Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tips on creating flannel board stories

I find that the flannel board is an effective alternate form of storytelling, especially for my young storytime audiences. This method allows me to make eye contact with the children as I tell the story, while the brightly colored felt pieces are attention grabbers. But, you may say, doesn't it take alot of time to cut, glue and assemble all those squiggly little pieces of felt? I won't try and mislead you - making a flannel board story is a labor of love. But here are some tips to make the process less time consuming.

If you haven't discovered Presto Felt, run right out to your local Joann Fabrics and pick up a 9" x 12" sheet, each individually packaged, in a variety of colors! Each piece of felt has a strong adhesive under the peel-away slick paper backing. With Presto Felt you can turn any paper image into an instant felt board piece. Take a simple color image of a duck, perhaps from a clipart collection, cut around the picture leaving a half-inch or so margin, position the picture on the sticky Presto Felt and then cover the duck with laminate. Once you have your 3 layer sandwich (i.e. Presto Felt on the bottom, the picture in the middle and the laminate on top), cut through all layers with good, sharp scissors. I like to use stainless steel nail scissors for the curves and good sewing scissors (like Gingher) for the straight away. Quick, easy and you won't mind having the little ones handle the pieces or put them in their mouths when they help you retell the story! You can easily make replacements.

If you look at the two video clips posted on Story Pockets (The Enormous Turnip and the jataka tale of the Monkey and the Crocodile) you will see more elaborate story pieces, some with embroidered features or beads for eyes. The Presto Felt covers any knots or loose threads on the back and also gives each piece a nice solid feel. If you look carefully at the crocodile, you'll see that he has a wonderful, bumpy reptilian skin. Presto Felt makes embossed felt that was perfect for this project.

I'd be happy to answer any questions and would love to hear about your favorite felt board techniques.


Kelley said...

I love this post! I linked to it on the youth services blog! What a great guide!

funfelt said...

Oh great tips! I love using the felts I sell here: I liked them so much I started selling. LOL They use really thick felt and detailed artwork and it is really affordable. They come with lessons and CDs etc too!

Patte said...

How did I miss the self-stick felt? What a time saver. I like to embroider on my felt pieces to add layers of smaller felt pieces for details. French knots make good eyes.