Monday, October 1

Felt Board Fun: Colorful Ice Cream Board!

Anyone else remember the days of felt boards in Sunday School or at preschool? Little shapes, people, animals, buildings, ANYTHING cut out of felt, that the teacher moved around the board (usually a big piece of cardboard covered in heavier felt) to "act out" the story being told, or help with counting, colors, alphabet... The possibilities were endless.
Felt boards are fun and definitely bring feelings of nostalgia, but I thought they were becoming a forgotten thing. Well, it turns out that felt boards are alive and well - in preschools still, according to my mom (preschool teacher extraordinaire) and also according to the mass of "DIY felt board" Pinterest search results I got when I did a search. I love it!

Why are you talking about felt, you ask? Well last weekend, our favorite two year old had her birthday party. Hubs and I have been on a serious budget the past few months (is spending practically NOTHING even called a budget?), but I didn't want that to keep us from bringing a gift with meaning and thought put into it. I decided I wanted to make something, because it would not only save money but allow more creativity and fun than purchasing a gift.
Then an instance of perfect timing - serendipity, even, - took place. Lindsay over at The Little Red Horse posted about an ice cream-color matching felt board that she made. She had been inspired by an original ice cream-color matching felt game over at Mama Papa Bubba.

I took one look at these adorable games and said, "I can do that, and it will be a perfect gift!" So off to JoAnn Fabric I went.

  • I picked out a bunch of the basic 34 cent felt rectangles in varying bright colors and a tan that looked like the color of ice cream cones, and used the "Coupon Commotion" ad to get 50% off almost every piece of felt.
  • Then I went over to the bulk fabric and picked out the bolt of cream-colored 72" felt for the board part. I cut a piece to fit a 16" by 24" poster frame.
  • I also had to buy a new bottle of Tacky Glue. Another 50% off coupon there ;)
  • I used a coupon at Michael's craft store to get a 16" x 24" poster frame, with acrylic instead of glass (kid safe!), and an elegant brushed nickel colored frame edge.
  • I traced the shapes (ice cream, cones, and dots) according to the template over at Early Learning Activities, with a fine tip Sharpie black pen. Then cut them out with basic scissors - didn't want to risk dulling my sewing scissors with felt.
  • I glued the dots onto the cones with Tacky Glue, and let them dry for over 24 hours.
  • I used pre-made/pre-cut pink felt letters with sticky backs to spell her name. I found the felt stickers on clearance at Michael's. I stuck them to little squares cut out of the ice cream cone-colored felt.
  • I took the acrylic window piece out of the frame, wrapped the (already cut) cream-colored felt piece around it, and taped in the back with clear packing tape. It fit so nicely back into the frame, and was smooth on the front because the bolt felt did not have fold lines (bonus!).
  • It cost less than $20 for everything, and about three hours time investment, including shopping and "work." It wasn't work though, it was so much fun to be making something and being crafty again! I've missed that.

Here it is!
(Terrible photo quality, I know)

It was 2 in the morning, so I wasn't so concerned with good lighting ;)

With this, Miss Phillipa can learn not just colors, but also the letters in her name...

Making and giving this gift was so much fun. It was a hit with the birthday girl, her parents, and the other guests at the party. It feels great to make something that will be used and loved, and at the same time inspires other people to be creative and crafty, and learn with their children.

I can't wait to make some more cute felt creations to go along with Victory's favorite books - The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Ten Little Ladybugs have great felt-board potential :)