I'll show you how to make this adorable activity/quiet book from a simple place mat from Target in less than an hour. They are so easy!
I originally made this for our summer vacation. We were going to be on planes and in the car for a long time with no movies, so I needed some good distractions and activities. My kids went crazy for their new Activity Books. Not bad for a place mat, right?!
After our trip, they are being used as our new Sunday Quiet books. I am super bored of the same quiet books every week, and I'm not even the one using them! My kids have been using their own Sunday bag. I don't know about you but I have a million bags on Sunday! And I hate carrying around my kids 2 extra bags for the last 2 hours of church. These great little activity books solve both my problems. I can fill them with different activities each week and they are small and compact enough to fit into my bag after our first meeting is over. Awesome!
Let's get started on making it....
-A Cute Place Mat (I found mine at Target. You want it pretty thick since it's the cover of your book. I went with a linen type of fabric.
-Some plastic vinyl (I got mine at Walmart for very cheap)
- Some heavy duty ziplock bags (I used 10 but you can do whatever you want)
- Some fabric for handles (less than 1/4 yard)
Step 1: Cut 2 separate rectangle pieces of plastic. They should be about 1 1/2 inches smaller than your height of the place mat and about 1/4 the width. Mark the center of your place mat (I used a disappearing ink pen). Then pin into place your 2 plastic pieces. These will make the inside pockets of your book.
Step 2: Cut 6 small pieces of sew in Velcro. I pinned these in to the place mat as well. See picture above. I put them on the corners and middle of the sides of the mat.
Step 3: Sew the plastic and the velcro to the placemat. I also added some extra seams along the plastic to make 3 separate compartments in the front pocket, and a small pencil pocket on the back.
Step 4: Lay down your plastic bags along the center of the mat. I used 10 baggies. I had 5 going 1 way and the other 5 facing the other way. They need to overlap by about 1/2 an inch in the middle. Pin these down so they don't move when you sew. Now you will sew down the middle of the baggies, attaching them to the mat. I sewed 3 seams down the baggies, all pretty close together along the center of the mat. See picture.
Step 5: Now you just have to make some handles. You can do anything for this. I decided to find some coordinating fabric and braid it into 2 handles. To braid it, simply take your 3 pieces of fabric (I did 1 inch wide), and pin them together and then pin to your pants. (Make sure you don't pin yourself!)
then start braiding...
Now just figure out how long you want your handles to be, finished off the 2 ends with a zig-zag or overlock, and sew them into place on the 2 sides of your bag. I tuck the overlocked edge under so it doesn't show. Make sure the handles are super secure since it's a guarantee that kids will swing these things around :-)
Step 6: Now the fun part, filling your book!
Since this was for a trip, I filled mine with 1 pack of their favorite candy, playing cards, coloring pencils, workbooks, blank paper, and some small games.
I added some little cars and little "men" to my sons, along with some small books. The dollar bin at Target is great for this. I'm going to swap some stuff out to some church related items when we get back from our trip.