This week I had the privilege of putting together a craft column for a local parenting magazine "Mothering Matters". I decided that since I get many visits to my site from people searching "ideas for felt mats", I would add another felt mat to my collection (my previous posts on felt mats can be seen here and here).
This is a great craft because not only do you and your child design and make it together, but the finished product is a fantastic toy that can be played with again and again. It is also light and portable meaning it's great for travel.
The finished mats showing all the pieces that Miss S and I made together...
To make a café feltmat you will need:
* 2 pieces of felt each about the size of a piece of printer paper
* Felt pieces and scraps in various colours and sizes
* Sharp scissors, ink pen and ruler
* Various circular objects to draw around - small bowl, spice jars etc
* A ziplock bag or drawstring bag to keep all the pieces in
Begin by making a set of plates. On to some white or cream felt draw around a bowl that is approximately 12cm (4 & 1/2") in diameter and cut them out.
You can make a frying pan or saucepan by using the same bowl to cut out a circle from dark grey felt, and then a long, slender rectangle for the handle.
You can create a stovetop as above using a piece of black felt with red or pink circles for elements and white circles for the dials. Now that your kitchen is ready, it's time to design the menu! When you've settled on your menu, you can begin to cut out pieces.
Miss S and I made the following pieces (and found that many of them were very interchangeable):
* Hamburgers (light brown circles for the buns, dark brown circle for patty, yellow square for cheese, green squiggly shape for lettuce, red circles for tomatoes)
* Sandwiches (we made a piece of pink ham, cucumber slices and re-used the fillings from the hamburger)
* Tacos (large yellow circle with a combo of hamburger fillings and pizza toppings)
* Pizza (cream circular base + toppings - Miss S also uses the pizza base as a crêpe)
* French Fries
* Bacon and eggs
* Salad (re-uses the lettuce, tomato and some of the pizza toppings)
* Cupcakes (with separate bases, interchangeable icing & cherries)
* Fruit salad (We cut out some orange segments and grapes to add to the pineapple and cherries)
You may be confident to go ahead and just cut the pieces yourself freehand, but if you'd like to use templates, here are a couple (you may have to enlarge or shrink the images on a photocopier):
To make multiples of one shape you can cut the first out and when you're happy with it, just place it on the felt and cut around it as many times as you need to.
To make the frilly "fancy" lettuce, cut a circle from green felt, slightly bigger than you want your piece of lettuce to be. Now cut around the circle, going in and out, to make it into more of a random shape. Using the tip of your scissors cut about 5mm into the shape, at 1cm intervals all around it's edge. Where these cuts are, use your fingers to pull the cut further apart, stretching the felt.
To make the cherries, just cut a small, slightly flattened circle out of red felt and then cut a small triangle out of the top of it.
You can also cut out a variety of other geometrical shapes in various colours so that your child can make all kinds of pictures.
When they've finished you can sandwich all the pieces between your two felt mats, roll it up and store in a zip-lock, or drawstring bag.