When I wanted to make a felt board I went straight to the internet and found beautiful pictures and examples from Martha Stewart and a whole bunch of other craft sites from super moms and super crafters, that I could never hope to come even close to making. Most involved glueing felt to a board then cutting, nailing, and painting wooden trim to make a frame. Then came the extensive cutting and glueing of felt shapes. Way too much work for me. I consider myself crafty, but I am definitely NOT handy.
I even looked up buying the felt pieces already made, but they cost too much money. Then I realized there was a better option…a rollaway felt mat which is perfect for my small storage options, and if you make a smaller mat it’s great to take in the car, on trips to Nana’s, even to a restaurant. As for the felt pieces to go on the mat, I found that using iron-on transfer printer paper makes felt shapes that look store bought….but take only minutes to make.
Here’s what you will need:
- large piece of felt (available at fabric stores by the metre/yard)
- white felt
- iron-on transfer sheets
From any local fabric store you should be able to buy felt by the yard or metre. If you can’t then don’t worry, even the WalMart sells sets of felt sheets, about 8 x 11″ each. They may be smaller, but they still do the job, and you can put several side by side, or give each child their own to play with. You can pick any size you want because you won’t be putting it on any board, just laying it out and rolling it up. Flannel will also work for the mat, though it isn’t as thick. Consider using an old baby blanket, I know my linen cupboard is sagging under the weight of them after two children.
I found pictures on the web using Google images of various shapes that I thought I could use on a felt board, and copied them onto a document in MS Word.
Some good ones to do are:
- fairy tales like the Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, etc.
- characters from favourite books or tv shows
All you have to do from there is print your document on an iron-on transfer sheet. Follow the instructions that came with your iron-on sheets to transfer them onto a piece of white felt. Remember that the felt itself does not react well to being touched by the iron, so make sure to keep the iron on the paper backing.
When the felt has cooled, cut the shapes out and place them into small labelled tupperware boxes, (I love the lock and lock boxes). When you want to use the felt mat, roll it out and place it anywhere, the felt will allow you to place it on the carpet, an upright sofa cushion, the back of a car seat, etc. When you’re done, roll it up. You can even leave the felt pieces inside the rolled up mat and they won’t move.
Some neat ideas I’ve done that the kids have loved are to make felt sets of stories that they like, my kids love Little Rabbit Foo Foo. I’ve also made felt sets of the kids faces. The smaller kids love to tell me who each person is, and the older kids like to use them to make up stories, or insert themselves into their favourite stories. Imagine Paige as Little Red Riding Hood, telling the big bad wolf what big eyes he has. Hours of entertainment, I promise.