First it should be understood that this section is not intended to be a comprehensive listing of all of the materials and objects in the game that may be and are used as construction materials -- it is instead meant to serve as a means for highlighting specific, common, and uncommon items and objects that are used as construction materials.
The world of Minecraft relies upon square shapes for its basic building system, utilizing a graphical approach that is quite dated but is, nonetheless, appropriate for the game. We acknowledge that in addition to being a creative design element in its own right, the use of 2D block structures may certainly be considered as an homage to the early age of video game design and play -- what might be fairly thought of as its Golden Age -- and in its simplicity it also attains a level of gracefulness that is certainly no accident.
A variety of materials can be used in building your home - as shown here!
The world of Minecraft is square, largely takes the form of blocks and combinations of blocks, and as these blocks come in so very wide a variety of substances and materials, each having different characteristics to them such as hardness that resists explosive forces, or a nature that resists fire -- while they each enjoy a certain similarity in their visual impact are, by their nature, unique. Their use as the very building blocks of the world mean that the details inherent to each, including their shared characteristics, makes the knowledge of how to obtain and/or create them a very important part of playing the game.
The following comprises a selection of the different building materials with an eye towards helping the player to become familiar with each and, even more important, the listings here are intended to encourage the player to obtain, craft, and use them individually and together, as creatively as possible, so that they may become the elements of your fantasy world effectively and with great satisfaction!
The Brick Blocks Recipe
-- Brick Blocks
Constructed from Bricks, which are made by firing Clay Balls in your Furnace, Brick Blocks are generally considered to be a refined and nice looking material with which to build houses, towers, and other constructs in cities and polished player Strongholds.
Thanks to their natural resistance to heat and fire, another common use for Brick Blocks is for the construction of Fireplaces that are placed inside buildings -- Brick Blocks being the ideal material for constructing fireplaces in wooden buildings since they are fireproof. We have also seen their use outside for creating cleverly disguised Furnaces in the form of bar-b-q ovens...
The Clay Blocks Recipe
-- Clay Blocks
Clay is commonly found a the bottoms of rivers and lakes in shallow, circular patches, in desert areas near sand and water, and Swamp Biomes. They appear visually different from Sand and Dirt (also commonly found around Water Blocks) by their very distinctive purple hue though this can be difficult to distinguish when under the water surface...
Clay Blocks are crafted by combining four Clay Balls in a block shape. Since a Clay Block can be broken into four Clay Balls, crafting Clay Balls into Clay Blocks is considered to be the ideal manner to store the Balls, as they can later be recovered by placing a Clay Block and destroying it.
Of anecdotal interest, it may amuse you to learn that the most common cause for death by drowning happens while players are under water trying to mine Clay -- mining while under the water's surface -- even when using a tool -- requires a massively large amount of hit to accomplish, which is why players who are not paying attention to their oxygen supply end up dead. Veteran players who are intent upon harvesting Clay to make bricks with tend to use caissons for that activity rather than battling the water itself.
The Clay Brick Recipe
-- Clay Bricks
Clay Bricks are created by placing Clay Balls into the Furnace and firing them. Four Clay Bricks can then be combined to make a Brick Block, which presents visually as the traditional red brick used as a building material. In fact since the single Clay Brick cannot be used directly for building anything in the game other than a Clay Block, most players consider the process of creating Clay Bricks to be a natural step of the crafting of Brick Blocks, which is why you rarely see stacks of Clay Bricks in most player storage boxes.
An obvious benefit and value for Clay Bricks is their traditional appearance -- which is characteristic of affluence and is traditionally used in the construction of fireplaces, bar-b-q's and red brick buildings (of course). A helpful note to players who like the idea of a brick fireplace in their wooden building (or even in a stone one if there is wood or wooden items nearby) is that, like Lava, heat in the world of Minecraft has an effective range of four blocks distance, so anything made of Wood or Wool could theoretically burst into flames!
When using Clay Brick Blocks to build a fireplace be sure that the hearth and the sides are surrounded by stone (or some other fire-resistant material) for four blocks in each direction (including up).
Obtained from mining Stone Blocks, Cobblestone can be used as a building material as well as a crafting ingredient, and specifically it can be fired into Stone Blocks, which serves as the primary method for the player to acquire a supply of the same... In addition to its use as a building material, Cobblestone is required to craft Brewing Stands, Cobblestone Slabs, Dispensers, Furnaces, Levers, Pistons, Stone Stairs, Stone Tools, and Stone Weapons, and is expected to be included in future recipes as they are added to the game with updates to all platform versions of the game.
While Cobblestone is plentiful in the world, most players consider it SOP to retain a dozen or so full stacks in storage as part of their resource cache for the purposes of crafting items and the creation of Stone Blocks, which are used to create Stone Stairs among other building materials.
The Door Recipe
An obvious and useful element in construction, Doors are the way we protect access to our structures while ensuring easy access to ourselves. Doors come in two varieties: wooden doors made from planks, and iron doors made from iron ingots. Wooden Doors can be opened by clicking on them, but Iron Doors can only be opened by a mechanism such as Levers, Stone Buttons, or Pressure Plates, something that the player should bear in mind when planning out their use.
Doors can be placed either singly, or next to each other to create a double-door. Double Doors can be used as locks for canals, allowing the player to move boats up and down inclines, and when placed horizontally, doors can be used to create drawbridge-like facilities to bridge the gap in moats and for the construction of elevated bridges. More information can be had about the use of metal doors in construction in the automation section of the guide.
The Glass Block Recipe
-- Glass Blocks
Created by firing Sand in your Furnace, while the Glass Block numbers among the weakest of the building blocks (a Creeper Explosion will really do a number on it) that weakness is compensated for by the fact that mobs cannot see you or track you through one -- and when they are used as flooring mobs cannot spawn in them.
Glass Blocks are widely used for Windows but they also make great skylights!
The Glass Pane Recipe
-- Glass Pane
Similar to the Glass Block, the difference is that the Glass Pane is basically a sheet of glass rather than a block, thus making it more appropriate and more elegant for use as a window in your structures, while the Glass Block still holds its place as the preferred building block for skylights and building with glass.
The recipe for the Glass Pane is six Glass Blocks placed in the bottom and middle rows of the Crafting Table window.
The Gold Blocks Recipe
-- Gold Blocks
You may find it odd to see Gold Blocks included here, but bear in mind that a block is a block, and veteran players with high-hour rates in a map can easily find themselves possessing enough gold in its various forms to tempt them into using it as part of the decoration of their home. In fact using these in combination with Lapis Lazuli Blocks can make interesting patterns on floors and ceilings, and can attain very attractive results.
Gold Blocks are crafted by placing 9 gold ingots in a crafting grid, making this an expensive building material at least with respect to the amount of effort that is required in acquiring it. Another way of looking at it though is that the Gold Blocks you decorate with are actually potentially 9 Gold Ingots each, since they can be deconstructed back into ingots again.
Bear in mind that mining of Gold Blocks must be done with an Iron Pickaxe or higher in order to recover its contents -- otherwise you lose all of the contents -- and cannot be accomplished with Gold tools...
The Iron Bars Recipe
-- Iron Bars
If you have spent much time in enemy strongholds then Iron Bars should be a fairly familiar sight to you, but if not then you should probably know that they are used to (and serve pretty much the same purpose as) provide the functions of a fence but in a more sinister form. They are often used in place of Glass Blocks to blcok the opening in windows so that light can get in (and you can see out, but not without clearly understanding that you are being blocked.
The recipe for Iron Bars requires six Iron Ingots, and in addition to being useful in much the same places as the wooden counterparts are admittedly very good at appearing sinister!
Iron Bars in use appear sinister
The application of Iron Bars in the game world is interesting -- for example as an alternative to Wooden Fences they really do serve the same function, complete with the short braces that extend out of their sides to support objects built beside them -- in the image above the bracing stubs that "support" the Bookshelves means that we never have to worry about them tipping over and crushing us and, while it is not entirely clear if they do serve the dual function of connecting objects for the transfer of power,
The Iron Block Recipe
-- Iron Blocks
While these are not generally considered to be a building material, in fact most players consider the creation of Iron Blocks to be a means for storing large quantities of Iron Ingots since it takes nine of those to make one Iron Block, they can be used in construction if you like, since they do offer a material that is harder than Stone Blocks.
When storing Iron Ingots in Block form, bear in mind that you MUST use a Stone or higher Pickaxe in order to recover the Ingots when breaking the Block, as otherwise the Ingots will be destroyed in the process of attempting to reclaim them...
The Lapis Lazuli Block Recipe
-- Lapis Lazuli Blocks
In addition to being used for the making of blue dyes for Wool, Lapis Lazuli can be mined and then reconstructed in Block format and used as a decorative building block. It is commonly used for making "sky scene" ceilings, and for simulating water inside homes, and of course serves as a form of bulk storage for mined Lapis.
The Pressure Plate Recipe
-- Pressure Plates
A Pressure Plate is a switch that is ideally suited for placement on a floor, stairs, or other flat surface, and can be used to trigger a circuit and operate an object. When the Pressure Plate is connected to a Redstone wire and a triggerable object/device it will close the circuit, sending power to the object when it is stepped on by either the player (for use in secured areas) or a mob (which is useful for triggering traps).
Pressure Plates are popular as a trigger for traps because when the mob steps on the Pressure Plate it activates the killing machine, and once they are dead their weight is removed, shutting the machine off. A properly designed trap triggered by a Pressure Plate should be able to continue to function unattended.
Pressure Plates can be constructed from only Wood and Stone at the present time.
The Slabs Recipe
Constructed from Wood, Cobblestone, Stone, or Brick, Slabs can simpky be thought of as half-height blocks, and in addition to being used for paving patios and fancy floor tiling schemes in homes, are also frequently employed for building wide staircases. The reason that Slabs are often preferred to Stone Stairs in the construction of stairways is that, unlike Stone Stairs which force the player to move slowly while using them, when you create stairways from Slabs they do not prevent you from sprinting up them.
Slabs are made from three resource blocks, and produce three Slabs per crafting operation.
The Stone Block Recipe
-- Stone Blocks
Stone is one of the more useful resources for building int the game, and is mined with a Pickaxe to drop Cobblestone, which is used in many crafting recipes and as a sturdy building material itself. Cobblestone can be recombined (by firing it in a Furnace) to make Stone Blocks.
The Stone Brick Block Recipe
-- Stone Brick Blocks
Crafted by stacking four Stone Blocks in the crafting window, Stone Brick Blocks are one of the best building materials for roads, patios, walkways, and buildings as they have a good resistance to explosions -- particularly Creeper explosions. They are well suited to bridge construction as well, and from an appearance PoV they work very well with Cobblestone Blocks used for contrast.
The Wooden Plank Block Recipe
-- Wooden Plank Blocks
Wooden Planks are obtained by crafting Wood in the Crafting Table, and appear as Blocks when they are used by themselves rather than as part of a crafting recipe. A flammable material, while they are a plentiful building material the fact that they can be set on fire and will burn means care must be taken in its use.
Note that while Wood Blocks and Wooden Plank Blocks CAN be used as fuel, this is not the most efficiently burned fuel, as you will find that Coal and Charcoal make for better and more efficient Furnace Fuels.