Kim Becker {aka MommyKnows}
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DIY Felt Play Mat Tutorial (sort of)

in DIY / Tutorials, Family, General

Georgia loves wee plastic animals. She’s an animal nut in general. The Easter Bunny brought her a tube of plastic farm animals (the rabbits getting cheaper and cheaper) and with it was a small plastic play mat. She loved it and call it her map. Unfortunately, it lasted about 2 days.

_KIM5880 copy

It got me thinking about creating a longer lasting version from felt. I searched the internet high and low looking for some ideas, but there is very little out there. I decided to make it up :)

_KIM5877 copy

I started with a very large piece of green felt. I bought this green felt for a girl guide craft (15 years ago) that never came to fruition. I just knew it would eventually come in handy.

Next Georgia and I chatted about what she might like on the ‘map’. She wanted a farm and a jungle, and I had visions of mountains and a lake. I suggested some highways, she wanted dirt roads.

Felt Play Mat Tutorial

I drew a rough version on brown paper and then drew some rough paper templates. As you can see you don’t need to get fancy!

I cut out all of the shapes in felt. I have a bunch 8.5×11 sheets of felt from Michaels and the Dollar store around to use for most of the shapes, but not the right colours for my mountains. I was determined that this ‘map’ wouldn’t cost anything, so I used some felted sweaters that I had left over from a previous craft project for the mountains.

The mountains were created using large blocks of colour. I cut out the various pieces and then pinned and sewed them together using a LARGE ziz-zag stitch.

making mountains

I wanted the barn to be a uniform shape, but didn’t have a pattern. I drew a 1/2 barn and then folded over a piece of fabric and cut on the fold. Tada … a symetrical shape.

barn for felt play mat

Green triangles make great spruce trees.

Felt Play Mat Tutorial

I wanted the roads and rivers to be a uniform width, but I didn’t want them to be just straight lines. I taped two sharpies to either side of a cordless screwdriver and then drew out strips of road and river on brown and blue fabric. A girls gotta do, what a girls gotta do.

making roads

Once all of the shapes were cut out, we played around with placement for awhile, once satisfied I started sewing pieces together starting with the rivers, then the roads.

Felt Play Mat Tutorial

Georgia especially loves to play farm, I wanted the scenery to be somewhat similar to our Alberta landscape, and if you’ve ever flown over the Alberta prairie it’s like flying over a patchwork quilt in browns and greens and golds. I used several pieces of scrap felt and one flowered fabric to try and replicate that behind the farm.

Once all the features were sewed together I started sewing them down on the large green backing. I started with the rivers again, then the roads and lakes and then the finishing shapes. I sewed the mountains on last. Most the the features were sewn with the machine using a zigzag stitch but some of the shapes (trees and barn) are beyond my sewing ability and I used liquid stitch and then sewed them on by hand.

_KIM5873 copy

I decided to put a backing and because I had so much green felt left over I decided to use that. At this point I realised that neither of the pieces (front or back) was square. The edges weren’t lining up very well … (CRAP)! I decided that rather than trying to make a perfectly square lines, I’d just sew the two sides together free hand and then trim the edges with pinking shears.

It worked.

_KIM5877 copy

Georgia loves the finished ‘map’.

_KIM5882 copy

MK xo
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19 comments… add one

  • Safire April 10, 2010, 5:18 am

    What a cute idea! You are so crafty. :)
    .-= Safire´s last blog ..Give Me Your Best Shot- Park =-.

  • Christine L. April 10, 2010, 6:37 am

    That’s brilliant!! Great job!!

  • Ashley April 10, 2010, 7:50 am

    Excellent, once again. Your craftiness astounds me, especially the sewing part. I always leave here feeling inspired to sew, then I remember that I can’t sew a straight line to save my life, it’s all crooked and aweful.

  • lace April 10, 2010, 2:50 pm

    What a great map. It’s much bigger than I originally thought.

    My girls would love this.
    .-= lace´s last blog ..Dam, Who Lives Here? =-.

  • Nikki April 10, 2010, 8:19 pm

    So cute MK and you definitely get the dedicated Mom award – seriously you are amazing!

  • Heather April 12, 2010, 3:10 pm

    Thank you for the inspiration. I feel a craft project for us ladies to do this weekend. A prarie, farm landscap…or maybe one of our little village and the lake near by.

  • Leslie April 12, 2010, 9:41 pm

    oh my gosh this is so cute. I thought that you could have put a different map on the other side. just a thought

  • Winter Honeymoons April 12, 2010, 11:18 pm

    This is a great article! Thank you for sharing your experience with us.
    I think that what you’re doing is great. All that matters is that you are comfortable with the situation, happy with what you’re doing, and comfortable with the risks involved. Like many others said, the networking opportunities presented with these jobs is probably worth the time & money you’ve invested.

  • tracey April 14, 2010, 10:49 am

    thanks for the tutorial.. the kids will love this and the best part I will enjoy just the time with the kids without tv.

  • leslie April 15, 2010, 1:07 pm

    Very cool Kim!!!!

  • Jessica April 16, 2010, 1:46 pm

    Kim this is such a good idea! My cousins would love something like this. Very clever :)

  • Michelle April 19, 2010, 12:59 pm

    What a great map. It’s much bigger than I originally thought.

    My girls would love this.
    .-= lace´s last blog ..Dam, Who Lives Here? =-.

  • Mommy D April 19, 2010, 9:16 pm

    I wish I were as crafty as you are. I just don’t have the eye for detail to come up with things like this. Thanks for the tutorial. I’m gonna look like a supermom to my 3 yr old son when I make this for him!

    Mommy D

  • Wyatt Meares April 22, 2010, 8:29 pm

    This is such a neat idea! Your kid is lucky to have you. I’d go try this for my sister’s kids. Thanks!

  • Amy April 22, 2010, 8:48 pm

    Kim this is such a good idea! My cousins would love something like this. Very clever :)

  • elite marketing tampa April 23, 2010, 12:36 am

    Thanks for sharing this great and inspiring idea! This is something that you can do with your kid and bring out his/her imagination. You’re truly one gifted person!
    .-= elite marketing tampa´s last blog ..So What The Heck Is SEO Anyway? =-.

  • PHP programmer May 7, 2010, 5:16 am

    what a greate crafting idea….
    i appreciate it…….
    very good….

  • Jannie Reichart August 8, 2010, 9:57 am

    This blog post is precious, I deeply liked it, I will be back for much more!

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