Tag Archives: felt

Flannel Friday! An Alleged “Puffy Paint Master” Lets You In On Her Secrets

4 Nov

Today, instead of posting a new flannelboard idea, I’m going to share with you some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned for using puffy fabric paint on felt. Some have suggested I am a “master” at this, although honestly, I don’t see it. Probably because you all don’t get to see all the pieces I have messed up dreadfully and end up re-doing or scrapping completely. Or all the paint that ends up on my fingers. But thanks for the vote of confidence, and prepare to be underwhelmed [insert smiley emoticon here].

Scribbles 3-D paint

This is my paint of choice. No particular reason, it’s just the first kind I bought at Michaels and the only kind I’ve used subsequently. I’ve not compared it to any other kind. It can be purchased as individual colors or in packs of multiples – “Shiny,” “Iridescent“, “Neon” or even sparkley colors! I also just noticed these pen-like versions, which might be even easier to use.  Joann’s also has it, and you can mail-order it via Create For Less and Amazon.

Tulip brand paint is also commonly used, I think. I don’t know it very well, but you may wish to try it out instead. Maybe I’ll get some too and let you know how it goes.

The best felt to use, in my opinion, is wool or part-wool. The other, flimsier, craft felt you get in the store tends to be “fuzzier”, and those little bits of thread get caught in the paint tip and you end up spreading paint and fuzz all over your piece.

I looked at some of the felt pieces I’ve made in the past and narrowed down how I use fabric paint to 3 categories:

1. Accent/Outline:

I think outlining/accenting a piece with a brighter version of the same color gives it some pop and makes it easier for the kids to identify. I outline the outside edges of a shape, and draw over any pen lines. Anywhere I would have used a pen in the past!

2. Decoration

Like the cat’s collar above, and Sunny’s smile, I use the fabric paint to add decorative details just for fun. The sun doesn’t NEED a smile to be identified as a sun, and the cat doesn’t NEED a collar. But they look extra special with these details!

3. Words

I have mentioned in the past how I like to add words to my flannelboards (where feasible and appropriate) to add to the young listeners’ print awareness. It’s easy to do with fabric paint because I hold the bottle like a pen and just write (slowly, but I write).


This part’s tricky. How do I describe how I put the paint on the felt? I can’t, really, the best thing for you to do is get a piece or two of scrap felt and, by trial-and-error, see what works. But I can give you few tips.

  • Put some paper under your felt before you paint (or you’ll end up, like me, with a desk decorated in various swipes of color).
  • Squeeze a little paint out on to the paper before you start, to judge how fast the paint is running. That way you won’t end up with a big glob on the beautiful felt elephant you’ve just cut out, or realize you should have shaken the paint up a bit to avoid a watery mess. Some bottles have bigger openings than others, so it’s good to know in advance how thick the paint will be.
  • Dots: Hold the bottle in place and squeeze. The paint will spread out around the point. Lift and stop when it’s the size you want! (It’s like decorating a cookie, right, Mel?)

  • Lines: squeeze gently and move slowly. Try to move from left to right (if you’re right-handed) so you don’t do as I did and end up with smashed paint all over your hand. If you accidentally end up with a big blob in one spot, stop squeezing and use the tip of the bottle to “paint” the blob (in effect spread it out) along the line. It will look like less of a blob.

  • Solid, colored-in shapes: what if you have a big part that you want to cover in color? Again, it’s like decorating a cookie with royal icing. First, outline your shape:

  •  Next, squeeze a little paint inside the shape. Then use the tip of the bottle to spread it around inside the shape (this way, you’re not wasting paint. You don’t REALLY need to squeeze paint into the whole shape, it’ll end up bulky and globby). Squeeze/spread more paint as needed.

  •  And, voilá! Finished shape!

So, there you go. The tricks of my puffy-paint-mastery trade. Probably a lot of this is common sense for my fellow crafty librarians and teachers, but I hope that it was helpful to some.

Now, *claps you on the back* go forth and make the best darn puffy-painted flannel pieces you can! I believe in you!

Flannel Friday: Matching Mittens

8 Jul

I can’t take credit for this great idea; my co-worker Kim created our first matching mittens set. But I made these, so I CAN take credit for the silly designs on the mittens.

I made 2 mittens of each color; there are 26 mittens in all (a couple of colors have 2 pair – light and dark blue; light and dark brown). They are clipped, by clothespin, on yarn that I braided together to make it thicker. A rope would probably work better. I got the clothespins at Walgreens, I think. A large bag is pretty inexpensive.

Here’s how I use these: I give each child one mitten (one of each pair; I keep the match). Then I hold up one mitten and ask the kids what color it is. After they’ve answered, I ask if anyone has the match. The child who has it brings up the mitten, and I hold the clothespin open as he or she puts the mitten in. I add the match and hold it up so we can admire our work! We continue until all the matches are made.

If I have more than 13 kids I give out both of the pair, and ask, “does anyone have a green mitten?” The two children with green mittens bring them up and add them to the clothesline.

This could be used to learn about patterns, shapes, and, obviously, colors.  I use it with my clothing storytime. You could make matching socks instead of mittens, or even a variety of clothing, if you want.  It would be a great follow up to Mrs. McNosh Hangs Up Her Wash or The Mitten.  It’s always been a big hit with the kids – they love getting to bring the mitten up and match it in front of the whole group.

Visit Storytime Katie later today for the full Flannel Friday round up!

Flannel Friday! Shapes Rhyme (now with homemade finger puppets!)

29 Apr

Today’s Flannel Friday post is about shapes! Technically, this isn’t a flannel BOARD story (although it can be used as such) but a rhyme told with puppets.  When I first read this rhyme, I decided, since the shapes are “talking”, they should be puppets. So I cut the shapes out of two pieces of felt, glued them together on all but one side (leaving a space for fingers), and added faces, googly eyes, hands, and feet. The finished product looks like this:

Meet Ricky Rectangle

Here’s the rhyme:

Ricky Rectangle is my name,

My four sides are not the same.

Two are short and two are long.

Count my sides, come right along!

I’m Sammy Square, that’s my name

My four sides are just the same.

Sammy and Ricky strut their stuff!

I’m Timmy Triangle, that’s my name!

My three sides are short, or long, or just the same!

I’m Suzie Circle.

Watch me bend!

Round and round from end to end.

Timmy and Suzie. Suzie looks rather surprised! (her mouth is also a circle)

 Ollie Oval, that is me.

I’m not round, as you can see!

Like an egg that is laid,

That’s the way I am made!

Ollie's one happy shape.

While hunting for the original source of this rhyme, I found similar versions online that include stars, diamonds, octagons, and even hearts.  Maybe I’ll add to my shape puppet collection!

Please also visit So Tomorrow, Rain Makes Applesauce, Miss Mollie, Mel’s Desk, Nikarella and Storytime Katie (links to the right) for more Flannel Friday Fun! And if you’re on twitter, search for #flannelfriday.

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