Introduction: Emotional Vocabulary Play Mat

[I Feel Many Things During The Day] This is an educational play mat for children from ages between 2 and 7 to play and expand their emotional vocabulary by eliciting feelings of curiosity, fun, and love of learning while generating thoughts about emotional experiences in family and educational contexts.

Step 1: Materials


  • Big(36" x 36") and small(12" x 12') felt sheets - polyester and wool
  • Wool roving rolls
  • Feltworks replacement needles and multi-needle
  • Embroidery needles and threads
  • An Embroidery hoop
  • A sponge or a felting mat - it helps smooth needle-punching works into your base fabric
  • Pins
  • Cotton puffs
  • An Iron and a thin fabric scrap
  • Iron-On Adhesive
  • Poppers and conductive threads
  • A soldering iron
  • Hot glue gun
  • Conductive ink and stencil sponges
  • A table lamp
  • Foam sheets
  • Hook wires
  • A plier

Step 2: Feltwork for Faces

Cut felt into 12 circles to make faces. With a felt needle, make patterns you want. [Tip]: keep poking! Check the video I did feltwork (there are different needles: coarse and fine)

[TIP.1]: When you cannot find certain colors in wool or polyester felt, don't worry. You can add wool on other felts and needle it to make your own color. (Example: scared face with green color and Lonely face with violet below)

[TIP.2]: I printed out and cut faces in order to needle wool easier. You will see how I use printed paper at the next step.

Sometimes you need to iron your work. If you use polyester felt, be careful to use iron because iron heat will melt polyester one. I knew iron heat melts it, but made this mark on one of faces. You need a thin fabric scrap and put it between iron and your felt to iron.

Step 3: Title

Print out patterns you want to add on the top layer.

Cut letters or patterns and hold the paper with pins.

Needle them!

Step 4: Embroidery

[Embroidery threads and needles]

let's do blanket stitch. Aligns faces with the circle. I used an embroidery hoop and pins to hold face onto top layer while stitching, which made work so much easier and fun!!

Don't finish blanket stitch!! You have to add cotton stuff to fill faces. THEN complete stitching!

[I learned how to blanket stitch through This video. It's easy to follow and necessary if you want to feltwork.]

Step 5: Mosaic Seat

With felt scraps, make the seat for the kid in the middle of the mat. I used iron-on adhesive in order to put all the scraps together onto the top layer. It was way faster than stitching. [TIP: Use a cotton fabric scrap when ironing felt. If you use polyester felt, you MUST use a cotton fabric sheet to iron. If not, iron will burn your felt]

Step 6: Add Sounds

Add sounds to touch board or Arduino.

  • Touch board: you can add audios to micro SD card which you can see folder where you can place sounds. Also, you can program sounds because Arduino is built in.
  • Arduino: At first prototype, I used Arduino with Piezo. Open processing and arduino and add these code. Follow the order and Bold types are audio files.

Step 7: Circuit

Print out the exact size of paper with faces' positions in order to paint circuit easier.

Paint or stencil the circuit that faces will touch.

Sew male poppers onto the fabric and soldered hook wires to female poppers


I found the FIRST problem when testing sounds: on the underbelly of the project, the wiring and mechanics. Connectivity between under faces and poppers was unstable when people pushed faces because of popper's location. I changed the popper position from the circle border to the center in order to enhance pressure sensors.

Use hot glue to hold wires in the fabric as a circuit. This wouldn't aesthetically look good (future iterative: improvement necessary), but it anchored wires better in the fabric and it was better for usability.

Step 8: Connecting Wires

Connect each wire to each signal on the board.

Step 9: Pocket for Board

Make a pocket for the board not to move around the underneath of the play mat. It allows me to fold and unfold the play mat without worries about what if all the wires and the board are tangled.

Do not sew the left side of the pocket onto the circuit fabric in order to make a hole for ON / OFF switch and speaker / headphone jack to reach to power sources.

Step 10: Complete Circuit

Use iron-on adhesive and an iron in order to glue the circuit to the bottom layer.

Step 11: Cushion and Finish

Add one more layer: a layer of cushion for kids to play safe.

Arduino All The Things! Contest

Participated in the
Arduino All The Things! Contest