Monday, September 9, 2013

Mission Countdown Blocks

One day soon after Matt left I received this photo on my phone...
...with the caption, "Project of the week."
Isn't it amazing?!  I love it!  This cute project was made by one of Matt's dear friends and when she sent the photo I asked if she would make me one too  AND would she take photos and do a guest post on my blog.  She said, "YES!!"  So here it is...
 Thanks, Miranda!
Items needed
 4 square blocks
(any size will work; we used 3"x 3" blocks)
base block - cut to fit 3 blocks
(a 2x4, cut to 9 inches worked perfectly for the 3" blocks)
patterned paper - up to six different patterns
(double-sided paper works great)
Mod Podge
(I used a matte finish)
vinyl numbers*
(make sure that the 'six' and the 'nine' are interchangeable with whichever font is used)
vinyl 'saying' for the base*
*paper die cuts could also be used and Mod Podged onto the blocks
Paint the base and all 4 blocks a solid color.
Cut the patterned paper into 24 squares just smaller than the blocks.
(2.75" squares for 3" blocks)
*Mod Podge the paper squares to each side of the block.  Use a couple of coats to make sure the paper won't peel off.  Also coat the base with Mod Podge to seal it.
 *Best way to Mod Podge - check out this video by Addicted2Decorating
Apply the vinyl numbers to the blocks and the saying to the base.
Use the chart above to figure out which numbers to put on which block.
If you're making blocks for a Sister missionary, a quote can be used on one side of the 4th block because they aren't out as many days as the Elders.
Thanks Miranda!
And just to help you keep on track...
check out the free 'Days Left' widget that you can download to your smart phone.
That little tidbit of helpful information also came from Miranda.
Matt has some really great friends...


  1. Where did she get vinyl letters and numbers? This is darling!

  2. Miranda's mom actually owns a vinyl lettering machine so that was helpful. The numbers measure 2" high and the lettering measure 1" (for the capital letters). There are many people who do vinyl lettering but if you can't find anyone you can email me and I'll get you set up. My home email is Glad you like them!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Does she sell these at all? These are the cutest ones I've seen!

  5. Thanks, Heather! I think they are adorable as well. We did one for my niece that had two sides to the "Called to Serve"...the other side said "Until I leave". At the moment Miranda is away from home at college. Where do you live? You could email me at and I could get you additional information or hook you up with the vinyl.

  6. Do you know if the number pattern needs to be the same if I was to do weeks instead of days?

    1. Hi Amy! I just worked this out on will need three blocks:
      Block #1: 1, 3, 2, 8, 7, 5
      Block #2: 0, 9/6, 8, 7, 5, 4
      Block #3: 4, 3, 2, 1, 0, 9/6
      Great idea! Good luck to your missionary!

  7. Shalan,
    I'm making this for my friend that has a son on a mission, but I'm a little confused as to the numbered blocks, you have written down 4 blocks A-D ( each one shows what #'s to put on them) but only show 3 blocks being used. Am I missing something, where is the D block and where do the other numbers go?
    I'm also interested to find out how you calculatedthe #'s on each block, I would love to make this for a christmas count down. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Hi Kristy!
    You need four blocks for the Elders because they are out so many days. It takes that many blocks with numbers on six sides to come up with the right number combinations. I just tuck the fourth block behind the others so it's out of sight until I need it, which is actually more often than you might think.
    As for the Christmas blocks...were you thinking of a countdown for the whole year or just the month of December? If you are thinking of the whole year then make a graph (similar to the one in the photo above) with six columns (representing the six sides of each block) and at least three rows (because we know that the fewest blocks we will need will be three (one for 3, one for 6, and one for 5). Label your rows: A, B, and C...we'll add a D if we need it. Starting on the left write a 3 in the top left, a six on the row below and a 5 on the row below that. Now just start counting down the days adding numbers to the rows as you need them, for example: by the time you've counted down to day 360, row A will have a 3 in the first column and the other columns will still be blank; row B will have a 6 in the first column and the rest of the columns will still be blank; row C will have all of it's columns filled - 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and 0. Just continue counting down from there i.e. the next number would be 359...we have a 3 in row A, we have a 5 in row C but we need a 9 so add that to row B as that's the only block that we still haven't used. Is that about as clear as mud?
    To countdown the whole year until Christmas you will need four blocks:
    Block #1: 3, 6, 8, 7, 6, 2
    Block #2: 6/9, 1, 8, 7, 5, 4
    Block #3: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0
    Block #4: 3, 2, 1, 0, 6 with one side left empty or it could be filled with a quote like 'ho, ho, ho' etc

    To count down the weeks in the year you will need three blocks:
    Block #1: 5, 4, 6/9, 3, 2, with one side left empty or fill with a quote
    Block #2: 2, 1, 0, 9/6, 8, 7
    Block #3: 5, 4, 3, 8, 7, 1
    Hope that helps!

  9. Where did you find your larger blocks? 3 craft stores later and they all only had 2" ones! Thx

  10. Hi!
    You can purchase the wood at The Wood Connection (Layton, Murray, American Fork) for $12.95 (which includes the four blocks and the stand, vinyl lettering is an additional $8.95). They are NOT on their website but you can order the kit and the vinyl lettering by clicking on "contact us" or you can call their 'mother store' (Murray 801-265-2255) and talk to their shipping manager (at the time of posting her name was Lyndsey) and they will ship them to you.

    You can also find them at Wood Creations (Boise, Idaho Falls, Ogden, Taylorsville, St. George, Las Vegas) for $19.99 for a kit (which includes all the wood and the vinyl lettering). The countdown kit is also NOT on their website but you can order them from their 'mother store' (Ogden 801-731-0788) and talk to their shipping manager (at the time of this post her name was Kim).

    You can also find them online: 3x3 blocks; and then you could just cut a scrap piece of 2x4 to 9 inches.
    Hope this helps! Good luck!!!

  11. Thank you!!! I'm trying with the 2inch ones for now. Smaller but not as expensive.
    BUT, are the blocks still "sticky"-ish ? They've been dried all afternoon but still kind of tacky, and I'm worried it will all just stick to the base and rip and make a mess! Shouldn't it be dry and non-tacky after a couple hours? I used matte midge podge

  12. I would definitely wait until they are all the way dry and no longer tacky...maybe the Mod Podge was applied too thick or the humidity might be slowing down the drying time.

  13. I love the font you used in the photos above! Can you share the name of it at least, if not where to obtain it?

  14. The font is Maiandra GD (90 pt on the 'Called to Serve' and 220 pt on the numbers). Hope that helps!