Friday, April 20, 2012

plush alphabet magnets - part 1: the pattern

Inspired by some various projects I've seen for using up scraps, I decided to make an alphabet matching game using some of my ridiculous amounts of scrap fabric.  And of course, the project kept growing as it went, and is taking a while to perfect, but I think the outcome is going to be great!

I may even use this same idea/pattern to attempt an alphabet quilt.  No, I don't actually know how to quilt.  Yes, I'm crazy.

I decided to break this project up into multiple posts because I think otherwise I'd end up with one monstrous, confusing tutorial.  So today I'm posting about the beginning of the process, and the free printable pattern!

For the letters I used Arial Black - I wanted a font that would be easy to trace and cut out, and the letters would be very clear.  If you make your own pattern, be sure to choose a sans serif font - one without the little lines at the edges of the letters - because they are much easier to cut out, and also easier for kids to identify.

ex:  A     A

The one on the left is a sans serif, the one the right is not - it has serifs.

Here is the printable pattern for all of the letters.

Then came the tricky part - coming up with something for each letter that could be easily identified when just the shape was cut out of fabric.  And that a young child would know - or at least mine would.  It took a little while, a little cheating (X and Q are really hard!), and the help of my sisters, but I finally came up with shapes for all the letters!

(still trying to come up with a few letters here)

Some of them I modified from clip art and other pictures I found online, and many of them I drew myself (I'm really proud and surprised by this!  Maybe I can draw after all!  But only basic shapes...)  But I finally got all of them the right size, and (hopefully) identifiable shapes.

So here is the printable pattern for all of the matching alphabet shapes!

Once you've printed out your pattern, start cutting them all out.  It takes a while to cut out all the little pieces, so you can start on that while you wait for the rest of the tutorial!  :)

A few of the shapes might be harder to identify, so let me explain.  J is a jellyfish, but it's going to have ric-rac/ribbon tentacles, so I didn't draw them on the shape outline.  Q is for queen, but this one I kind of cheated and did a crown.  The rectangle for X is for "x marks the spot" and it's a treasure map - I have some awesome pirate-themed fabric that is perfect for this one!  Is this one cheating too?  I think it might be... And the circle for Y is for yo-yo.  I'm going to attach a string/ribbon to it.

Once it's all finished, I'll have the matching game magnet book pages with all of the letters and shapes.

One of the fun things about these patterns is that they can be used for so many other things - as stencils, coloring pages, other matching games, really anything.  If you come up with a fun way to use them, please share!

More on actually making the plush magnetic versions from fabric scraps coming very soon!

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