Felt Activity Board {tutorial}

Christmas is coming! The goose is getting fat and the crafters are getting frantic... If you need a cheap and easy craft for the toddler in your life, this felt activity board might be just the thing:

 The same style as the felt game board, the activity board is geared to the younger set and features shapes and colors: matching on one side and a playmat on the other*. It also goes together MUCH more quickly -- once you have the pieces cut out, assembling the board takes around an hour.

Work on matching and fine motor skills by buttoning the matching shapes and/or letter(s):

And then engage in creative play by adding windows and door(s) to your house:

Store the pieces in the large button-closure pockets, and roll up the board for easy on-the-go playing (and learning) -- and hopefully a peaceful trip and waiting-room session. :)

 *The matching side can also easily be made into a tic-tac-toe board like on the game board for an older, but not quite ready for checkers, child. And of course you could also change the playmat to feature whatever you wanted.

Felt Activity Board
for personal, non-commercial use only

Since this board is a simplified (yes, I managed to simplify something!) and restyled version of the game board, I didn't take pictures of some of the simpler, more self-explanatory steps. If you have questions, ask me or check the picture-heavy game board tutorial. :)

What you'll need:
  • felt yardage in green, blue, and one other color (I used gray), cut to these dimensions (one each) for the activity board base:
    • green: 12"x7", with one 12" edge cut jagged or pinked for the grass
    • blue: 12"x20"
    • other color: 12"x20" and 3"x12"
    • any color: 2 - 3"x12" strips for the straps
  • felt sheets or scraps in 9+ colors (for the shapes and house/windows)
  • 2 - 2" pieces of sew-in hook and loop tape (velcro)
  • appx 1/3 yard of fusible web, like WonderUnder or HeatNBond
  • 13 buttons (9 for matching, 4 for the pockets)
  • Puffy fabric paint for the window frames and doorknob(s)
  • freezer paper (optional but phenomenal!)
  • printed pieces pattern
  • sewing supplies: iron, sewing machine, needle and thread

What you'll do:

Prepare the pieces

1. Print the pieces. There are two pages of matching shapes (8 shapes) and two pages of shapes for the house.

2. Make the pattern for your letter piece (mine is the first letter of the recipient's name) by typing the letter into your word processing program. You'll want a nice fat font, as square as possible, and a letter about 2.5 inches tall -- my S is a font called Boris Black Bloxx (available free here on dafont.com) and 275 pt in size.

3. Print two copies of your letter piece: one regular and one mirror-image reversed (flip the page when you print it... or you can just trace it backward here in a couple of steps. The letter definitely needs to be flipped, though, or you will definitely confuse your child. :)  

4. Trace your pieces onto the fusible web and freezer paper:
  • Trace one set of matching shapes and the mirror-image letter on the fusible web (the papery side).
  • Trace one set of matching shapes and the regular letter on freezer paper (or just on the felt if you aren't using freezer paper).
  • Trace the window and door shapes on freezer paper (or just on the felt).
  • Trace the other house pieces (the roof, the tree and the tree trunk) on the fusible web.
  • Draw a 6.5"x7" rectangle on the fusible web to become the house.
  • Draw a 4"x12" rectangle on the fusible web to anchor the grass... that will make sense in a minute, I promise. :)
5. Cut out the traced pieces and iron them to the following colors of felt:
  • tree: green
  • tree trunk: brown
  • roof: any color other than blue
  • house (6.5"x7" rectangle): any color other than blue or green
  • grass (4"x12" rectangle): top edge (the jagged or pinked edge) of the green 7"x12" felt piece, like this:
  • shapes and letter: 9 different colors that aren't the color you chose for the "other" color when you cut your felt yardage. Just be sure that you iron the fusible web version and the freezer paper version of the same shapes to the same colors of felt so they match:
  • windows and doors: any colors other than the colors you chose for the house and roof.

When using fusible web and freezer paper with felt, I use the wool setting on my iron and moderate steam for about 15 seconds (sometimes more). Most people also suggest that you use a press cloth, but I am too lazy for that. :)

6. Cut out the felt shapes. If you want more than one door or multiples of a window shape (you know, so the house's "face" can be symmetrical), just peel the freezer paper off and iron it to another color of felt -- freezer paper is reusable like that! *love*

7. Peel the paper carefully from the fusible web shapes and the freezer paper from the other shapes.

8. Paint the doorknob(s) and window frames/dividers with the puffy fabric paint. Let the paint dry VERY well.

9. Cut a buttonhole in the center of each of the shapes/letter that you traced on the freezer paper (not the ones with the fusible web). Keep the buttonhole as small as possible given your button size.

Make the house playmat
1. Fold one of the 12" edges of the blue felt  up 4 inches and sew along either side to form the pocket:

2. Place the green grass piece so that it overlaps the pocket, with the fusible web part above the pocket and the lower section over the pocket to become the pocket flap.

3. Iron the fusible web section (the top, by the jagged edge) and then sew a horizontal line just below the fusible web to secure the flap for the pocket.

4. Iron and sew the house base and tree trunk

5. Iron and sew the roof and the tree.

6. Trim the corners of the flap to diagonal and cut two buttonholes in the flap.

7. Sew two buttons to the front of the pocket, lining them up with your buttonholes.

Make the matching board
If you are subbing tic-tac-toe for matching, please see the note at the end of this section.

1. Fold one of the 12" edges of the "other" felt up 4 inches and sew both edges to form the pocket:

2. Place the remaining piece of "other" felt with the top edge about half an inch above the top of the pocket and the rest overlapping the pocket.

3. Sew a horizontal line across the top edge of the rectangle to secure the flap for the pocket.

4. Iron and then sew the fusible web shapes to the upper portion (the remaining 12" square above the pocket) of the "other" felt:

5. Sew a button in the center of each shape, being sure that the button location matches the buttonhole location in the matching free-floating shape.

6. Trim the corners of the flap to diagonal and cut two buttonholes in the flap.

7. Sew two buttons to the front of the pocket.

If you are subbing the tic tac toe board for the matching...
Read the instructions for the tic tac toe board here and adjust them to the activity board. This basically means you'll...

Assemble the activity board
1. Make and decorate the two straps following the instructions in the "Make and decorate the straps" section of the game board tutorial.

2. Place the playmat and the matching board back to back, lining up the pockets at the bottom.

3. Sandwich the ends of the straps at the top, between the two sides of the board.The loop velcro pieces (the softer pieces) should be toward the side of the board that you want to show on the outside when rolled up.

4. Sew across the top of the board-strap sandwich to secure the straps and then around the edges of the board to attach the two sides of the board to each other.

5. Place the pieces in their storage pockets, roll up the board and secure the straps, and vamoose!

Have a very merry Christmas!


Brandy@YDK said...

very cool! love them. now if I would just do it.

Jocelyn Christensen said...

Frantic crafter reporting for duty!!! :)

Gwen @ Gwenny Penny said...

This is so adorable! I love the house with the windows and the doors. So creative. Love it!

Tricia said...

Great idea Lu. I am hoping for a second wind, to help me through the rest of my Christmas crafting.

Debra said...

Have I told you how much Sofie loves this! We play with it almost every day. She can get all the matches right now on that side of the game board and loves to put the doors in the roof of the other side. :) The words, "Ruf Door, ha ha, Sofie so funny." Usually come sometime during playtime.

So.... where did you get your felt for this. We have misplaced the green star and I was going to make a replacement and wanted to match as close as possible.....

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