Here’s the 2nd of 3 posts for my quiet book pages! If you want to take a peek at my first tutorial, check it out here (includes a parachute buckle page, bead abacus, balloon color matching and play telephone).
Another next page I knew I had to have in my quiet book is a marble maze. I included one in each of my original quiet books, and knew I had to make one again – it’s such a fun way for the kids to practice their fine motor skills (it’s also one of the easiest pages to make!). After that, I came up with the idea to make a two-page spread with train tracks and a “station” to park a train for my train-obsessed boy. Technically, this is a removable part, but the train will not belong to the book, it will just be the one we grab on the way out. As a side note, the measurements for the train page work for the standard wooden trains with the magnets; they may not fit the longer/larger Thomas trains. And the 4th page in this post is a frog who “catches” bugs with his tongue, using snaps. Let’s dive on in!
Train Tracks Page (2-page spread)
- 2 yd thin black ribbon
- 2 4″x4.5″ pieces of fabric (train theme optional)
- About 15″x2″ piece of brown fabric
- 2 9″x9″ squares green fabric
- 2 9″x9″ squares batting
- Coordinating thread
- Heat N Bond
Rather than use interfacing to stabilize and strengthen the fabric for these pages, I just used the batting that I was going to use between the pages anyway – saved a little work, weight, and money! So the first step is to lay your green 9″ squares on top of your batting 9″ squares. Then you need to make your train pocket. Fold over and iron 1/4″ at the top (the 4″ side) of each of the 4″x4.5″ pieces, then stitch in place. I used a zigzag, but straight is fine too. Then place them right sides together and sew around the other 3 sides. Measure 1/2″ square from the seam in each of the two bottom corners and cut it out (see photo below). Open up the holes to make the seams match up and sew them to make a flat bottom (exactly how I explained for the paper bag in my felt lunch post). Then pin the train pouch to the bottom corner of the page (at least 1/2″ from the edges for seam allowance and topstitching) and sew it on.
Now it’s time to make your tracks. Add Heat N Bond to the back of your brown fabric and cut it into 1/2″x2″ strips. I used 28, but you may use more or less depending on how you place them. Once you’ve placed them the way you like, peel off the paper and iron them onto your green squares (again, remember that you’ll lose some of the green to seam allowances and binding the book). I didn’t worry about stitching each one partly because I’m lazy – who wants to sew 28 railroad ties?? – and partly because the ribbon tracks will provide some stability anyway. Speaking of tracks, it’s time to pin it on! Pin the black ribbon along the ties, making the tracks about 1″ apart. At the ends where they meet the train pouch, fold over the ribbon and sew it to keep it from unraveling; the ends that go off the page will get sewed into the seam, so you can just cut those. Then use black thread to sew a stitch along each of the tracks (zigzag would be great, but I just used a straight stitch). Just leave the “tails” of the tracks for now, you’ll cut them later.
Marble Maze Page
- Marble (or button or glass bead, like you’d put in the bottom of a vase)
- 2 9″x9″ squares of solid color fabric
- Contrasting thread
- Maze Patterns (or you can make your own)
This is quite possibly the easiest page ever to put together. Draw your maze pattern on one of the 9″ squares (it won’t show, so just use a pen or pencil), keeping in mind that your marble/button/bead has to fit through the maze pretty easily. Then place the other 9″ square under the one you drew on and sew with contrasting thread along the maze lines. Before you seal your maze off, don’t forget to insert your marble! Use the applique method to tie off the ends of your stitching so it doesn’t come undone. And that’s pretty much it! Your maze will come out backwards from how you drew it, but that doesn’t really matter. The pattern above includes a simple back-and-forth maze and a more complex one with a couple dead ends.
Frog Catching Bugs Page
- Frog Pattern
- Green fabric for frog
- White and black fabric scraps for details
- 2.25″x7″ red fabric
- 3 small sew-on snaps
- 9″x9″ fabric square, bug pattern if possible (if not, you can make some little bugs out of felt)
- 9″x9″ interfacing
- Heat N Bond
- 2 black buttons
- Coordinating thread
Start by cutting out the frog body in green, eyes in white, and mouth in black. Attach pieces to Heat N Bond. Iron the 9″ fabric square and interfacing together, and iron the frog and details onto the front. Applique around the edges of he frog, eyes, and mouth (for a reminder about technique for the corners, click here). Then hand-sew the male part of the 3 snaps to bugs on the background fabric, the buttons for the eyes, and one female part of the snap onto the right side of the end of one of the red strips. Place the two red strips right sides together and sew up the side, rounding around the snap (using the zipper foot may come in handy here), and down the other side, leaving the end open. Turn right side out, tuck the raw edges at the bottom inside the tongue and topstitch 1/8″ from the edge around the seam. Attach the tongue to the frog’s mouth by stitching back and forth several times – and now he’s ready to catch some bugs!
Assemble your pages the same as described in part one of the quiet book tutorial: place the pages right sides together (in this case, just make sure you don’t put the two train pages together because you want them to face one another), stitch around the edges leaving a 3″ opening on the binding side, clip the corners (and extra train tracks), turn right side out, and topstitch around the edge with coordinating thread. The frog and puzzle finished pages are above, and here’s the train:
Stay tuned for the third installment of quiet book pages, followed by making a cover and binding!