needed on the kitchen table, but it was too late to get anything done. Time to head to bed.

Elphaba the cat helping at the crafting table

Elphaba loves to craft as much as we do!

We got up early on Saturday and drove to Cincinnati for StampAway. I was determined to go. I wanted to say “Hi!” to so many friends I knew would be there, including Magdalena Muldoon, Susan Pickering Rothamel, Kristal, Gary Berlin, Elaine Madrid and Connie Williams. And, of course, we knew there would be fabulous shopping from vendors like 100 Proof Press, Artful Illusions, B Line Designs, Carmen’s Veranda, Gary M. Burlin & Co., Impression Obsession, Marco’s Paper, Mercart USA, Northwoods Rubber Stamps Inc., Rubber Cottage, Stampers Anonymous, Stampland, The Paper Cut Inc., and Toomuchfun Rubber Stamps. We finished the show, had dinner at Pappadeaux and got back to Columbus around 9PM!

Arranging papers in the letterblock tray

Arranging papers in the letterblock tray

I started by laying out where the game pieces might fit. I wanted to use red to pull your eye through the project, so I paid extra attention to those pieces. I also started to lay in draft copies of the photos. I knew I wanted an odd number and wanted them spread throughout the tray as well. As you can see, our cat, Elphaba, was eager to participate in the project. By this time it was getting late and I had to head to bed.

The final embellishments to be added to the letterblock tray

The final embellishments to be added to the letterblock tray

So, Sunday was the big day. Up early and ready to cut and glue. Some of the game pieces didn’t fit well and needed to be trimmed down using a Dremel.  Some seemed a bit too new looking and needed distressed a bit with some ink. The ball of yarn had to be fashioned so it would fit just right. Thank god for Joe Morgan and his finely tuned motor skills, as glueing these small pieces was tricky! And I wanted to make the entire piece a game as well. So, I fashioned a little booklet that listed all the games that are represented on the piece. Can you guess how many there are? Can you find them all? Scroll down and you’ll see the list I came up with.

Elphaba the cat, her eyes colored green, ready to play with some yarn

Elphaba the cat, her eyes colored green, ready to play with some yarn

We hopped in the car and rushed to Archiver’s. We got there at 5:30. Margie was there. Once again, she was delightful. She took a picture of the project, accepted the application and it was officially entered in to the contest. These week, folks can stop in the store and vote for their favorite tray. Mine is one of 5 entries. The winners at the store level will head to ScrapFest where the national winner will be awarded $1,000. Wish me luck!! And if you’re in Columbus, stop by Archiver’s at Easton and cast your vote!

Booklet listing games and photos used in letterblock tray

Booklet listing games and photos used in letterblock tray

  1. Anagrams (“Love”)
  2. Backgammon (red wood game piece)
  3. Barbie (photo)
  4. Bingo (card, chip)
  5. Black Jack (playing card)
  6. Cat & Yarn (photo, yarn)
  7. Checkers(black & red game pieces)
  8. Chess (Pawn, Rook)
  9. Chinese Checkers (glass balls)
  10. Clue (pencil)
  11. Cowboys & Indians (horse)
  12. Craps (dice)
  13. Dolls (mannequin, baby)
  14. Dominos (domino paper, domino)
  15. Jacks (jack)
  16. Jigsaw Puzzle (photo, puzzle pieces)
  17. Lotto (“2” wood game piece)
  18. Marbles (glass marbles)
  19. Monopoly (photo, car & hat game pieces)
  20. Musical Chairs (45 record)
  21. Parcheesi (blue, green & yellow button game pieces)
  22. Poker or cards (playing cards paper)
  23. Rummy (hand of cards)
  24. Skateboard (skateboard)
  25. Scrabble (“PLAY GAMES”)
  26. Sudoku (paper)
  27. Sorry (red game piece)
  28. Spinning Top (top)
  29. Triaminos (game piece)
  30. Trucks (photo) Wood Blocks (photo)
  31. Yahtzee (paper)
  32. Yo-yo (yo-yo)
  33. The tray itself is basically a scavenger hunt!


  1. Christine Kless August 16, 2011 at 5:20 pm - Reply

    GREAT Job Joe! So impressive! LOVE it!

  2. Carole Lassak August 17, 2011 at 4:35 am - Reply

    This project is outstanding!! Love your little art mannequin. I hope all the folks in the Columbus area can get to Archiver's to cast their vote for your entry.

  3. Margie August 21, 2011 at 9:15 am - Reply

    Hey Joe. Your tray has had a lot of ooo's and aahh's at it in the store! People have hung around looking for as many games as they can find after I told them the theme and game to your tray. I hope that turns into a lot of votes for you!


    • Joe Rotella August 21, 2011 at 9:19 am - Reply

      Oh cool!! I really wanted to make something "interactive" and have folks get in to playing the game (since the project really is a game – a guessing game!). I hope you're right about the votes – my fingers are crossed!!!

  4. Joe Morgan August 25, 2011 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    The tray is so cool! I can't wait to hang it on the wall somewhere. I am so glad that my daughter Elphaba Kitty's picture made it into your finished project! Green eyes and all! 🙂

  5. kari September 5, 2011 at 6:16 am - Reply

    So much Fun!

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