Introduction: Montessori Movable Alphabet WITHOUT a Printer & Laminator

About: Crafty mama and wifey.

If you have a child or a student who needs to learn letters, movable alphabet is perfect for hands on learning - children literally take learning in their own hands! Movable alphabet is one of the most popular language materials in Montessori education, but they can be pretty expensive. And if you decide to make your own -many of those materials need to be laminated to be more durable.

This Instructable will show you how to make your own durable Movable alphabet and spend almost nothing WITHOUT using a LAMINATOR and even WITHOUT a PRINTER. Let's start making!

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies


  • Cardstock (blue and red or your choice of color)
  • Wide transparent scotch tape
  • Scissors
  • Pencil or pen
  • Manicure scissors for cutting out the smaller holes
  • Printer - optional!

If you can't print straight on cardstock or don't have an access to printer, you'll also need:

  • Office paper
  • Glue and card-stock/thicker paper - OPTIONAL, makes job easier if you don't use a printer.

NOTE: In Montessori language materials, letters are usually color coded. The movable alphabet uses blue and red/pink color to show the difference between consonants and vowels. In some parts of the world consonants are usually blue, in others - vowels are blue. If you already use any Montessori language materials or plan to do it in future, stick to the same system you are using now or are planning to use later. You can also make all the letters in one color if you are not sure yet. The child will still benefit from the material!

Step 2: Download the File or Make Your Own

Download and print the alphabet file - it has 1 of each letter from the English alphabet.

(You will see another version of letters in photos, because I was making a Latvian alphabet in cursive, because that is what we use. Just follow the instructions and make your preferred version.)

Step 3: Print or Choose the Other Method

If you can print on cardstock, print out the file (or draw letters on the card-stock in your own style ) and jump to step 6. If you can print only on regular office paper or can't access a printer, follow the next steps.

Step 4: Printing or Tracing Letters

Print out the alphabet file on a regular paper or place a sheet over the computer screen and trace letters on paper like shown in the photos.

TIP: After tracing letters glue the paper on top of a thicker one to make the work easier later or just be more careful with tracing in next steps and you will do just fine.

Step 5: Cut Out the Letter Templates

Cut out the letters - these will be templates you'll work with, so you can make extra letters later. Use small manicure scissors for holes if your usual scissors are too big and are damaging the paper.

TIP: Don't throw away the templates after you're done because these will allow you to make extra letters for your set in the future if you need any.

Step 6: Trace the Letter Templates on Cardstock

Put your letter templates on cardstock and trace the outlines. You can make as many letters as you wish according to your needs. In my case vowels are blue and consonants - red.

Full sets tend to have more than 100 letters but you can sure start with less in the beginning. Here is an interesting read on which letters are used the most, so you can adjust your stock accordingly.

Step 7: Tape It!

Cover the cardstock with scotch tape until all page is covered with tape. Do the same on the back. This will protect the letters, make them more durable and children may even use whiteboard markers to trace the letters and practice handwriting, because it is easy to wipe the marker off with a napkin.

Try to get rid of air bubbles before applying next line of tape. Continue with all pages.

Step 8: Cut 'em Out!

Cut out the letters. Use manicure scissors to cut out the smaller holes if needed.

Step 9: Let's Get Moving!

Enjoy the learning! You will find many lessons and ideas online - start with those or dig deeper and make up your own plan. You can make more letters with the same method. Movable alphabet is usually kept in a box with a smaller compartment for each letter - maybe someone is up for an Instructable for that? :)

Practice makes perfect, so here are some ideas for learning with movable alphabet.

  • Name a letter child needs to find.
  • Child can trace letters with an whiteboard marker - clean with a paper napkin after.
  • Have a box of little things child can name and write using the movable letters (cat, dog, pen, box, etc.)
  • Have an envelope with simple pictures that the child can name.
  • Have little cards with words the child needs to recreate with letters from movable alphabet.
  • Write simple sentences or little stories like "cat drinks water", "elephant is big", "I like summer" and so on.

Happy learning!

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