Apr 11, 2011

DIY felt board + tutorial.

A few weeks ago my friend Hannah and her little one came to visit. Little Penelope is just about three and half years old, and I wanted to make something for her as a belated birthday/Christmas gift.

I decided on making a felt board as, 1) It's pretty easy to make. 2) It's inexpensive to make. 3) It's easy to change up the shapes/felt pieces as interests change.

It was so easy to make that I made one for Adelaide as well and just stuck it in her closet until she's old enough to play with it. Although, I'm thinking of cutting out some big white shapes to contrast on the black background and see what she does with it. Maybe.

So, anyhow, here's what you need:
  • Frame from thrift store - I got this frame at Goodwill for a whole $2.00
  • A sheet of felt large enough for the frame - I got a yard or so of black felt from my local fabric store (they also had lots of other colors; It might be fun to have a blue sky/green grass board!)
  • Lots of colors of felt - you can just use the cheapy acrylic felt for this if you want (I did)
  • Glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Paint and paintbrush
  • Newspaper for protecting your work surface
  • A piece of cardboard to fit in the frame - My frame had a piece of cardboard in it (as the picture) but you could just cut a box, or maybe even just use a piece of posterboard.

1. Disassemble your frame and lay onto the newspaper.

2. Paint your frame whatever color you choose. I used some turquoise I had on hand because I knew that would pop against the black felt I was using for the board. (I didn't do this, but after it dries, you might want to spray a clear coat on it to bump up the shine and durability.) Think about what color the main felt is, what color your child likes, and paint the frame to correspond.

3. Take your cardboard, and make sure it is cut to size. You want it to fit in your frame, but not too snugly as you'll be wrapping the cardboard with felt. Cut a piece of felt from your large sheet about an inch bigger than the cardboard on all sides. (For example, if your cardboard is 24"x 18", then cut the felt 26"x 20".) Use your glue gun to secure it to the cardboard. (How many times can I write the word cardboard???)

4. My frame came with these thin piece of cardboard (there's that word again!), so I glued that on the back to hide all those words. This is optional, as the back won't really matter when being played with. Nobody will see it.

5. I placed my felt-covered cardboard into the painted frame, layered the thin, extra, totally optional piece of cardboard on top, and then used the little staples that were in the frame to hold it all together.

7. Tada! Flip it over and you have a wonderful felt board that looks spiffy ready to go. Cut out a ton of shapes in all kinds of colors from the stack of smaller felt sheets that you have. Letters, numbers, shapes, and if you're extra ambitious, even animal silhouettes or people! Give to your little one and go crazy!

This is not the best picture, but it was a quick shot before giving the gift to the little one. I had a TON of shapes cut out and used some of them to make a little cityscape for her. I also, as you can see, cut out the letters of her name.

I don't know who loved it more, Penelope or her mama. Penelope had a fun time creating a couple pictures, but I think she had way more fun sweeping her hand over the board to knock off all the shapes. Either way, she had fun and that was the point.

I think the creating of the board plus cutting out all the shapes took maybe an hour and a half? But that hour and a half was spread out over many, many days and naptimes. :)

I didn't cut out any shapes for Adelaide yet, but I definitely will as she gets older. Felt boards have been used in schools for ages, because they are a fun sensory learning tool. Kids love the way you can change it up so quickly, and they love that the felt sticks to the felt without glue. I don't have one for my elementary art room, but I am envisioning a new center to my room!

Anyhow, hope this tutorial is easy enough to follow! I would love to know what you think, and if you make one, please share!

(By the way, I used the word cardboard 10 times!)

Linked up here:


  1. She may have loved it more, but it was a close competition. She plays with it often, and her favorite thing to recreate with those felt shapes is a cat. Awesome gift!

  2. [Hannah] I'm glad she's enjoying it! I can't wait until Adelaide is old enough to play with hers!

  3. This is a great idea! And its so simple. I don't have any kids...but my friends do. This would make great gifts! Thanks for the tutorial!

    Saw this on Fireflies and Jellybeans. =)

  4. Awesome job!!! You seriously rock!! Thanks so much for linking to my Makin Monday post and for sharing!! I'm going to have to give that a try and make one for Lil' J!

    I'm soooo ticked after seeing this cause I just bought a frame for $12 and I should have just gone to goodwill to get one for $2! grrr! haha. Great gift mama!

  5. Felt boards are such great learning tools...

    Thanks for sharing this over at Creative Juice Thursday!


I love comments! I read every single one and try to respond to most of them (during the baby's naps or in between loads of laundry). I value any and all thoughts, advice, and tidbits that you want to share!