I love love love crafts for children. Bright colors, usually minimal measuring, and perfection is never required! Right up my alley.
My niece is turning 3 later this month and I've realized homemade gifts seem to be the best kind for her. There's always the trouble of getting something store bought and finding out someone else already got it for her. She also, like most of nearly 3 year olds, has a ton of toys already. So..homemade it is.
I will start by saying that I certainly didn't come up with this project all by myself. I stumbled upon a crafter blog - A Girl and a Glue Gun. She created the cutest felt playmats and inspired me to create one for my niece.
I started by getting a few knockoff matchbox cars from Wal Mart. And can I just say, it's disturbing how many grown men are looking at matchbox cars at Wal Mart, clearly for themselves. Yes, I am judging you, grown men. Anyway, I found some great cars that I knew she'd love (firetruck, police car, school bus, etc) to get me started. Then, I headed off to JoAnn's to grab some felt. Their felt by the yard was on sale for $2.29/yd and the pre-cut sheets were 4 for $1, so I got a ton of felt for 16 dollars. Needless to say I still have a ton left, but I do love me some felt.
Once I got my felt, I started by cutting a square in the blue/green color. The felt from JoAnn's is 72" wide and I bought a yard and a half. I ended up making my square about 48".
After I got my square laid out, I cut 4" wide strips from the hot pink felt. I then used those as binding around the edge of the felt square to give it a more finished look. Oh, and by the way, this project is entirely sewless - I used a hot glue gun for everything! I have blisters on my thumb to prove it.
Once I got the binding on, I started with a road, then begin glue in houses, etc. in around it. I noticed that the hot glue sometimes leaked through some of the thinner or lighter color felt, especially on the road. I think if I make another one of these, I'll make the roads in black instead. For this one, I just used other colors of felt and glued random buildings and bushes, etc. over the hot glue marks.
Here's the mat halfway through. I was still playing with where I wanted to put the buildings so most of them moved at some point. I knew my niece would want certain buildings for sure - a police station, a big girl school, her house, and of course, a McDonalds :)
I ended up working on this throughout the evening last night (January 1 - first project of the new year) but I'm really happy with the finished project!
And I've added a few pieces of ribbon to the outside so she can take it with her on the go!
I hope that my niece enjoys playing with this mat as much as I enjoyed making it! I know I would have loved it when I was her age!
January 1 - Project One down! 299 more to go!