So a few weeks ago I was asking my best friend for advice, who happens to have a daughter just a week and a half older than London. I referred to her throughout my entire pregnancy, even texting her at 3am when I woke up with contractions to ask if what I was feeling were labor pains (don’t worry, guys, she was awake because newborns have to nurse all night long). I still text and call her for advice now, because I know she’s going through the same stages with her daughter as I am with London.
And she’s super mature and seems to know everything.
SO when I was talking with her, I asked her what she does at home with her daughter each day. Because I’ve only been a stay-at-home mom for a few months, and she’s been one for a bit longer. One of the activities she mentioned was a Felt Board!
What a great idea!! So obviously the first thing I did was logged onto Pinterest and created a “Felt Fun” board. To that board I started collecting ideas of 1) how to actually make and use a felt board, 2) the easiest way to create your felt shapes, and 3) inspiration for future projects.
The first project (after creating the board) that I decided to master was Farm and Jungle Animals. London is obsessed with animals right now. Every live animal she sees causes her to squeal and clasp her hands to her chest. And pictures of animals bring on basically the same reaction.
DIY Felt Board Farm and Jungle Animals
Creating the Felt Board
- large panel of felt (I used white as a base; some people do half-blue and half-green so that their board always has grass and a sky. It’s up to you!)
- foam presentation board
I read of a few different ideas, but what I ended up doing was purchasing a large panel of felt and a foam board, and attaching the felt to the board with staples. I double-double checked, and the staples don’t poke through. This board is nice, because it’s portable and hide-able! When London and I are done playing with it, I slide it behind the couch.
Creating the Templates
I wanted the animals to be simple enough so that I did not have to spend forever creating them. I started by drawing the following animal pictures:
What I did next was due to reading this post about how to easily cut and make felt shapes. I would view the blog if you want more specific instructions, but basically you trace your shape onto freezer paper, cut it out and iron it onto the felt, and then cut out the felt. It’s much easier to cut out clean lines with the paper attached than it is otherwise. (I know this because I did our Halloween costumes without freezer paper, and did this entire craft with it!)
- Freezer Paper
- Pencil, pen, or marker (I used pencil)
- Template to trace from
Now, for the template I’m attaching, you can simply trace the template as every shape is included on the template (so skip step 2 below). However, if you are like me and like drawing your own pictures, you will need to follow all steps.
- Lay the freezer paper on top of your template. Trace each shape wholly onto the side that is rough, not waxy.
- After you have traced the entire shape (like a cow), trace the individual parts (like hooves, the nose, the tail) that will be cut out on a separate color of felt. I also labeled the parts based on which animal it was coming from (for example, “horse nose”).
- Repeat for each animal.
Disclaimer: I scanned these from the freezer paper, and tried to re-align the templates on my computer. As this was my first time doing this type of craft, I wasn’t very wise about placement on the freezer paper. I focused more on conserving space than creating a template that can be shared. If you try to print them and they seem “off” or there are other problems, don’t hesitate to email me!
Making the Animals
- Felt, two colors for each animal. The color choices are up to you! I tried re-using the same colors for multiple animals (for example, the cat, sheep, and elephant all used the same grey felt).
- Hot glue gun
- Fine-tip sharpie or marker
- Cut out the templates from the freezer paper. This does not need to be exact or along the lines unless you want to conserve felt. Personally, I didn’t want to take the time to cut each shape individually multiple times.
- Organize the shapes by felt color. As you can see below, I placed the main pig body with the bunny ears, nose, and tail, and the cow nose and ears all on pink felt.
- Iron the freezer paper shapes waxy-side down onto the color of felt you desire!
- Cut out the main body shape of the animal.
- Cut out the smaller pieces (like hooves, ears, the tail, and the nose) for that same animal.
- Hot glue the smaller pieces onto the main body shape.
- Draw on any accents like eyes or nostrils!
**NOTE**:I repeated steps 5-7 for each individual animal, but you could choose to do step 5 for all animals at once, then step 6, and then step 7, if you prefer. I found it simpler to keep the smaller pieces organized if I cut them out and glued them on immediately.
London and I have played with these quite a few times. I think she enjoys how easy they are to move and hold! Probably someday I’ll make a farm or trees or something so that the background is more entertaining, but for now they have been perfect! She’s only 17 months old, so she doesn’t quite understand how to place them on the board without them falling off, but she really has enjoyed learning her animal sounds.
By the way, does anyone know what sound a giraffe makes???