Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Alphabet Quiet Book: K is for Keys

This post is the twelfth in a series about the alphabet quiet book I'm making with the girls for preschool this year. To read the introduction, click here, and to read the rest of the posts (updated on a weekly basis) click the "Quiet Book" label on the right.

K is for Keys
Have you ever seen those baby teethers that look like a ring of keys, but each key is a different color and topped with a different shape? Something like these, except the set I remember was flexible and more inviting for a baby to chew on. Anyway, that was the first thing I thought of when brainstorming what to make for the letter K. Shape keys. Keys of different shapes. Which lent itself well to a matching page!

Inspiration and Page Design
Although I couldn't find any other quiet book pages that were quite what I imagined for our key page, matching and shapes are standard themes for quiet books, and for preschoolers in general. The closest ideas I found were this key matching page from A Back to Basics Lifestyle, and a laminated paper file folder matching game from Desert Crafter. These were both sort of what I had in mind, but not exactly, so I just sketched out my own page.

I picked the shapes square, rectangle, circle, triangle, diamond, octagon, heart, and star, since they were eight of the most basic shapes, and all quite distinct from each other. I also decided to draw the shape both on the top of the key (the bow) and to echo the shape on the key blade.

After I finalized the key shapes, I traced them onto freezer paper to be my cutting pattern. Then I made a sandwich of two layers of felt with Wonder Under in between, placed the freezer paper on top, and ironed the whole stack to fuse it together. The Wonder Under permanently sticks the felt layers together, while the plastic side of the freezer paper lightly sticks the pattern to the top so you can cut it out and then peel off the freezer paper. Then I stitched as close to the cut edge with my sewing machine as possible. This really is The Best way to make stand-alone felt pieces that are common in quiet books. They're strong, hold their shape, and the freezer paper helps you get very precise edges.

After I finished sewing the keys (and cut duplicate pieces from black felt to make the matching silhouettes), I inserted a small eyelet and clipped them together with 1" book rings. Then I sewed down a piece of a handwoven belt left over from another project, added some belt loops from worn out blue jeans, and had a nice place to keep the key rings when not in use.

Preschool goals for using the Keys page
Learn the names of shapes! Be able to match them up with blank silhouettes! The practice of matching the key not only with the shape on top but getting the blade on the right side is especially good for young preschoolers. Beyond that, I know the Internet is full of preschool shape activities, but I've been going without enough sleep for way too long and I can't think of any right now. What are your favorite shape-related activities?


  1. I love your idea. I especially like the savvy use of old belt loops. I have never heard of 'wonder under' and would be keen to find some as I'm about to launch into making some more felt books for my new grandchildren. I've made 2 books. The first page I tried was inspired by 'imagine our life' after that I freestyled. What do you use to stiffen the pages? I made mine with felt on calico which was quite complicated, so I'm looking for an easier option. Sorry about all the questions :0)

  2. Sorry I missed this comment when you posted it! I just use a medium-weight interfacing to stiffen the pages. Most of my pages have so many layers of fabric anyway that you don't need that much to stiffen them. I iron the interfacing on at the beginning, before I sew any of the additional items on. Once you have two fully assembled fabric pages ready to be sewn together, it's pretty stiff. Hope your quiet book is coming along well!