December 30, 2014

A Play Mat DIY for the Kids! Pond, Farm, School

I've had a 10 day break from blogging... man how time flies when you're sick, then busy catching up after being sick, cooking, cleaning, shopping, wrapping, etc.

In between, I made some time to finish up a play mat that I was making for Dave's grandkids. It was just felt, glue, and occasionally some embroidery floss, so it went together pretty quickly and easily, and I love the way it turned out!

There are so many places online where you can find inspiration if you'd like to make your own felt play mat. Pinterest is always a great source, and so is Google Images. Some are incredibly elaborate, and some are simple.

Be warned that once you start, it's really hard to stop! I kept thinking, "Just one more..." and "I should add a..." Anyhow, keep reading to see more how it all came together when it was done.

I bought lots of different colors of felt at the fabric store. A full yard of soft gray was the base of the play blanket, with a black "road" going all around the edges. Once I decided how large I wanted it to be and the basic layout, I started cutting out the little bits and bobs, one at a time.

The first thing that I did was the two "ponds", the cattails, and the little frogs. The lilypads are little pockets that the frogs can be tucked into and removed for play.

The barn was SO much fun to make. I started with the basic barn, but wanted the little animals tucked inside, so I made the cows, chick, and piggie - all are about the size of my thumb. Later, I made the larger animals. The eyes and nostrils are french knots made with embroidery floss, and I did a quick stitch around the edge of many of the animals that were stuffed with batting, but the rest is all felt and glue.

Speaking of glue... I started with craft glue. I can't remember the brand, but it came in a gold-ish sort of squeeze bottle with a white cap and white lettering. It worked ok, but seeped through the felt and didn't dry clear, so I wasn't exactly thrilled with it. I decided to grab my hot glue gun and it worked AMAZING! Yes, I burned my fingers, but it made everything so easy that I highly recommend it!

Behind the barn is a garden, and on the road next to the garden you might notice the pac-man. It's because on highway 55 between Minneapolis and Buffalo, MN (where the recipients of the gift live) there is a highway safety project and there are DOTS painted on the road. Someone painted a very large pac-man on the highway and I have always thought it was hilarious!

Houses were basically squares and rectangles with roofs, doors and windows. Trees and shrubs filled in the gaps. They were glued to the gray felt. The cars were made two-sided and were stuffed with a bit of batting to make them soft.

The schoolhouse was one of the last things that I made, and unfortunately it looks a bit WONKY - as does the bus. Oh well... the kids liked it!

I put batting in the tree and made two little stuffed owls with nests in the weeds. 

On the back of the mat, I placed a little label to let them know that Grandpa Dave and Teri love them lots!

Both Huds and Harp liked it right away. It made me remember back when my boys were little and they had a rug with a road and buildings on it that they played with for hours on end!

I hope that they enjoy playing with their new, soft playmat - and I hope they have as much fun playing with it as I had making it. ;)

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