Feb 17, 2011

Flannel Board Makeover

Before my mom came to visit last time I asked her if she thought she could find our old flannel board we used as a kid.  She did.  This is what it looked like:

So she brought it and I gave it a makeover and ended up with this:
I don't know how many people have an old flannel board lying around (there is a good chance some LDS libraries have a few) but in case you do, here is a tutorial for how I did my makeover.  If you want a flannel board but don't have one to redo-don't fret.  Here is what you will need:
Materials2 thin, smooth boards 24x18"  (you don't want anything to think.  These are like an 1/8" or maybe a 1/4" at the most, thick.  It is preferable that one side is smooth so that you can spray your chalkboard on that side) or an old flannel board.
Chalkboard spray paint (whether you are making over an old board or starting from scratch you need this)
1 piece of flannel 36 + 1/4" x 24"
Duct Tape
Velcro strips (self adhesive)  I bought packages that had 3 large strips in them and then cut each of those in half (I have a picture in the tutorial)
Manila folders (6 or more)
Spray Adhesive (just a note-I had never used this before until this project.  I always thought that whatever spray adhesive could do glue or tape could do just as well but oh was I wrong.  This stuff is one of the best inventions on earth-BUY IT!!!)
1 piece of poster board the same size as one of your wood pieces.

 #1.  Start by tearing off any existing covering.  Mine had a pocket system on one side (I ripped those off as best I could).
 I tore all all the tape around the edges.
 I tore off the flannel on the opposite side too.  This is what I was left with.
 #2.  Find the flat, smooth side of one board and spray it with chalkboard spray paint.  Make sure you get a nice, even coat.  Cover one of the other sides with a piece of poster board cut to size.  You could also paint it or cover it with fabric (that would be really cute).  Mine had the paper bits left over from the pocket system so I wanted to totally cover it.  Here is what mine looked like after this step.
 #3 (And I apologize for the blurry picture but this color and my camera just would not work together).  Lay your boards side by side (the way you want them in the finished product).  You will want to do this outside because you will be spraying them with the adhesive.  Spray adhesive spray over part of one board and spread your flannel over the board (even out the best you can).  I recommend working in small sections rather than spraying the whole thing otherwise you will end up with less arm hair and really sticky (not that I would know from personal experience).  Continue spraying and smoothing the fabric until you have covered the two boards (the flannel will go right over the center so now they are attached together).  Trim off any excess.
 #4.  Now to make a new pocket system.  You will need your manila folders and a sewing machine for this step. 
 Begin by laying one folder on top of the other (fold up) with the second one down an inch and a half from the top of the first folder.
 Now take these to your sewing machine and stitch an inch and a half down from the top of the second folder (see picture).
 Flip the folders over and cut away the bottom folder just below the stitching.  This will reduce bulk as you add more folders.
 Now repeat with the remaining folders.  The last one will have the stitching visible on the front and the rest of the folder hanging down.
 This is how mine looked.  I used 6 folders.
 #5.  I attached the pocket system to the board that I covered with poster board.  I used my spray adhesive for this.  Because I had the rest of one folder exposed and a space underneath my pocket system I decided to add a little dry erase board.  I made this by laminating a piece of cardstock.  The piece size really depends on how much space you have left over.  I made mine purple purely out of choice.  I attached this with spray adhesive too.
 #6.  On the remaining side of this piece I wanted to add a bunch of Velcro strips.  I bought these two packages.  Each contains 3 large pieces of Velcro.
 I cut each piece in half and then spaced them out on my board like this.  I used only one side of the Velcro.  The other side I will save to put on the back of pictures and other objects to display.
 #7.  Lastly (again sorry about the blurry photo) I taped all the edges with white duct tape.  I did the sides first and then the top and bottom.  Attached the duct tape first to one side and then folded it over the top to the back side.  I decided after that I wanted handles.  I am sure someone out there can come up with something better but I just made mine out of duct tape.  I figured that if people can make clothes out of duct tape then I could make two handles.  I used 8" pieces of duct tape (one for each side).  I folded them in half down to about an inch of each end.  Then I stuck the ends to my board.  I covered each end with another piece of duct tape.  It's not that beautiful but serves its' purpose.
 Now if you want to make flannel board pictures here is a great way.  Cut our your desired pictures.  Laminate them (this is not necessary but makes them sturdier for handling by little kids).  Cut them out.  Now spray the back of each picture with spray adhesive (see I told you it was fantastic) and stick them on a piece of flannel.  Let dry a couple of minutes and cut out again.
 Now I will have my lovely (unclothed) model demonstrate how to use your new flannel board.
This is how the flannel side works.

She was very impressed (though the picture doesn't show it).

Here is how the pocket side works.

Here is how the dry erase board works.  She loved this part and no she can't write ABC.

And finally the chalkboard side.  This was also a huge hit.  One thing that I have noticed about chalkboard spray paint is that chalk doesn't erase off of it like a normal chalkboard. I found that wiping it clean (very gently) with a damp cloth works the best.

That's it.  I can't wait to put it to use during toddler story time or primary or family home evening.

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  1. Great job! It looks amazing! But I was wondering if you 'prepared' the chalk board after painting it? I know with the canned chalk board paint you need to turn a piece of caulk sideways and cover the board and wipe off to get it ready for use.

  2. Well if there was some prep to do to get ready to spray with chalk board paint I certainly didn't know. I have actually never thought to read the can. I just wipe my surface clean and spray and it works good. The only thing is you have to wipe it with a damp cloth to clean it otherwise it works just like an ordinary chalkboard.

  3. I've been planning to re-do the flannel board we used when I was a kid, but haven't gotten to it yet! I asked my mom if I could have it since it has sat neglected for oh, about 25+ years! :) It will be great for my little family...now I just gotta fix it up!

  4. love it thanks for the idea

  5. Thanks for this! I've been wanting to make a flannel board for years but have just never got around to it. Thanks for the tutorial! Do you have any good resources for flannel board stories?

  6. I'm curious, why have chalk board at all rather than dry erase?
    I'm not a fan of dealing with chalk :P
    I think it's terrific and flannel boards are becoming underrated, children still are big fans of them!

  7. How fun, it looks great! Where have all the flannel boards gone? (found you from sugardoodle fb post)



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