Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Our Flannel Board – part 1

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M just LOVES our flannel board.  I’m sure you already know this, because I’ve said it on this blog about 20 times already. ;) 

The flannel board has become such a big part of our day lately - “school” time and just playtime too – that I want to share a few things about it – including how I made our board, the different ways I make the felt sets, which felt sets we have, and how we use them.

Since we have about 20 different felt sets, with lots of ideas for more, this is going to have to be a series of posts.  I hope it gives you some great ideas!

To make our flannel board, I used a large piece of foam core board from Michael’s (2’ x 3’, I think).  Some people choose to use a heavier material such as plywood, but I wanted ours to be lightweight and easy to transport since we move it around the house, or sometimes put it away.  M was very small when I first made our flannel board and I didn’t want him to get hit in the head with something heavy, should he pull it over on him (our board is not attached to the wall in any way, it just leans up against it).

I bought 1/2 yard of blue flannel and attached it to the foam core board.  To cover the board, simply pretend you are wrapping a present, then secure the fabric to the back of the board with glue or duct tape.  I used white duct tape and it has held up fine for over 2 years now.  It is not very *pretty* on the back, but we never see that side and easy means more to me than pretty does for something like this!

I also found an 8” x 10” piece of corrugated cardboard, and used some leftover flannel to make a smaller version that we take with us on car trips:blog pics 027

The first felt set I made for M was a group of simple shapes in different sizes.  He was less than 1 year old and had fun simply manipulating them, sticking them in his mouth (bleck!), and trying to make them stick to the flannel board.  We had them out all the time and made fun geometric designs with them:blog pics 020 I repeated the names of the shapes for him, and sometimes the colors, over and over while he picked them up and did whatever he wanted with them.  He knew the names of all the shapes pictured within a few weeks.  Sometimes we used them to talk about soft versus hard.

The next set pictured is what I refer to as our “miscellaneous set” – it’s a little bit of everything.  I found many of the templates in Flannel Board Stories for Infants and Toddlers, by Ann Carlson, which I picked up at our local library.  Some of the printed pictures were found on various pages of the DLTK-kids.com site.blog pics 021

These were just for fun since M was still so little, and are things that M found interesting – a car, an airplane, a school bus, a semi-trailer, a little boy with clothes you can change, and a couple of puppies.

This is a good point to discuss the various ways of making felt sets.  Most of these were simply made by drawing or tracing with felt tip pens right onto the felt pieces, then cutting them out. You can use all colors of felt-tip markers, but make sure they are permanent markers, so the colors don’t bleed if they should happen to get wet.

To make the puppies and similar picture-pieces, I printed the pictures onto regular paper and cut them out.  I then put a thin layer of white glue on the entire back of the picture and placed them on a piece of felt.  A heavy book on top made sure they stayed flat as the glue dried; once it was completely dry, I cut it out along the edge of the picture.  This is one of my favorite methods – it’s just so easy to do, and the felt pieces hold up very well.

If you find pictures online that you would like to use, another great way to make them is to print them out, laminate them, and hot glue a piece of sandpaper to the back.  Sometimes the rough part of velcro works too, but I have had better luck with sandpaper; and the rougher the better.  This is easy to do and the pieces stay in great shape, but they are not quite as much fun for little fingers to play with as felt is.

{I sometimes copy a black and white picture into my computer’s “paint” program to color it before printing it out to use this way.  Of course, you could also color them with markers or crayons before laminating them.}

Fabric stabilizer sheets also work for use on the flannel board.  These color well with colored pencils or crayons – simply draw, color, and cut out the piece you want.  The stabilizer is rough enough to stick on the flannel board by itself.

In the next flannel board post I’ll share some of our other sets, and how I keep them organized, as well as the different things we do with them!

Have a beautiful day! :)


  1. Thank you so much!I was not sure how to make one. My daughter is 5 but I still may make a felt board for her. It is so versatile and so much fun!
    Looking forward to your next post. ;)

  2. Thanks for the info. I've been waiting on this post! I didn't realize how easy it would be to make one of these boards!

  3. This is an awesome instructional post. I love your felt sets. We also have two boards - one heavy big one that looks more like a picture frame, but Anna never wants to play with this one. She prefers a travel size that is done within a strong folder.

  4. thanks for sharing how you do it... your sets look gorgeous.. i love that fall tree felt set!!


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