So, not gonna lie… I love crafting. Am I good at it? Ehhhh, depends what you consider “good” so let’s just stick with the I love crafting statement.
I’d seen these quiet books all over pinterest and really wanted to make one of my own for Little S. My biggest concern was time & effort because I only had a couple days until our trip and the hubs was out on a business trip, so that meant nap time + bed time was all the craft time that I had.
I found a few different versions of the quiet book; some made from felt and others that were made on laminated cardstock, I went with the felt version. Why? I knew (from my old school Sunday School felt board stories-forgot what those looked like?) that felt sticks beautifully to felt which meant I wouldn’t need as much velcro and I also knew it would be super easy to put together using either fabric glue or hot glue. Win 🙂 So I drove myself and that little 18 month-old energizer bunny to my nearest Hobby Lobby and loaded up on my “quiet book” supplies.
Couple of things before I get into the nitty-gritty of the how-to: #1 some of the pages were inspired by other quiet books I saw and some I made up on my own based on my toddler and what she is interested in #2 I definitely messed up along the way so I’ll let you know how I fixed things without having to start over
I’ll break it down page by page for you & will let you know what I would change if I knew then what I knew now.
Materials: felt “paper” (some solids, some prints), fabric glue, hot glue gun, hot glue gun sticks, beads (a few varieties), buttons, velcro dots, thread, string, markers.
Before you begin you’ll need to decide what size you want your book to be. This is where I made mistake #1. I had purchased the long sheets of felt “paper” and just figured that I would use I full sheet to be both my front AND back cover – easy peasy, right? So there I was cutting all my inside pages by just chopping those full pages in half and when I went to bind all my pages I realized (10 pages too late) that the thickness of the pages meant the cover would be short on one end.
What I should have done (and what you should do) is first decide what size you want the pages to be, cut them out, stack them and make sure to take that measurement into account and add it to 2 page widths to make the cover. For example, say you want a book that has 10 8-inch wide pages and when you stack up your 10 pages and their height is 3 inches- in order to figure out the amount of felt you’ll need for your cover you know you’ll need enough felt for each of the two pages (front and back cover) AND the binding height so 8+8+3=19-inches of felt to make your cover. Phew, hope that made sense. I promise the cover was the trickiest thing for me.
Another note- apparently felt fabric exists in bolts. I could have just bought a couple yards of the stuff for wayyyy cheaper than all the felt “paper” I bought. That would have also made the whole cover process so much easier.
How did I fix this? I figured out how much of a gap there would be and cut a tiny strip of felt and sewed it to the cover I had already made. I added a button to loop a closure piece through to help keep any little pieces from falling out. This made the cover long enough AND looked intentional.
How I made the…
letters: I printed out a template using the font/size I liked in Microsoft Word, then it was just trace + cut + glue
butterflies/ladybugs: these were the print on a sheet of the felt “paper” I bought- just cut them out and glue
sun/flowers/grass: freehand sketched on a sheet of paper then used it as a stencil to trace + cut + glue
Page One- Hand:
Learning Objective (this is the teacher in me) – counting numbers 1-5, comparing size of hand, colors
This was, by far, the easiest page to make. Choose a fun background page (I chose this one because I wanted be able to talk about colors), trace your hand on the felt paper, cut it out, number each digit with marker, glue it, and boom, you’ve got page 1.
If I knew then what I know now: I would skip this page. Little S didn’t care for it and skipped over it every.single.time.
Page Two/Three – Counting Beads/Name Beads:
Learning Objective – number counting & association/ name recognition & letter recognition
First, I created a number template by printing out the font size & style I wanted on Microsoft Word and from there it was just trace + cut + glue. Then I just measured 5 lengths of string and put the corresponding number of beads on each string. I used a hot glue gun to glue down the string and once they were all glued down & cool, I cut small strips of matching felt to put on the ends. I figured this would help the kiddo from picking at the end of the string and made it look a little cleaner. Viola! Done with page two 🙂
I had a slight slip-up on this page, because at this point I hadn’t realized I could use the back of the previous page as my background for this page. By the the time I realized this, I was done with page one AND had realized that the back of it was kind of ugly so I didn’t want to use it as a background. In order to fix this issue, I just used fabric glue to stick page two directly to the back of page one (instead of using the ugly back). It’s not a great fix because the tiny human tries to pull the pages apart (assuming that they should be two separate ones), but it works out okay.
I had learned my lesson by the time I got to page three so I made sure to consider the felt color before I started 🙂 We’re Texas Aggies in this house (whoop!) so I knew that there had to be some maroon + white somewhere in this book. What better page than her name bead page? I used some maroon embroidery thread and strung letter beads through it and looped it up and through the center of the page. Since the embroidery thread was thinner than the string I used on the previous page I had to knot & sew (glue didn’t seem to be a very sturdy option). After that was done, I cut some different sized circles (free-hand) and glued them randomly over the page.
If I knew then what I know now: I would definitely keep these two pages in the book, but possibly separate them. Little S loved the beads, but after playing with the ones on page two, she wasn’t too interested in the ones on page three.
Page Four/Five- Apple Picking:
Learning Objective- fine motor skills
This was our favorite, favorite page and I wish I could say I came up with it myself, but it was definitely pin-spired 🙂
I used the back of page three as my background for the basket and just free-hand drew + cut + glued a basket on page four. I made sure to only put glue at the edge of the basket so it would create a little pocket that we could put the apples inside of.
I started with the tree leaves for page five that way I knew how big of a trunk + branch I would need. Honestly, I just free-handed all of it, cut it out, and glued it. Time crunch, remember? No time to be a perfectionist. For the apples I made sure that I used the same side of the velcro on all of them. This step is very important! (I hot glued the hook side to the tree and the fuzzy side to the apple.)
If I knew then what I know now: This page is a keeper. For an older kiddo, I might turn this into a seasons lesson-type page and have different options to stick on the tree for spring, summer, winter, fall.
Page Six/Seven- Flower Tic+Tac+Toe/Shapes:
Learning Objective- strategy/shape recognition + matching
I found this tic-tac-toe felt flower activity in the dollar spot at Target and thought it would be a great addition to my little book. It was as easy as taking it out of the package and gluing it onto the back of page five in order to create my page six. Real, back-breaking crafting…let me tell ya 😉
Page seven was about equally as difficult. I cut out some shapes on different colored felt, traced them onto the page and boom, finished.
If I knew then what I know now: I knew the concept of tic-tac-toe would be too difficult for my 18 month old, but I thought she might like taking the flowers out and placing them in the little pockets. This mama thought wrong. She did not like this page and let me (And everyone else around us) know it. I would completely choose a different activity for this page. The shape page was a hit, I only wish I had added velcro to each piece because some of the shapes didn’t stick as well as I had hoped and kept falling out of the book when it wasn’t in use.
Page Eight/Nine- Flower Scene:
Learning Objective- discussing colors, butterflies, ladybugs
I drew the sun, flowers, cloud, and grass free-hand on the felt and cut and glued it on the page. The butterflies and ladybugs were patterns on the sheets of felt “paper” that I found so I just cut them out and added them to my little flower scene.
If I knew then what I know now: The little one kept trying to pick all of the ladybugs and butterflies off of this page. I think having some pages with velcro and some without might have been a little confusing. I wish I hadn’t glued the ladybugs or butterflies to the page so Little S could have the option to move some of them around.
Page Ten/Eleven- Name/Color Matching:
Learning Objective- name recognition and letter order/ color matching
On page ten, I used Microsoft Word to find the size and font for the name. I just stuck with what I had used on the cover page for consistency purposes. I used some leftover butterflies that didn’t get used on the previous page just to make the page look pretty 🙂
The color recognition page was as easy as it looks. I cut matching squares (each color had a pair), glued one of them down, and left the other one loose to allow for color matching.
If I knew then what I know now: I would have added velcro to the squares on the color matching page, some of the squares would fall out when the book was closed and getting shifted around during out trip.
Page Twelve/Thirteen- Face Features:
Learning Objective- identify facial features
I think it’s pretty apparent that my free-hand skills failed me here, but you know…I was making this for a toddler so she hasn’t learned about to judge yet 🙂 I started by cutting out the general face shape and then cutting out the different facial features and hair. I glued velcro to the back of each piece and glued its pair in the correct spot on the blank face shape. I also placed velcro on page thirteen to “store” the pieces while they weren’t on the actual face.
If I knew then what I know now: I don’t think I would have changed anything… well, except trying to make the face look a little prettier.
Page Fourteen/Fifteen- Monkeys on the Bed/Buttons:
Learning Objective- nursery rhyme/ looping buttons
My little girl LOVES the “monkeys on the bed” nursery rhyme so I knew I wanted to have a page dedicated to it. Since I was free-hand drawing (and I am NO artist) the bed was a little tricky, but after a few tracings I was able to get it drawn + cut + glued. The monkeys were easy because I found a sheet of felt “paper” that had sock monkeys on it so I just cut out a few of them. I did not glue the monkeys down so that we could make them “jump” on the bed.
Page fifteen is the back cover of the book so I knew I could sew some buttons on it and not have to worry about what was on the next page. Once the buttons were stitched on I cut shapes out of the left over felt and cut a slit down the middle of each shape to be looped over the buttons. I chose to not have all corresponding colors because I wanted it to be more of a fine motor skill practice than a color matching activity.
If I knew then what I know now: I would add velcro to the monkeys. Again, the whole “they kept falling out when we weren’t using them” thing. The button page was a little advanced for her, but I know that it won’t be too long before this is a fun page for her.
To bind the book I just stacked all of the completed pages together, lined up the cover where I would want it and hot glued the “binding” like crazy. I’m not exaggerating. I put glue directly on the binding section of the cover as well as the seam of the pages that would be touching the binding. I made sure to hold it in place for a while and not try to mess with the pages until the glue had cooled and dried. I went through and spot-hot-glued any loose little sections so that the pages would be fully toddler proof.
Overall, this took a couple nap times and was definitely worth the effort!