If you use a felt board or flannel board while storytelling you know that it's hard to come by nicely made, reasonably priced pieces. Sure, if you're crafty you can use glue and thread and create something nice. But I'm not that crafty. And I'm cheap. Plus I'm a little bit lazy on top of all that. So here's how I make really easy pieces for my flannel board.
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
- light weight, non-fusible interfacing, available at fabric and hobby stores
- art, your own or someone else's for which you have authorization to use
- sharp scissors
- permanent and/or fabric markers or crayons
- drier or iron, depending on what the instructions for your fabric markers say if you use them
- access to a copy machine or printer for clip art
Pellon is a common brand of interfacing. You want to choose the heaviest weight that you can still see through because you're going to trace your art. Fuzzier interfacing sticks to flannel boards better than non-fuzzy, but both kinds seem to work. I found two bolts of interfacing that were marked with identical tags but one was significantly fuzzier than the other. Feel before you buy.
Step 2: Copy Your Art
Select some art from a book or computer clip art. Or, draw your own on some paper. Copy any art you're using at a copy machine or print it out from a printer. Interfacing is thin and when you trace it your ink will go right through to the art below. If you're using art from a book or from an original you love, you will ruin it if you use the original. If you're good at drawing you may be able to freehand something, but interfacing is tough to draw on.
When you're choosing artwork, take care not to pick anything with lots of thin parts sticking out unless you're not planning on cutting around those parts. The interfacing will tear with use for anything skinny.
Don't steal art! It's not nice and it's definitely illegal. You must have permission to use someone else's art. Here I'm using art from 2's Experience: Felt Board Fun, by Liz and Dick Wilmes. This book is expressly designed for making felt board pieces. I'm using the pieces for Brown Bear, Brown Bear, by Bill Martin, Jr.
Step 3: Trace Your Art
Using a thin marker or crayon (permanent or fabric), trace your art onto the interfacing.
Step 4: Color Your Pieces
Using markers or crayons (again, permanent or fabric), color in your feltboard piece. Think about how it will look from a few feet away rather than up close. If you're using markers, do your lighter colors first and check that you haven't smeared ink on your hand that will transfer to other areas of the design.
Step 5: Set the Colors
My fabric markers gave me an iron option and a drier option. I'm lazy, so I picked the drier option. I find the color sticks better through repeated washing with the iron option, but since I'm not planning to wash my pieces unless they get dirty, I think I'm safe using the drier.
Notice I didn't cut out my pieces before I put them in the drier. At least with my drier, itty bitty pieces are bad and might never be seen again.
Step 6: Cut Out Your Pieces
Break out those scissors and cut away the extra interfacing. Think carefully about how detailed you want to get with skinny bits. They'll stay flatter during use if it's mostly one big blob of a piece rather than one with lots of parts sticking out.
Step 7: Tell a Story
You're finished! Go use those pieces and tell a story on your favorite flannel board.
If you need more ideas for preschoolers, come visit my site: http://preschoolpatti.blogspot.com/. Don't worry, I'm not selling anything just writing down what we're doing in my nursery school class.