Why I Like Felt for Flannelboards

So I talked a little last week about why I’m so hooked on clip art for my flannelboards, but I wanted to give equal time to felt! Here’s my list of why I like to use felt for flannelboards, too.

Layering Pieces

To make the laminated clip art stick to the board, I need to use Velcro sticky dots on the backs, and most of the time this works just fine. For some rhymes, though, I want to be able to hide one piece behind another piece very easily, without worrying about lining up the Velcro dots. Felt is perfect for this, because everything sticks to everything else.

Good examples of this are the popcorn shapes, where I slap the popped corn on top of the kernel, and the duckling hiding behind the egg shell:

Using Both Sides

While I have made a two-sided set of clip art for the Clean and Dirty Pigs, most of the time when I want to use both sides of the flannel piece, it’s easier to use felt. Both sides will stick to the board without any fuss.

My Summer Shapes set is like that:

Simple is Best

For some flannelboard sets, the simpler the better. When all I need is shapes without much detail, I love using felt. I think the visual impact of the solid colors on the solid background of the board is really strong.

Here’s the set for “My Big Blue Boat.”

Visual & Tactile Interest

Most of our kids spend a lot of time in front of computer screens, game console screens, TVs, looking at images that are flashy and slick. I love that felt pieces give them something completely different to look at and think about. When we spend the time to layer our felt pieces with multiple shapes and colors, there’s a real tactile element to the pieces, too. I also like the subtle message to grownups that activities don’t have to be plugged in and souped up to hold our children’s attention.


While I need to purchase a list of materials for my clip art images, all I need for felt shapes is the felt and glue, and sometimes some floss or thread.

Artsy Craftsy

This reason doesn’t have much to do with storytime or with presentation, but it’s a real reason nonetheless: I like to do crafts. I like needlework, sewing, papercrafts, and I like learning new techniques. I spend a good amount of time on my clip art images, changing the colors, changing the shapes, making them look just the way I want, and that’s satisfying, but it’s not the same as making something with my hands. I really enjoy getting out the felt and scissors and needles and thread and glue and patterns to make something for storytime…I just like making stuff. I even liked sewing on all the little seeds onto my strawberries!

What materials do you use for your flannelboard sets? Why do you like them? Let us know!

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8 Responses to Why I Like Felt for Flannelboards

  1. Katie says:

    I really like being crafty too. It’s my stress relief to make these flannels! Also, I adore your new header — super cute!

  2. Melissa says:

    Thanks! Everybody at work knows which desk is mine without asking. 🙂

  3. abcgirl says:

    I love to use milk filters! A co-worker introduced me to the wonders of KenAg nongauze 15″ milk filters that you can buy (at least here in Wisconsin) at local farm supply stores. You can see through them well enough to trace pictures, they pick up crayon and colored pencil really well and I just discovered that you can cut 8.5″x11″ sheets from them and RUN THEM THROUGH THE PRINTER! so exciting! they are sturdy enough that i don’t think kids could tear them unless there were little skinny detail bits. in fact, kids could probably chew on them and they’d survive just fine, but they cut beautifully (even with Accu-cut or Ellison dies) and they stick to flannelboards great. the only thing keeping them from being the PERFECT flannelboard material is that they don’t stick to themselves, so if you have a multi-layer flannelstory you have to mix in some felt pieces.

  4. Melissa says:

    Holy cow, milk filters are definitely a new one to me! They sound like they work a lot like the Pellon interfacing from craft stores that some storytimers and crafters use. And how cool is that about the printer? THANK YOU for sharing this, I can’t wait for everyone else to read about this too.

  5. Andrea says:

    I love milk filters too, but had no idea they could go through a printer! Very excited to try this.

  6. Nicole says:

    unfortunately I’m not as crafty and don’t have much time to spare, so milk filters are better for me… just print and cut. I do like the craft element behind using real felt/flannel, but milk filters allow people with busy schedules like me to actually be somewhat creative yet not put as much work on myself.

  7. Pingback: How to Make a Flannel Story | Thrive After Three

  8. Angela says:

    How has everyone’s milk filter print outs been holding up? I find they hold the black ink from my printer just fine, but the color ink will come out if it gets wet(toddler taste testing). I have a canon printer with normal printer ink if that helps/makes a difference.

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