I wrote this post awhile back on my old blog (which is slowly being relocated here). Since then we have been having sooooo much fun making new felt sets for fun and play. And, I have been working on entire sets of felt to go with the Baby Signing Time program for my daughter and for fellow Baby Signing Time instructors. Did you know I’m also a certified Signing Time instructor? More on that another day. 😉
My interest in felt/flannel boards piqued shortly after I became a certified ST instructor. There are about a million different things you can do and teach with felt boards, and the best part about it is that it’s FUN! It’s definitely a “kid tested, mother approved” kind of activity. Both my girls (currently 3 years and 1 year old) really enjoy playing with our felts. My heart melted when Kayden first played with it, she was soooo proud, “Mommy! Look at my picture! Look at my picture!!” She was beaming. =)
There are lots of ways to make a felt board, also called a flannel board. I wanted ours to be durable (cardboard was out), yet lightweight and easy to move around (nix the wood board idea). I settled on an 18″x24″ artist canvas that I picked up at Hobby Lobby. It was $11.99 regular price but of course I had my handy 40% off coupon so I got it for less than $8 with tax. Then I picked up a bunch of different colored felt sheets for $0.25 each to make pieces to play with.
I browsed the flannel material but bought 2/3 yards of fleece material since it was on sale. (I read online felt or fleece works well as the base.) I got a couple colors with the idea that I might try covering a sturdy piece of cardboard and attach to my primary board with Velcro so I can change the background color. Still haven’t tried it yet, but I think it will work.
It’s very simple to make, and a lot of fun to play with. Simply put the canvas face down on your material, cut fleece/felt slightly larger than your canvas (about 2″ larger on each side), pull the material taut, and use a staple gun to staple to the back of the canvas frame. Easy, right?
I did a quick sign language lesson and story time at our community Easter event earlier this year (hence my ears), and the kids loved it! This smaller sized board was nice and convenient, but a larger board for bigger classes and events would be nice, too.
I made some random pieces to play with at first, but I have since spent some quality time designing and making some really nice sets, if I do say so myself. =) I have mostly been using just felt, but I am starting to experiment with more materials such as fabric, glow in the dark material, and other craft supplies for embellishments (paint, googly eyes, etc.)
Despite the fact that I seriously doubt anyone plays with their felts in the dark, I went ahead and made some glowing pieces just for fun. The kids think it’s so cool. And who can blame them, who doesn’t love glowing things, right?!
Here’s a set I made of the Baby Signing Time characters – Alex, Leah & Hopkins. (STA Instructors can contact me for info on how to get your own character sets for your classes).
(Squeal!!) Look at that adorably goofy grin! Kayden is crazy about her felts! I know…I might be more excited about this than my daughter. LOL
Before I made our big board I ordered a “travel board” that’s smaller, and folds up into a little case from Storytelling Fun on Etsy. I also got a set of pieces with a bear that you can dress depending on the weather. Kayden likes the felt set, but I notice she prefers to play with the big board instead of the lap board. She has this little magnetic Lalaloopsy kit where she can dress the girls, and she loves it. However, the pieces are getting worn, and they are awful small so the felt board is a nice and safe alternative, especially with a 1 year old around. Yay!
I am currently working on sets for the entire Baby Signing Time vocabulary list for Volumes 1-4, and I am looking forward to doing some fun new sets in the near future. Have ideas or custom requests? Please let me know!
If you are a fellow STA instructor, or just a hard-core felt fanatic, and would like to be part of my “Felt Set Product Development Team” let me know! I value your input and try to incorporate your ideas when making new sets.
Here are a few other sites for felt inspiration:
Storytime Katie – Lots of ideas for felt sets!
Felt Board Printables – Lots of printables for your board kits
Mommy Gaga – She uses a foam core board
Flannel Friday on Pinterest – Tons and TONS of visual inspiration and links to more info