Monday, August 9, 2010

Felt Playhouse

This project has grown and multiplied before my very eyes. When I started, it was because I accidentally happened upon a blog post that was very cute. Since then, I have looked for other felt playhouses, searched Etsy, and eventually planned out what became a very extensive (and somewhat expensive) playhouse for our little people. I have finished the "meat" of the outside of the playhouse and pieced the "shell" together. I have several more items to make for the outside and 4 interior walls that I haven't even started. However, it is now functioning!!! I finished the scalloped roof this morning, and it is on the breakfast table for use.

I've already received a lot of questions about the playhouse.  Here are a few answers:

It took me around 6 weeks of working on it when I had the time to complete what you see in these pictures.  I didn't work on it daily, but there were many hours invested.
If you buy all of the felt at 1/2 off, you would spend around $100 for the felt that I purchased, and I still have quite a bit that I'll be using on the interior walls.
I can follow patterns, but I'm more of a figure it out and go kind of person. There is a blog out there that has a few patterns for flowers, etc. for the playhouse.
I really just did research on what was out there (blogs, flickr, etsy, etc.) and then I started a "wish list." I sketched out what I wanted to do on each side in a spiral notebook, and then got started. No tutorials. Rachel from One Pretty Thing asked me if I had a tutorial to share. I'm not sure I'm prepared to take the time to write one, but I guess I could as I go through the interior walls....We'll see. I certainly learned a few things that are easier one way than another. For example, I wasn't sure how to do the scalloped roof without drawing a pattern on, and I didn't want to do that prior to attaching the hanging walls, because I wanted to make sure they were perfectly even. I realized I could put the playhouse on the table, flip the excess hanging fabric up onto the table over a rotary cutting mat, use a marked lid as a template, and a rotary cutter. It was so easy that way! No drawing, no measuring, no fumbling with the whole playhouse on the floor.
The house fits over our counter-height breakfast table and is 54" square and 36" tall if I remember the height correctly. I used a light colored felt for the walls in order to let some light in, and I made 2 windows (black mesh screen), the door with the "glass" (vinyl), and the dog house door opening to allow for light. The roof is solid felt. Eventually, I hope to make board games that can be used on the roof or in the house and can easily be stored in pockets on the roof. Again, I have a long "wish list." There's plenty of light inside to play. The kids spent a good portion of today playing in and around it since it was already set up.
I sewed everything. I didn't use any glue. The twins are so young that anything that's glued would be torn apart almost instantly and, more than likely, ingested.
For the interior walls, I would love to not add another layer of fabric for the "walls", but I don't want seams across all of the outside either. I may use a lightweight cotton and sew it to the felt for reinforcement after I attach all of the pieces. I know that I want a fireplace with book "cases" (pockets of sorts that look like book spines and hold actual books for the kids to read while in their house) on each side of the fireplace, vinyl pockets or "picture frames" for their artwork, a mail sorting station, and a refrigerator that is stocked with removable food for them to use in conjunction with the garden food items.
Yes, I did take into consideration both genders. My daughter's room would have been a prime spot for a "tea house" or "bake shop" etc. My son is "baby destructo" he just wants to be able to shake, throw, pull, tear, bounce, and LAUGH. I wanted things that were gender neutral. They can all cook, plant, have pets, wash laundry, deliver mail, etc. I didn't want to have to make 2 (one with trains and the other with tea sets.) Everything on the house that I made is something that we have at our home in some fashion. (No, we don't have a clothesline - probably against HOA codes, but I do have a drying rack for delicates in the utility room.)
I will say that even folded, it's more bulky than I was anticipating since our table is so big (seats 8.) However, I don't think I would use cotton for the exterior walls, because I feel like the other items would be too heavy and would cause sagging and pulling on the cotton. Felt is the "fabric of choice" because you don't have to finish many edges. (I think it's a good idea for the doors since they'll take a beating.)
If you think of anything else, feel free to ask. I may keep all of these notes so that I can add them to a tutorial if I decide to put one together eventually.
Good luck!
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  1. you are SO awesome and talented Dawn!

    Love ya girlie -

  2. my friend made one for her children that fits a counter high table it looked amazing as does yours. For the inside she attached it to the top and they just hung down. She later added some quick ties to it. She wasn't sure if she wanted to use Pvc pipes for the summer outside. It seemed to work well. Great job and I can;t wait to see what you do with the inside!