Thursday, December 22, 2011

How to Make a Quiet Book: Puzzle Page

About Kristin:
Hi, I’m Kristin. God has blessed me with a wonderful husband of 8 years and an adorable little 20-month-old maniac named Jack. We live in Mesquite and my husband Wade and I both work for the school district here, I as a graphic artist and Wade as a video producer. I wouldn’t call myself a crafter and I am certainly not a sewer, but I have always loved to create (both on and off the computer).


My assignment for the swap was the puzzle page. Halfway down this post is an example of a nine-square felt puzzle with a cute corresponding page toassemble the puzzles on. Here is my version of the same:

Page Assembly:

1. Make a stencil of the word “PUZZLES” by printing the word out on cardstock and then cutting it out with an x-acto knife. Before printing, I tilted and overlapped the letters in Photoshop so that they were one big shape instead of separate letters. Using the cardstock stencil, sponge-paint the word on the top of 8.5x10 sheets of thick pellon. Obviously cardstock is not ideal material for a stencil – the paper soaks up the paint and warps with use – but I was surprised by how well it held up for 20 pages. It would certainly be good enough for a single use.

2. Outline the letters with a black sharpie. The pellon ate my sharpies – I went through three markers before finishing – but the outline was nice for hiding any little painting mistakes.

3. Sew a 6x6-inch square of black felt to the middle of the page, and decorate however you like. I just added a quarter-inch border of whatever felt I had left over after finishing the puzzles.

Puzzle Assembly:

I wanted to steer clear of the symmetrical single-shape puzzles. Maybe I’m underestimating, but I think those puzzles would be really difficult for preschoolers to solve! So, using coloring sheets as a starting point, I came up with the three puzzles below. If you make your own, it helps to overlay the grid lines so you make sure you won’t be cutting through something important (like eyeballs) and each piece has a decent chunk of the design (rather than just little slivers on the edges). This was harder and took more time than I anticipated!

Assembly of the puzzles was very similar to other pages in the swap:

1. Trace each unique shape of the puzzle onto Wonder Under. For the purposes of doing 20, it helped me to number each shape as I traced so that I wasn’t constantly going back and recounting.

2. Iron the tracings onto the felt. If you traced only one color at a time (first owls –then moons, eyeballs, and stars – and last beaks), then you can skip cutting around each piece and just iron the entire sheet of wonder under to the felt.

3. Cut out the felt pieces. By the way, I know cutting out 100 stars seems crazy (my husband certainly thought so) but this really goes pretty fast – I put all 20 owl puzzles together in one afternoon, and it was by far the hardest of the three puzzles.

4. Peel off the paper backing and assemble the picture back together onto a 6x6-inch felt square. Iron.

5. Finish it up by drawing the eye pupils in with a sharpie, then sew as needed (for strengthening).

6. Iron a 6x6-inch square of thin, fusible pellon to the back of the puzzle. This hides the ugly backside sewing and hopefully strengthens the thinner pieces without adding bulk.

7. Cut the puzzle into nine 2x2-inch pieces. Yikes, this feels so wrong after all that work! A rotary cutter and an extra-large self-healing mat made quick work of all the zillions of 6x6-inch squares in this project and for cutting the puzzles apart.

That’s it! The puzzle pieces are all stored in pockets on a facing page.

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