A photo of a felt playscape of a beach popped up on my Instagram feed this weekend. Wow. What a fun idea. It turns out there are lots of playscapes available on Etsy.com. (I actually purchased one that was amazing). But it’s really fun to make one with exactly the features you want.
I have a stash of wool felt but the greens and blues all had “nibbles” taken out of them from making peg doll outfits. Standard 8 x 12 inch felt rectangles would be ideal but I could only cobble together enough 8 x 9 inch pieces, so that’s how big mine I made it.
You need two pieces the same size for the base. I sewed the felt landscape components on with 3 strands of embroidery thread, using a running stitch and French knots. That left a lot of knots and loose threads on the back. So the 2nd piece of felt covers all that up and makes the playscape sturdier.
Here are my landscape components:
a hill, made by using 3 different size circles. The bottom two circles can be placed one on top of the other and sewn to the base together. Then the third circle is sewn on top of them.
a brook, with 3 stepping stones.
flowers made with scraps. Cute, but I think not sturdy enough to hold up to play. Next time I’ll just cut wavy circles and fasten them with French knots.
a trout, hiding near the stones in the brook
a blackberry bush
a fox that’s a button. The button has a loop on the back, so I cut a tiny slit with a craft knife and pushed the loop through and fastened it on the wrong side of the base. Safety note: do not use buttons if the playscape is for a child under 3 years old.
The dolls on the mat are 2 angel pegs and one boy peg that I made.
This is a great project for a child who has some basic hand sewing skills. And it also has STEAM potential for homeschoolers. Using my design a child can explore these topics:
Foraging for berries (there are wild blackberries and wild blueberries near my house)
Fluid dynamics—I attempted to make eddies around the rocks in the stream and the fish is in a quiet space behind one of he rocks
Art—use of color, sewing as decoration
Adding other components makes the playscape even more exciting.
When designing felt playscapes, the sky’s really the limit. In fact, I’m planning to design a moonscape for my next one!