Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Flannelboard Fun!

Last week we spent time listening to the book "Jump, Frog, Jump!"  Not only did we listen to this book on tape, but we also used our flannel board pieces with the story.  Since these flannelboard pieces are made in such a unique way I thought I would share how I made them!  Keep in mind:  This is not the EASIEST way to make flannel board pieces!  It takes a bit of time, but, in the end, the pieces tend to look very pleasing and hold up very well!  I originally learned this from another teacher while I was in college; and have since made many sets of these for various books.
In order to make flannel board pieces this way, you will need access to a farm implement store (in our area that is Farm and Fleet).  You will find milk filters somewhere in this store (I would suggest just asking someone).  These are large round sheet filters.  They are fairly large (probably about 24 inches in diameter- can't give exact measurements- I don't have any with me- but here's a picture!) You will be able to make several flannel board pieces out of one milk filter. 
Now you can simply lay the milk filter over a book and actually trace the outline of the shape you want to make into a flannel board piece.  Since I wanted larger objects than are pictured in the book itself; I simply drew the animals freehand from the drawings in the book.  

When you have the basic shapes drawn, you will need to go back and color these in with markers or colored pencils.  I have found that the effect of colored pencils is quite unique and gives a very soft effect to the pieces.  You do not need to use any Velcro or flannel on the back of these.  The filters themselves simply stick to the flannel board. 

Now, I know this is not the easiest nor the quickest way to make flannel board pieces for the classroom; but I've had these for years and they are still working well!  Because the filter itself doesn't tear the same way that paper that is laminated will eventually, these should last longer!  (Mine have lasted for probably 7 years so far and are holding up just fine.)

If you dislike drawing or coloring, this probably isn't the project for you!  But, if you have a bit of time, and want to try a unique way to make flannel board pieces, this is a great project to try!  This also may be a nice way to allow children to explore making their own flannel board shapes to use! 
Just be prepared for a few odd looks when you explain to the people at the farm implement store that you DO NOT farm, that you HAVE NO IDEA what these are actually used for (something to do with milking cows...that's about all I know) and that you are going to use these to make FLANNEL BOARD pieces!  Believe me...you'll get a few odd looks!  Ignore those looks...and just keep on walking!

(NOTE:  If you would like a way to these pieces MUCH quicker and easier...read my follow up post to this HERE!)


  1. i might have to try this as i have fleet farm close by . they look great .

  2. There is a fabric that is almost like this but I can't remember what it is called that you can purchase from a fabric store. I have used it in the past just as you have described and love it! I used markers to color my patterns then sprayed with hairspray to keep the marker from rubbing off on my fingers:)

  3. Deborah- I have heard this- I've never tried it though, and can't remember what the material is called either! Good idea spraying the pieces with hairspray. I've never had any problems with the colored pencil coming off, but I'm sure marker probably would! I just liked this method since I could make very large pieces (the milk filters are very big)!

  4. Pam,
    I love these flannel board pieces!

  5. Hi, I dropped back in.
    I think the material you are thinking of from a fabric store is maybe Pellon, or also has other brand names - it is used as a firm interfacing in hems, or suit lapels, etc. We used to use it sometimes years ago in my daycare center. I'm not sure if it has the same weight or feel as the milk filters, but we used permanent marker to colour the pieces.

  6. Brenda- I think you're right! I've never actually used it...or seen it, so I'm not sure if it's similar to the milk filters. Thanks for solving this :)

  7. I like the milk filter idea. I am not artistic enough to free hand so I am thinking if I use an Elmo to enlarge the pictures I could get the same effect. Thanks for the tip!

  8. @Christine- good idea! That should make it much easier :)


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