I don't actually have a giant flannel board, but I may have to make one just for this. If you don't have a giant flannel board either, maybe you could buy a large flannel blanket and play on that. Or, you could just lay the words out on the floor.
Part of the fun is the whimsical shapes and bright, bold fabrics! If you're feeling adventurous, you could even try triangles, circles, or hexagons rather than sticking to boring old rectangles :) I think another fun option would be to make an entire alphabet set, so little ones can learn to spell out words.
What you need:
- Assorted cotton prints
- Felt for backing
- Velcro (optional)
- Fusible web
- All-purpose thread
Let's get sewing:
1. Cut your cotton prints, felt, and batting into shapes for your words/letters. I made mine into rectangles about 11 x 5 inches and 13 x 7 inches for the long words. Any smaller and I couldn't fit a whole word on them. If you're making short words or individual letters, you can cut them smaller. (I cut my squares about 7-8".) These measurements include 1" on each side for a 1/2" seam allowance.
2. If you are making words for a flannel board, I suggest sewing one or two 2" pieces of the "hook" side of hook-and-loop tape (velcro) to your felt backing, which will help it stick to the flannel. Sew the velcro about 1" down from the top of the felt and 1-2" from the sides.
3. Draw the letters for your words. If you look at the pictures, you can see I made some "rounded" letters, but if I did this project again I'd use all straight-edged letters like in the pic below. The round letters were much more difficult to zig-zag stitch in step 8.
I free-handed my letters, but you could also print off letters in a huge font on your computer, then trace them on the fusible web. (Make sure to trace the reverse of the letters--see my "F" below). Peel off the paper backing and stick them on the wrong side of your fabric.
4. Cut out the letters, peel off the paper, and arrange them in the center of the rectangle. I tried to leave space at the top so my letters wouldn't overlap the velcro when I assembled the words. You'll be sewing the letters down in step 8, and it's annoying to sew over velcro. Follow the directions on your fusible web to fuse the letters to the fabric.
5. Make an "inside-out" quilt sandwich: cotton with letters facing up, felt right-side down (with velcro against the letters), and batting on top.
6. Sew around the rectangle with a 1/2" seam allowance. Leave a 3" opening in the bottom for turning. Clip the extra fabric at the corners so it will lay flat after turning.
7. Turn out, then topstitch 1/4" from the edge to sew the opening shut and to help the word lay flat.
8. Using a zig-zag stitch, sew around the edges of all the letters. This secures the letters, and it also functions as quilting.
9. If you want, you can also add some cute decorative quilting with a straight stitch.
Repeat steps 1-9 to make a bunch of cute words that your kids will love to play with again and again!
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