DIY Felt Harvest Play Scene 3


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Sewing Bee Fabrics Tutorial

How To Make A Felt Harvest Play Scene For Toddler Quiet Time

Harvest play scene tutorial

Autumn is on its way, which means the garden is an all you can eat buffet for raspberries. We've been digging up potatoes whenever we need them, and the apples are looking more delicious every day. My little boy is definitely seeing the same excitement in finding food in the garden as me, and I think he'll be very disappointed when winter sets in and it all stops. So, for his 3rd birthday I decided to make him his own garden that he can plant and harvest all year long. I love the idea of quiet books but why not think bigger! So I made this giant play scene for the side of his bed. If you want to make this project, please consider the safety of your child. Don't make this for very small children that may get stuck against the side in their sleep. I was also very careful to make sure that the bottom edge was tucked firmly under the mattress, the top tied on well at several points, the right side tucked behind his pillow and the left side tucked behind the toys he insists accompany him. So the chances of him managing to get an arm or leg stuck are very unlikely. If you have any concerns though, this would also work great with a dowel threaded through the top then hooked against the wall... Plus you wouldn't get an accidental harvests occasionally in the night that way

To make this project you can choose to sew it all, glue it all, or like me, do part of each which makes it a great project for everyone.

What you will need:

Felt - enough to cover the entire width of the cot side, by the height of the bars (including the part that is hidden by the mattress) - split between blue and brown. Also approx a fat quarter of green felt and scraps of various other felt colours to make your fruit and vegetables and basket.

Backing fabric - Ideally non woven so it wont fray - I used a thick dense mesh fabric. It was gifted to me so I really have no idea what it's technical name is! Sorry! The stiffer it is the better though as this reduces the movement as the child moves overnight which means less felt pieces falling off. If you don't have a very stiff backing fabric, you may want to put a layer of stiff interfacing in the middle for the same effect. Again, you need enough to cover the entire width of the cot side, by the height of the bars (including the part that is hidden by the mattress).

Thread / Glue / Both! This can be done completely sewn or completely no sewn or like I did, somewhere in between. I personally find with felt that some of the cheaper fabric glues just don't hold up well on felt for long so I prefer to use gutterman fabric glue.

 You may like to use quilt basting spray for a temporary hold while you sew down any pieces, to make it easier but this is not essential. You may also like to use fray check on the ends of your ribbon to stop them fraying.

How To Make It:

Measure the size you want to cover then cut this in the backing fabric.

I then cut approximately 3/5 height brown felt and 2/5 blue (remember some brown will be below the mattress level, so this way it will appear more half and half. Cut them the same width and lay on top of your backing fabric.

Making a fabric background for felt play time

I used a quilt basting spray to hold it in position with clips / pins around the edges as I stitched the edges down. Obviously if you're gluing your background down, then you wouldn't need to be using quilt basting spray. You may still want to pin a few spots and glue a bit at a time to make sure it attaches straight.

Sew all the way (or glue) around the edges making sure to pop bits of ribbon sticking out from between the 2 layers periodically at the top and also at the bottom if your are attaching it to cot bars. If you are using grosgrain ribbon, the ends tend not to fray, but satin ribbons do so I put a little bit if fray check on the ends first. I Folded my ribbons and attached at the fold. This means you have 2 ends to tie together around a bar, and the end that is trapped is less likely to fray and break with repeated tugging by a tantruming toddler!

Attaching ribbons

I then just followed my stitching around all the edges, but equally you can just make sure all your edges are securely glued.

Felt play scene background

Now comes the fun part... Decorating it!

First I decided on my permanent pieces - 2 trees, a bushes and a big line of grass. Trees I found were perfect for hiding my join in the blue felt and the grass perfect for hiding the join between the blue and brown! To make the trees, I made slightly curved rectangles - glued all over the back and stuck them down first. Then I made big cloud shapes for the tops of the trees. For the bush, I just made a spiky rough oval shape.

I then covered the bottoms of these and the blue / brown felt join with a long piece of green felt with 1 edge straight and the other cut spiky for my grass. It's fine to join pieces - mine is. Just make sure the edges are flush to each other when you glue or sew them down or it will look obvious.

No sew felt tree

Next I put a basket in for storing all the pieces that aren't currently being played with. To do that, I cut out 1 full basket shape and fixed that to the backing. Then I cut a second one, this time without the handle. I added some blue felt as trim at the top to make it a little prettier and to make it more obvious where to get in to it, then glued just the sides and bottom edge to the basket shape, positioning this piece directly on top to make a pocket.

Felt basket

Then I thought it would be fun to be able to plant potatoes into the ground so I made a couple of pockets by cutting little rectangles. I curved the bottom edges so they would be less likely to catch on the bed sheets and pull up, then glued down the sides and bottom. I cut a wavy green line as a stem and a few leaves then glued my plant so the bottom edge of the stalk went down into the pocket. I cut some wonky ovals small enough to fit in the pockets for potatoes. These aren't glued. You want to be able to move these!

Felt potatoes

Now you just want to make some more things that can easily be moved around and played with. So I made up some fruit and vegetables. I cut out pieces then glued them together. So below you can see how I've glued green tops on to make the broccoli, carrot and strawberry shapes. I also cut out little navy blue circles for blueberries for the bush, some red circles with little brown rectangles for stalks for apples for 1 tree and some small red circles with an upside down brown v shape to join 2 together for cherries for the other tree. I decided in the end that the strawberries also needed a spiky green bush but left that one free to be moved around.

felt broccoli
Felt strawberry
Felt carrot

Then I thought it would be fun to change the weather in the garden, so that we could play and talk about how plants need sun and water to grow. To make the sun I cut out a big circle then cut notches out of it. Then I cut out some cloud shapes in white and grey, a few rain drops in blue and a couple of bits of yellow felt cut into lightning shapes.

Lastly, I added in a butterfly and ladybird.

Felt sun
Felt clouds - weather

So here is what the harvest play scene looks like with only the permanent glued / sewn on pieces in place. You can just about see the ribbons tied on along the top.

Harvest play scene tutorial - DIY quiet time for toddlers.

Then here it is with all the movable parts placed on.

Harvest play scene tutorial - DIY quiet time for toddlers.

So it would be fair to say I had a very excited little boy finding it when he came upstairs to look for me!

Harvest play scene tutorial - DIY quiet time for toddlers.
Harvest play scene tutorial - DIY quiet time for toddlers.

Have you had a go at making felt play scenes or felt quiet books? Or maybe you play harvesting fruit and vegetable in autumn a different way? I'd love to hear what has worked for you keeping your toddlers entertained with felt!

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