Paper and Felt Tangrams

June 7, 2011

I don't know about you, but I always have a really hard time thinking of something I can make for the men in my life for Father's Day.  In general I think I'm a bad and inconsistent gift giver, but it's even worse when it comes to making something for my dad or husband.  I finally came up with a good idea this year - I decided to make a toy for my husband that he can use with our kids.  And this is what I came up with:

For Christmas, my older son got a great magnetic tangram toy.  He really likes puzzles, and these have provided hours of entertainment.  I thought it would be nice to make another set that is a little more portable - something I can bring with us when to church. 

A few months ago I saw an awesome tutorial on Elsie Marley, for making a tangram set from Balsa craft wood.  I love toys made with wood, but I wanted to make my set with the materials I have at home.  I also thought it might be nice to back it with felt, to help the pieces from sliding around when we are playing with them (especially helpful for sticking on the back of the pews at church).

I traced my set to make a pattern, but you can find an image for cutting out the correct shapes here.  I started with a set drawn on chip board, and glued patterned cardstock to the back.  I let my older son choose the paper, and this is what he decided on.  After my glue dried, I cut through both layers with a straight edge, xacto knife, and cutting mat. 

After I had all my pieces, I painted mod podge over the top and edges.

When this dried I glued all my pieces to a sheet of felt.  After this was mostly dry (I'm an impatient person), I cut everything out for the last time.

The internet is full of puzzles to solve, and even some sheets that you can print off for reference.  Or just play around and see what you can come up with yourself.

Since my baby was still napping, I made a quick bag to store everything in (my son choose the fabric also).  This is a super basic drawstring bag with jersey ties.  The construction is really similar to the Hobo Sack from Made, but I didn't bother with boxing the bottom corners.

I am trying to remember to stick my tag in things that I make.  Sometimes I feel a little silly doing it, but I like the way it finishes a project off, and it's nice to have a way to identify my work.
I know my son and husband will have a good time playing with the puzzle set, and I have been brainstorming about other toys I can make for them to use together.  Any suggestions?

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