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Monday, 26 November 2012

DIY Christmas gifts- Felt car mat less than $5

Ah,Christmas!  I love Christmas - the music, the twinkling lights, the baking and friends. And since I have spent the last three years working on DIY holidays, even my budget can enjoy Christmas.

I have kicked off my holiday gift preparations with a gift for my nephew.   My nephew is just weeks shy of his second birthday but this gift would be well loved by a child car lover of almost any age.   In fact I will be making a second one for my son Walter.
Here is a quick tutorial on how to DIY a FELT CAR MAT.

What you will need:
-1/2 m of green felt off the blot ($2.40 if you can get it on sale as I did)
- 1/4 m black felt off the bolt ($1.20)
- printer
- scissors
- straight pins
- felt craft sheets in an assortment of colours (on hand)
- hot glue gun
- hot glue sticks. Lots.  Really, I used 16 ($1.25)
- fabric paints (optional). (on hand)
- ribbon (on hand)
Total cost for this gift: less than $5

Since my hand cutting skills are a work in progress  poor  non existent I had to do a bit more leg work than the artistic bunch out there might have to.  I used google to find some free printable colouring pages of the images I wanted for my town (school house, hospital, gas pumps, church ect).  Then I adjusted them to the right size (i used quarter page size) and printed out the simple image.  This became my "pattern".   After cutting the image from the paper I pinned it to my felt sheet and cut around it.
Yes, I actually had to do this for a simple tree image :)

Next I repeated the idea with the green to complete tree then hot glued the pieces together.
Continue until you have cut out and hot glued all the pieces of your town together.
City bits
 Next you can add some details with fabric paints. I used the paints to add things like doorknobs, flower boxes, shingles, store names ect.  While that is drying pull out your half meter of green felt. It's time to plan a city!  I was a bit surprised to discover that this was the most challenging step for me. I agonized over where the hospital should go and how many trees should be in a school yard.  Finally That Guy advised that I model  the town after our own neighbourhood and I did something similar to that.  (We don't have a traffic circle in our neighbourhood but I had to add one because they would just be so much fun for the kids).  I used regular sidewalk chalk to plan out my city because I'm visual like that.
You thought I was kidding about a lack of artistic  ability? I wasn't . 
Using your black felt from the bolt cut out and glue down your roads. You can get black felt in the craft sheets, so why do I recommend  getting it from the bolt? Because its simply a larger piece  So you can have fewer "seams": in your roads and  all the black will be from the same dye lot. I used yellow fabric paint to add the road lines, but cutting small bits of yellow felt and gluing them down would work just as well.
I left a space free along the right hand border of my mat so I could name the city.

After the roads are all in glue down your city bits. I start getting pretty excited at this point because its all starting to really come together. If you so desire name the city along the free space.  Both felt letters or fabric paint work just as well for this purpose.
Now you can fold the mat in half, then in half again and roll it.  Use that ribbon to tie it up and it is now perfectly portable. Keeping your kids quiet and happy at home, church, doctors office - you've got it covered now!

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