I often use Lego in storytelling. There are so many cute little pieces and it is easy to photograph them with my recently-acquired iPhone.
However, very young children find it difficult to make Lego buildings large enough to house the figures. So I designed this collapsible castle to extend our Lego storytelling. It's made from felt and plastic canvas and yes, the gates are real Lego gates.
Step 1: Materials.
Plastic canvas, 2 sheets, gray if possible but clear or black are also fine
Gray felt, 2 sheets light and 2 sheets dark
Large sharp needle
Dental Floss (It is STRONG!)
Hot glue gun and glue sticks
Step 2: Cut the Front of the Castle.
Using the attached PDF pattern, cut out the front of the castle.
Step 3: Cut Out the Back of the Castle.
Use the same pattern to cut out the back, but on the back, do NOT cut out the large door. Cut a few more windows if you want!
Step 4: Cut the Side Pieces.
Cut out FOUR side pieces. They are as tall as the front and back pieces, and fifteen squares wide.
Step 5: Sew the Lego Gates Into the Opening.
Sew Lego gates into the opening.
If you don't have Lego gates, you can just use the leftover pieces of plastic canvas to make your own.
HOWEVER, I think the "real" gates really add some pizzaz to this castle!
I bought my gates on eBay.
Step 6: Attach the Felt.
Cut a piece of light-colored felt to match each of the six plastic pieces.
Do not bother to cut out windows. They are easier to cut after sewing the fleet to the plastic.
Using white dental floss, sew felt to each piece of plastic. Sew around the edges of each window.
Do this for all six pieces of plastic canvas.
Step 7: Stitch the Pieces Together.
Place two pieces together, felt touching felt, and stitch them together.
(Note: for the side piece, I got lazy. I didn't sew the felt onto the fabric first. I just made a plastic-felt-felt-plastic sandwich and sewed it all at once.)
Step 8: Continue Attaching Pieces.
Continue attaching pieces until they are all in a row.
(Yes, I know that one of the pieces of felt doesn't match. We shall pretend that the first quarry ran out of stone and our castle-builders then shopped at a second quarry....)
Step 9: Here's How It Looks on the "reverse Side."
You MAY have noticed that one of the pieces is green....
I bought the only two pieces of gray canvas they had in the store... then I made a mistake cutting the castle back. The inside is going to be covered with felt anyway, so I substituted a piece of green that I had on hand.
If you are REALLY detail-oriented, you may also notice that the castle back does not match the pattern. My green piece was two rows too short, but I used it any way! The method of "building" with plastic canvas and felt is pretty forgiving.
Step 10: Take Care of the Loose Ends.
If you are a very tidy person, you may have woven all those loose ends in. Good for you!
Otherwise, carefully tack down all the loose ends with a tiny bit of hot glue.
Step 11: Cut Felt Backing Pieces to Match Each Piece.
Cut out a piece of the darker felt to match each of the plastic canvas pieces.
Just cut out the basic outline. Don't try cutting out all the windows. It's easier to cut them post-gluing!
Step 12: Glue the Felt to the Back.
Line your work area with a large piece of wax paper.
Working a 1-2" wide section at a time, place a thin layer of hot glue on the plastic canvas and quickly and carefully pat the felt in place.
NOTE: Be sure that the first row of holes on either end remains open, so that the canvas can be stitched together later. I neglected to do this on my first castle, and it was extremely difficult to get the needle though the canvas, felt AND glue...
If you have never worked with felt and plastic canvas and hot glue before, practice this with some scrap pieces before you work with your project pieces!
Step 13: Trim.
Once all the felt backing is in place, trim.
I use a small pair of sharp scissors, but if you are skilled, use an x-acto knife (or "the knife of exact zero....")
Step 14: Trimmed and Ready for the Last Seam.
This is how the "almost finished" piece looks.
Step 15: Place Right Sides Together and Sew.
If you stitch perfectly neatly, you can place the pieces together as shown in the second picture and sew.
If your stitches aren't so perfect, you will need to sew with "right sides together." and, when the stitching is completed, you will need to carefully reverse the piece.
Step 16: Complete!
The finished castle is collapsible. It takes up very little space when stored.
Step 17: Add Your Lego Figures and Play!
Add Lego figures and start playing.
Be sure to print the storybook that accompanies this castle.
The link above will take you to the instructions for the storybook.
I've also included the PDF here.