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Monday, August 20, 2012

Travel Felt Board Tutorial: Kicking off the Back To School Event!

Welcome to my Back to School Event! 
I'm so excited for these next couple of weeks. Today marks our first day of kindergarten at my school and the beginning of a lot of great school themed projects for you! Enjoy and grab the button on my sidebar to spread the word!
I'm kicking off this week with one of my favorite projects: a TRAVEL Felt Board. 
For those of you who have never heard of felt boards, they are wonderful, magical story telling tools for children. Most times, you'l see flannel mounted on bulletin boards or easels and the kids use felt pieces to either tell a familiar story or to just play. I made my felt board into one that travels so that the kindergarteners in my classroom can take it anywhere around the room and use it. If you're not a teacher, you could make one for your child and let them take it to the doctor's office, in the car, etc.  
 All the pieces fold up nicely inside. They stay inside pretty easily since the felt adheres naturally to the flannel. 
 This travel felt board unfolds and when you flip it backwards the insides become the outside and you form a little easel by attaching the velcro to each other on the inside. The velcro keeps the easel in place and the handles lay nicely inside. 
This picture kind of shows you how the velcro goes together. The velcro on the right is already put together and the velcro on the left is what it looks like before it's put together. When you fold it back against itself, just line the velcro up end to end. That length of stuck together velcro keeps the easel from falling. When you're ready to pack up, unstick the velcro, fold it down against the blue flannel part  and just close everything inside.
 Once you've got your easel set up, then your child can get to telling their story!

Any parent or teacher can probably tell what story I used to make my felt board pieces with, right?  Chicka Chicka Boom Boom! (If not, you should totally by this book right now. ) 
"A told B and B told C, I'll meet you at the top of the coconut tree!" I may, or may not, have that entire book memorized. You can also get this book on CD/cassette and have the kids listen to it while they tell the story. It also comes on DVD. So fun.

All my felt pieces were cut free handed and sewed together. You could also use embroidery floss and stitch them by hand. All the letters were done with two pieces of felt to ensure durability. The details on the tree were stitched on the machine as well. I just love those coconuts.
 I (obviously) did not stress about the letters being perfect. I tend to like things like this to have a little character. You could of course trace the letters from templates (or use a fancy die cutting machine) and pin them as you sew so they are a little more precise.
 And here's another cool part. The board is two-sided. So you could have two kids working at once on their own side! 
Want to make your own Travel Felt Board? OK! 
Materials Needed:
2 pieces of main fabric (bird and flower print on mine) 10 1/2" x21" for the outside portion of felt board
1 piece of coordinating fabric (orange dot on mine) 10"x21"
1 piece of  piece quilting batting 30"x 21" for the outside portion of felt board
2 pieces of quilting batting 2"x18" for straps
2 pieces of coordinating fabric (orange dot) 6"x18" for straps
1 piece of muslin fabric (or any fabric you don't care about since it won't be seen)  30"x 21" to use as the "quilt backing" for the outside portion of felt board
Foam core board (20"x30") cut into two pieces
4 pieces (2 scratchy, 2 fuzzy) of 1" velcro 13" long each.
Sewing essentials
Various colors of felt to make the pieces and coordinating thread 
(or contrasting embroidery floss if you want to do some fancy stitching by hand)

First, piece together and then quilt your outside fabric. 
Sorry I didn't take pictures of this part, really. I pieced together two rectangles of main fabric and the rectangle of coordinating fabric together with the coordinating fabric in the middle, using a quarter inch inseam. This long piece will be the entire portion of the outside of your felt board (both sides). When it is folded that coordinating fabric in the middle will be the band at the bottom. 

Once the fabrics are pieced together, lay down the muslin fabric, then the quilt batting, then the pieced outside fabric on top. PIN WELL! :) To quilt, I just sewed straight vertical lines every two inches apart as shown below. 
Here is a GREAT post about quilting if you have never quilted anything before. It should clarify any questions you have about this part of the tutorial :)

After your outside fabric is quilted, set aside for now. 
Next, make the straps.
First, fold your 6"x 18" strap piece half and press. Then, unfold it and fold one end in to the center line that you just made and press. Then fold the other side in and press. 
I wanted my straps to be cushy so I added batting to each one. Open up the folded portions you just made and place the 2"x18" strip of batting inside. Fold the fabric back up again. Then fold it on again (like in the middle picture above) so that you have two folds placed together on one side and one fold on the other. Sew (very close to the edge) down both sides of your strap. 
To give this strap a quilted look as well, sew two more lines down the middle of the strap, spaced evenly apart. Use the previous lines you sewed as guides.

Repeat for next strap. 
Next, add the velcro and straps. 
 Pin the velcro about 3 1/2 inches from each side on each end with the end lined up to the edge and the rest of the velcro facing in. Here's the important part: the velcro you pin to the bottom (one short end) of the fabric needs to be fuzzy side UP. The velcro you pin to the top (other short end) needs to be scratchy side DOWN. 
 Sew a square and an x on each end of your velcro. 
 Pin your straps to the edges of the fabric and line them up right inside the velcro (as shown above).
Next, sew the flannel on! 
 With your straps pinned inward and velcro already sewed on, pin your flannel (there is no wrong or right side) on top of the right side of your fabric. Sew around 3 EDGES. Leave one long side OPEN. 
 Turn right side out and press. The above picture shows what it will look like on both sides of your flannel board now. Then top stitch (no picture, sorry) along the sides that are already sewn. (Not the side that is still open.)
Finally, insert foam core pieces and sew into place.
 Open up the two layers and slip in both pieces of foam core. You can see on the edges of my foam core I used duct tape to give make the edges clean. When you cut it in half it is kind of jagged. You can also see that there is a gap between my two pieces of foam core in the middle. You want a large enough gap for the foam pieces to fold easily onto one another, but not so large that the easel moves around too much. My gap actually ended up being too big, but it still turned out ok. 

Using a zipper foot (to get over the foam core) sew a few lines down the middle of the two fabrics stopping at the edge of the foam core (no picture, sorry.) Sew one line close to each edge of foam core and then one or two in the middle (the middle lines are more for looks than anything). 
 To sew up the ends of the board, fold the flannel and fabric under and pin. Use your zipper foot to sew the end up. 

And you're done! 
 You can take it with you anywhere...
 And tell a story. 
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!

Be sure to stop back by tomorrow and the rest of the week for more Back to School fun from me and some of my favorite guest bloggers!! 

I will be linking this post to the parties on my sidebar.


July said...

what a pretty idea! big thanks for tutorial! I try to do it for my children. I enjoy your fairy blog!

Nat and Holly said...

Darling Allie!! This is one of our favorite books :) Love all the felt letters and the travel board is such a great idea. Can't wait for the rest of this series!

Jenni said...

Really cute! I used to make felt storyboards for our local librarian. This will be a great project for Christmas presents for the nieces and nephews. Thanks for the reminder!

Ana Love Craft said...

Hi Allie,

This is an absolutely brilliant idea!!! Thanks so much for sharing.
Have a look at my blog I’ll be so glad.

Hugs from Portugal

Ana Love Craft

Christie said...

This is so cute, you did an amazing job!!

Misty @Creative Itch said...

What a fun idea! I'm definitely pinning this!

I'll be featuring you @'Sew Cute Tuesday' on 8/28. Thanks for linking up such a great project!

Liz said...

Wow, that's a great idea!

The Educators Spin On It said...

This is such an adorable idea! I think every childhood needs to have a felt board and this just made it so much more fun. Pinned this onto our sewing board.

Anna said...

This is really cute! I LOVE felt crafts!

Visiting from Show & Tell Saturday. :)


Rebecca said...

This is such a cute idea! My toddler would LOVE this :)

Diana @ Red Delicious Life said...

Can't wait to try this for my son! One question though - in the list of supplies, I don't actually see any flannel listed - what size piece did you use?

jade said...

Insiders tell me that visiting preachers at mega churches will earn up to $3000 for a Sunday morning sermon, מלונות בחו"ל

Mary Ann said...

Im not sure why the velcro strips are under the flannel board fabric ?

Mary Ann

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