Toddler Twister Quilt

One of my friends from Jacksonville (and college – funny how the military makes the world so small!) gave me a great idea when we got together before we moved to Pensacola – she thought that the game of Twister would be a great game for toddlers learning their colors, getting to know the difference between left and right, and improving their balance.  But traditional Twister is way too big for a 2 or 3 year old to use!  It’s also slippery, which can be very frustrating for someone just learning how to move their bodies in such a controlled way.  So I made a Twister quilt that’s toddler-sized, and with the following tutorial, you can too!


  • 1.5 yd fabric for quilt front
  • 1.5 yd fabric for quilt back
  • 1.5 yd fusible batting
  • 1/4 yd of green, yellow, blue, and red fabric
  • Heat N Bond Lite
  • Coordinating thread

Start off by cutting your quilt front piece to be 37″x46″.  This will actually be an inch too large on all sides, but it pays to have a little wiggle room later.

Now you’re going to become a circle-making machine.  Trace 24 4″ circles onto the paper side of your Heat N Bond.  You can use a paper template, but it’s soooo much easier if you can find something that’s about 4″ diameter to trace.  I have some formula cans from when Peach was little that are a smidge over 4″, but that was good enough for this project.  Cut the circles into strips of 6 and iron one strip onto each of the 4 solid color fabrics; cut out all 24 circles.


Top: 24 circles. Bottom: 6 red circles ready to be cut out.

Start placing your circles on the quilt front, using your ruler to keep them straight (you can peel the paper off the back as you place them).  Start with the green row (left side of the quilt) and place your first circle 6″ in from the top and the side.  Place the next couple of circles 2″ from the one before it.  When you run out of ruler, iron the circles in place, then line up again and continue.  When it’s time for the 2nd row (yellow), place the circles 3″ from the 1st row.  Continue with blue, then red, placing circles of the same color 2″ apart and the rows of different colors 3″ apart.  Then give the whole thing a good press to make sure the circles are secure.  Then you can iron the quilt front onto the fusible batting.

Placing Circles

Top: First row of green started. Bottom: Placing the yellow based on the green.

I’m not going to lie, the next step is the hardest part of this project.  To keep the circles in place, you need to applique around the edges.  The applique itself is easy – a simple circle isn’t hard to do.  But you have to rotate the whole quilt around each of those circles, which can be a little tough.  If you’re not up for doing a zigzag applique, at least straight stitch 1/4″ from the edge around each circle – when the quilt is used, the circles are going to take some abuse, and the Heat N Bond alone won’t hold up.


A bit tedious, but those circles aren’t going anywhere!

As I mentioned earlier, we cut the quilt front to be a little too big.  So trim it and square it up; each edge should be 5″ from the outermost circles, making it 35″x44″.  Then, lay the quilt front on top of the wrong side of the quilt back, leaving at least 2″ around each side.  Safety pin the front to the back of the quilt, placing the pins near the circles and in the 4 corners of the quilt (so they don’t get in the way of your quilting; pinning inside the circles will leave a permanent hole because of the Heat N Bond, so don’t do it!).  There is no such thing as too many safety pins!  The more you use, the less chance there is of puckering.  Once it’s pinned, trim the backing fabric to extend 2″ beyond the front all the way around.

The quilting will be simple on this quilt – a grid that goes between each of the circles on the front.  Use your ruler to measure up and mark each of those locations around the perimeter of the quilt, then straight stitch across between each row of circles, going all the way to the edge of the quilt front.  Use a bobbin that coordinates with the back, and don’t worry about backstitching, since the binding method will secure those stitches.

Prep to Quilt

Left: Quilt front laid on the wrong side of the backing, ready to be pinned and trimmed. Right: Pinned up, marking the halfway point for each row of circles on the edge of the quilt.

Once you are all quilted, you’re on the home stretch!  I learned the binding method for this quilt here, and it’s by far my new favorite method.  Start off by pressing the edges of the backing in to meet the quilt front (in this case, 1″).  Don’t worry about the corners, just press in 1″ on all 4 sides however you want – we’ll take care of the corners in a minute.


Press in the edges on all 4 sides – don’t worry about how the corners fold up

Then, start in the middle of any side and fold the backing up onto the front of the quilt, pinning in place every so often.  When you get to the corner, open up the pressed edge on the next side and fold over the side you’re working on all the way to the edge.  Then, fold the corner down to the edge meets the quilt front.  Fold the edge of the next side to meet the quilt front, along the crease where it was pressed, then fold again to go on the quilt front – you have created a nice mitered corner!  Pin in place, and continue with the same method all the way around the quilt.

Mitered Corner

Left: Unfold the next side, and fold up the side you’re working on. Center: Fold the corner in. Right: Fold along the crease made earlier, then fold onto quilt front and pin in place.

Once it’s pinned in place, use thread that coordinates with the back of the quilt to stitch a scant 1/4″ from where the binding overlaps the quilt front; backstitch at the end to secure.

Completed Quilt

Finished Twister quilt

And that’s it!  Doesn’t the handprint fabric make the perfect background for a Twister “board”?  And I figured black with polka dots won’t show as much dirt from being on the floor.  I recommend staying away from plain white fabric, as it will show every bit of dirt and will need to be washed all the time!  SPINNER

I sent this quilt to my friend, who has a little one between Monster and Peach’s ages – I know he’ll love it, and he’ll be learning as he plays!  I searched and searched for a Twister spinner, but couldn’t find one without buying the whole game – until I searched the app store on my phone.  So instead of a real spinner, all you need is a smart phone, there are plenty of free Twister spinner apps out there (on another note: who thinks of this stuff??).

Make one for a toddler you love, and teach them the fun of Twister!


Teacher Christmas Gifts

It probably comes as no surprise that  love making Monster’s teachers presents for Christmas.  This year, he is in the bumblebee class at school, and I found the perfect fabric for a bumblebee teacher – it has apples and bees!  I’ve noticed that all of the teachers wear their ID’s on a lanyard around their necks, so I thought it would be nice to make them some to go with their class theme (I blame all the different animal squadrons we’ve been in for making me use a theme in everything!).  I also made them each a clip keychain, because I have one myself and it’s super handy!  And since it’s Christmas time, I wanted to give them each a bumblebee ornament (which Monster got to help me make).  Plus a gift card to Target.  Can you tell we love our teachers??

So without further ado, let me show you how to make some gifts to spoil the teacher (or friend or relative) in your life!

I made the lanyard and the keychain at the same time, since they use basically the same supplies and methods.  To make both, you’ll need:

Cut a strip of fabric 4″x36″ (one yard) for the lanyard.  Save the scrap from the end (since the fabric you bought was 42-45″ long).  Then cut a piece 4″x11″ for the keychain.


Not pictured: the scrap from the lanyard piece that you will use

Press the short ends of the lanyard fabric towards the wrong side, then press in half longways.  Open it up, and press each of the raw edges into the center fold you just made.  Fold it back in half again to make a 1″ strip with no raw edges showing, and stitch a scant 1/8″ around the whole border.  Repeat for the 11″ strip, but don’t press the ends in (the raw edges will be covered later on they keychain).  Repeat one more time for the 4″ wide scrap, again making a 1″ wide strip.


Folding up the lanyard. It’s the same for the keychain and the scraps except for turning in the raw edges at the ends.


1″ strips for lanyard, keychain, and the scrap

For the keychain, loop the 1″ strip you just made onto the swivel clip.  Then use a wide zigzag to make a loop from the raw ends.  Move the zigzag connection down towards the clip, and cover with the scrap that you sewed, trimming and tucking the raw ends between the layers of the keychain.  Stitch around the scrap to secure and complete the keychain.

Key Ring Construction

Left: Zigzag to hold the ends in place. Right: See how the scrap covers the zigzag right next to the clip? And the raw edges are tucked between the layers to be hidden.

To complete the lanyard, slide the 2nd swivel clip onto the 1″ yard-long strip and stitch in place (think about making a V shape that will accommodate the wearer’s neck comfortably).


Pin and stitch the swivel clip in the center, making a V shape

Then, loop the back like a necklace and stitch on the Velcro – I was careful to make the hook side face away from the neck so it won’t be scratchy.  You could just sew it, but many schools require that teacher’s have a “quick release” on their lanyards in case of strangulation (crazy, but we want our teachers to be safe!).


Completed lanyard and keychain!

Last year, Monster was too little to help with making anything for his teachers.  But this year, he is obsessed with painting!  Anytime I ask him what he did at school, that’s the first word out of his mouth.  So I knew when I saw this adorable bumblebee ornament made from a light bulb, it was the perfect craft for us to do together!

I used a box from our favorite “fruit squeezes” to hold the bulbs.  The box comes with one hole which was perfect for the bulb, and I just used scissors to cut out the 2nd.  Then I laid down a paper bag with some paint, handed the toddler a brush, and he went to town painting them!

Paint Lightbulbs

He did a really excellent job, I only had to touch up a couple of spots later on – and he had a blast!

Once the yellow paint dried, I added black stripes and a black head (where the screw part was inserted into the box – an egg carton comes in handy for drying).  Then I used a glue gun to add googly eyes, pipecleaner wings, stinger, and antennae, and a pipecleaner to hang it by.  And don’t forget to sign your work!  Monster can’t help with that yet, but maybe next year!


I signed Monster’s name and the year on the bee’s butt!

I feel like the ornament will be much more meaningful to his teachers, knowing that he actually contributed to it rather than me doing everything or buying them things.  And I hope that the lanyard and keychain are useful to them!  At the very least, I don’t know that there is a human on this earth who wouldn’t like a Target gift card, and especially a teacher, who I know puts her own money into my child’s schooling.

Feel free to steal my ideas to make your own teachers something nice and useful for Christmas, and let them know how much you appreciate them!