Thursday, August 15, 2013

Flannel Friday-Old vs. New

One of the first flannelboards that I ever made out of felt was The Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown.  It is fun to pull out a flannelboard from the beginning of my career 12 years ago, because my technique has changed and the quality of my work has gone up.  The pieces on the left below are some of my original pieces.  The ones on the right are ones that I redid this week.

My old technique was to cut out shapes based on clip art patterns and color them with Sharpie markers.  It worked, but I personally like the effect that puffy paint has on the finished pieces.  They are more vibrant and easier to see when working with a larger crowd.  We also have an AccuCut machine with many dies at our library and access to more through our local Intermediate School District.  I try to use dies whenever possible now as it is a time-saving device.  I can run the felt through the machine with a die, rather than pinning the pattern and cutting the shape out.

I also learned that it is sometimes a good idea to put a couple of parts of the story together.  For example, I used to pass out 11 separate eggs for this story that are each about 1 inch tall.  They tended to get lost.  Below is what I now do instead.

This is one of the few flannelboards where I pass out the pieces to the kids.  If you do something like this, you will want to set aside 10-15 minutes of your program as it really does take that long for them to get the pieces onto the flannelboard.  I have 28 pieces (plus the barn) in my set so each child in my story times gets one piece to add to the board.  There are places where you can add more animals, such as the red puppies or the bats, if you need more pieces.  By having the kids put the pieces on the flannelboard, this leaves my hands free to remove them for space as we go through the story.  Below are my pictures of The Big Red Barn.

Here is our big red barn.  I added a sunshine because the moon comes up later on.  My barn is also cool because the doors open, which makes it a fun guessing game if we sing Old MacDonald.

The pink pig, the great big horse, a very little horse, and the golden weather vane.  Note-for the weather vane, I cut the golden horse out of felt and mounted it on a blue circle.  The actual vane and direction parts are made out of puffy paint.

Big pile of hay, a little pile of hay, the sheep, the donkey, the goose, the goat, and a scarecrow

Field mouse and corn

The rooster, the pigeon, and the big white hen with one egg

The bantam rooster and the 10 eggs (the bantam hen is still drying).  To add some extra fun, I numbered the eggs.  For future reference, yellow is not a good color to use for numbers that you want to pop out.

Big brown cow and little brown cow

Black cat, tiger cat, big red dog, and little puppy dogs

The little black bats and the moon

Linda at Notes from the Story Room is hosting this week's Flannel Friday round-up.  Stop by for some great ideas!


  1. This is one of my daughter's favorite books. I have it memorized well enough that I could hear it in my head while reading about your pieces above. :) I might have to put this flannel board together for my storytimes!

    1. Thanks! It is a fun farm playset too. With the barn and all of the animals it can touch on many different stories.

  2. It really is interesting to see how far my storytelling has come in my career (just 6-ish years). I wonder if I still have the first "flannel"board I ever made, during library school?

  3. Awesome set!! Love the opening doors on your Big Red Barn so that you can use it for more than one activity! Great post.

  4. Beautifully done! And such a versatile set!

    You have come a loooong way, baby! It was fun to see the differences between what you started out doing and what you do now. Thanks for sharing!

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend!
    ~ K ~


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