Friday, December 19, 2014

Felt Play Mats

Whew! It has been a busy crafting season for us! But it was all worth it! I love when children open their gifts and are surprised to see what they find (not many people I know actually make gifts) and then create fun ways to play with them! So I am very excited to see how the children react to their presents. Here are some more of our felt play mats (you can see our last batch of felt play mats here).

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. 

The last few felt play mats you saw that were only half complete came together really well. For this dinosaur world play mat, I added a sort of mud slide/swamp/rocky area in one corner. I made this by layering brown felt, gradually getting smaller as they get closer to the top. I needle felted them in place (yes, you can needle felt sheets of felt!) and then sewed Fun Fur Lime Green Yarn around the edge. If I could change one thing, I wouldn't have sewn the yarn all the way around and simply stopped at the edge of the felt.

I wanted to add a volcano to this play mat, but I wanted it to be removable as well, so I did not sew or needle felt it to the play mat. I used the same pattern from our felt teepees, and just sewed completely up the edge, instead of cutting a hole for the door and leaving space for flaps. The stitches were on the inside, but you could still see the line. So I got out red, orange and yellow Wool Roving and my needle felting supplies (Dimensions Single Needle Felting Tool and Foam Block). Sadly I was too focused on making the lava flow that I completely forgot to take pictures! I needle felted the red right down into the top of the volcano, so you can see where it is spilling out. I'm still new to needle felting, so it probably looks terrible to experts, but my 4 year old cousin loved it!

These dinosaurs look right at home!

Best part about leaving the bottom open - letting dinos hide inside or poke their head out of the top!

Here is Bean's play mat. It turns out the first two play mats I made became their favorites and couldn't part with them. :) Bean requested that I add a cave to this one. I cut out an oval shape and cut it in half (using the other half for another cave) and needle felted the edges to the felt bottom.

Then I added brown wool roving around the edge and a mix of dark green and light green wool roving across the top of the cave.

The green wool roving wraps around the edge in some places and was needle felted to the top of the cave wall.

Bean loves it! She loves hoping her toys across the rocks, stopping at the flower patch (french knots using embroidery thread), taking a quick nap in the cave, or visiting the mossy area to take a sip at the fresh spring.

I also added some needle felted parts to Munchkin's felt play mat. There was already a patch of flowers, so I just added some green and brown around the base of the cave.

He loves that you can see through the cave! Little animals can escape out the back if a big, hungry animal walks by (his observation).

Probably the hardest felt play mat to design and make was the Frozen inspired one. I debated between making a scene from the coronation dance hall, but most of the movie was spent outside on a snowy mountain, so I went with the mountain.

I found a picture online and drew my inspiration from it. I added needle felted clouds around the mountain, which was a dark grey color. I cut out two snowy mountains in the distance. I needle felted two green trees with snow on them near the bottom of the grey mountain. I tried to layer the snow/mountains around the big grey mountain to make it look like it was more in the distance... Not really sure how I feel about it, but it looks fine enough. I basically wanted the characters to be able to stand on that slopping hill and be able to "look up" and see Elsa and the ice castle.

Last but not least I had to create the castle. I reallllly wanted to painted details to the castle, but I was afraid of messing it up, so I kept it a plain light blue. Glitter felt would have been awesome to use for the castle, but there was none available at any of my local craft stores. Oh well. I also made a handful of felt board stickers (laminate the sticker, cut around the edge, glue to a piece of felt and cut around the edge - ta da!) to go with this play mat. The characters were Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Sven, and Olaf. I made sure to choose an Elsa that was using her ice powers.

Next was the second Marvel City felt board. This one I focused on making big city buildings. I also decided to try using glue instead of sewing. Elmer's Craft Bond Glue works wonderfully on felt and it's the only glue I use for my felt crafts. I only wish the windows were more uniform, but at least they look like comic book style buildings. This felt play mat can also be rolled up (another great feature of the craft bond glue - it's flexible!).

I also made two new batches of felt board stickers (directions on how to make them). For this batch I used red felt for the good guys and blue felt for the bad guys.

You can store them in a ziploc, a lunchbox (we use a Spider-Man lunch box for hours - it's full to bursting!) or a small tray. Or use whatever type of container you typically use to store your felt board pieces.

Here's my progress on the other Marvel city felt play mat. I added a street, three buildings and some needle felted clouds. And yeah. That is an orange sun. It will soon be yellow, now that I've gone to the store and picked up three new packs of mixed wool roving. More colors = more options.

I sewed on all of the doors, and I needle felted Dr. Strange's window. I tried for a psychedelic look, and thankfully the mother of the child who will be receiving this got right away that this was meant to be Dr. Strange's place! Phew. The door knob is also needle felted. The buildings are all slightly tucked under the edge of the road. I will be adding grass trim along this edge, though I haven't yet.

S for strange!

Ignore the cooked egg in the sky. The heroes look right at home! You can see the other buildings in our last update. This play mat is still in the works, so I'll share it again in another post when it is finally finished. :)

I started on this play mat, originally going to make a forest with a road through it. 

And then I scrapped the road and added train tracks and the edge of a pond. 

I needle felted the tracks in place (so much faster than sewing!), and needle felted a grassy patch between the tracks and a sandy shore around the pond. 

These last two play mats were for a pair of sisters. They like animals, especially big cats and monkeys. I paired these play mats with Safari Ltd.'s Wild TOOB and Zoo Babies TOOB, though I had been hoping to find the Big Cats TOOB and Monkeys and Apes TOOB. Sadly I could not find them at any of our local stores. The Wild and Zoo Babies TOOB have monkeys and tigers in them though, so that's why I chose those two.

I used our own Safari Ltd. animals for the pictures, to show you the size. I based this felt play mat off the rivers in China, so hopefully the tigers will like it! I added the fun fur green yarn around the edge of the river for grass.

For the second play mat I added a smaller water area with a grass trim and a big open space for animals to move around.

Hopefully everyone enjoys their play mats! I actually still have 3 more to make for Christmas! 

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