From the April 2015 issue

Tabletop Toy Car Play Mat Craft

Has this happened to your family? The wait time at the doctor’s office is a LOT longer than you expected. Or it’s taking FOREVER to get the check at dinner. Situations like this can make even the most well-behaved children – and even their parents – lose their cool. The solution? Keep a kid-created play mat in your bag when you need an activity to pass the time. Paired with toy cars or favorite action heroes, you’re ready for anything.

Materials

  • Lightweight canvas fabric (found in the fabric store’s home-dec department)
  • Craft paints, suitable for use on fabric, in several colors
  • 1/4″ Steam-A-Seam fusible binding
  • Scissors
  • Ruler and cutting surface
  • Pencil
  • Iron
  • Paintbrushes
  • Ribbon
  • Button
  • Hot glue and glue gun

Instructions

  1. Prep the canvas for your child to then paint as she sees fit. Start by cutting the piece of canvas to a 19-by-23-inch rectangle.
  2. This play mat is a no-sew project, thanks to Steam-A-Seam webbing. On one of the 23-inch sides of the rectangle, apply the webbing at the edge of that fabric by simply ironing the paper backing. Rip the piece from the roll once you reach the edge of the first side.
  3. Remove the paper backing and fold the fabric down 1/2 inch and press. Your canvas should now be attached. To protect the raw edge you just folded down, apply another piece of webbing to the piece. Again, remove the paper backing and press. Repeat for the other long side of the mat and then the two short sides.
  4. The canvas is prepped. It’s time for your child to start designing! Have her sketch out the design with a pencil and follow up with acrylic craft paint. Add curvy roads, grassy areas and even a pond.
  5. Once painting is done and the piece has dried completely, iron the back of the mat – as the paint may have made the canvas ripple as it dried.
  6. Finish by folding a 36-inch piece of ribbon in half and gluing to the edge of the mat. Glue a button on top and you’re ready to roll and wrap your mat for your family’s next adventure.

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