Monday, December 19, 2011

Because there aren't enough felt versions of the Hall of Justice in this world.

The best thing about making gifts by hand is that they are completely and totally unique. That's what I loved so much about this project that I created for my best friend's little boy for Christmas.

Now Avery is all about superheroes. The kid is frighteningly obsessed with them for a kid so young, and he's got tons of superhero dress up toys, action figures and playsets etc. What he didn't have, was portability...and a swamp made out of felt. That's where I came in.

Behold, the portable superhero felt playmat house.

I based most of my design on the old Justice League cartoons I used to watch. So I had to have some water for Aqua Man, a forest for the Amazonian, Wonder Woman ,the Hall of Justice and the Hall of Doom of course, and then since Batman is both a favorite of mine and Avery's I did a mini Gotham City complete with Bat Signal. I was a little stumped as to what to do next. I attempted Superman's fortress of solitude, but in felt it just looked like a really weird teepee. I ended up doing a section of space instead since superheroes are eager to share their powers with those on other planets as well.

Now I wish I had come up with the idea for this playmat on my own, but I didn't. Check out Cook Clean and Craft's awesome tutorial here for instructions on how to make your very own.

Hers is a more traditional car playmat but I changed a few things in mine. Obviously, I changed the theme of the playmat, but I also sewed all of my pieces on instead of glueing. I think in general glueing felt is fine. However, the child this is going to once pulled the descriptive plaque off of a museum display with his bare hands, and I've personally witnessed his little sister reduce a cell phone to nothing but metal filings and broken plastic chunks. So, it needed to be extra durable.

Plus, I loved being able to create texture, depth and interest with the stitching.

However, sliding this huge felt playmat under my machine while trying to delicately stitch around each tiny piece of felt got pretty tiresome after a while.

At about hour 12 of this project, I turned to my husband and said, "You know I don't really like that kid this much anyway."

I persevered though, if only for the glory of being able to claim that I recreated the Hall of Doom and it's swampy locale in felt.

All in all I'm thrilled with it and I think it's going to be a hit, especially since my kid's can't seem to stop playing with it.

The best part is that it all folds up into this cute little house/scyscraper and his guys can be stowed away inside.

All ready for a road trip, daycare or a trip to Aunt Amy's house!