If your boys (or girls, maybe) are like mine they are constantly building from LEGO’s. It’s a love-hate relationship for me. I love that they are entertained and creating something from their imaginations but I absolutely despise the constant mess of them all of the floor and the bickering back & forth because they’re trying to dig in the same plastic tupperware together and there’s not enough room for 6 arms and 3 little bodies.
Problem solved! I made a large play mat for their LEGO’s so they can spread them out and find the pieces easier. With the large circumference there’s more than enough room for the boys to not have to touch each other 🙂 When they’re done, simply pull the rope tight and they’re in a big sack that you can drop into a wicker basket or something in the corner.
This idea isn’t anything new out there but I thought I’d share how I did mine. I spent about $25 on the materials and it’s been totally worth it!
LEGO CIRCLE PLAY MAT TUTORIAL
Dimensions: 70″ Dia. Circle (~220″ circumference)
-8 yards muslin* (36″-wide)
-6-1/2 yards (2″-wide) bias tape (buy 2 yards more muslin* if you want to make your own)
-36 (1/4-3/8″) grommets**
-7 yards cording (needs to fit inside grommets)
**I used Dritz eyelets at first and realized that was a HUGE mistake! They’ll pull off the material really easily and when I punched them to the fabric there was a sharp edge left on the inside of the eyelet that would catch the cording (see pic above). Use grommets that have 2 sides and they’ll last much longer and the cord will run through smoothly.
-Grommet Pliers (recommended)
-Sewing Machine, Pins, Scissors…
Cut your fabric so you have 4 – 2 yard sections. With right sides together (there’s not really a right side to muslin), pin and sew 2 sets together along the long edge with a 1/2″ seam. Do the same for the last set. Now you should have 2 square pieces measuring about 72×72″.
Open your pieces flat and from the right side, topstitch the seam underneath down so it lays to one side.
It will look something like this going through your machine.
Next, lay your pieces together with wrong sides together. I crossed my seams so there wasn’t extra bulk where they laid over each other. Pin around the edges.
To measure and cut the circle out this diagram should help you understand what we want to do, but here’s how we’re going to make it easier:
Fold your material in-half, then in-half again so they’re in a square; fold the square in-half again, or in 1/3 like I did. The smaller the “pie piece” the faster to cut out.
Set your yard stick so is matches up to the corner, then you’ll mark 35″ on your fabric every few inches until you get to the other edge. TIP: double check to make sure all your fabric edges go up to 35″.. if not, use whatever measurement they meet to.
Cut along your marked lines.
Pin around the circumference.
Find a large circular object to place in the center of your fabric and trace around with your fabric marker. This is optional but I like knowing my layers weren’t going to shift around.
Baste around the outside edge with a 1/4″ seam…
…and use a regular stitch to stitch over your center circle.
If you are making your own bias tape, cut 2″-wide strips on a 45-degree angle. Sew the ends together until you have a length of at least 6-1/2 yards.
Trim the excess. Iron seams flat to one side.
Sew your bias tape 1/4″ inside the edge of the mat with right sides together. IMPORTANT: stretch the bias tape slightly as you sew. This is important so when you turn it to the other side it will lay correctly over the edge.
When you get to the other end of your bias tape you’ll want to overlap the ends about an inch, turning down the inside end 45-degrees (the one you’ll see when finished).
Turn your bias tape to the other side of the mat, folding the raw edge under about 1/8″ and butting the fold just barely over the seam to cover. Pin in place.
I sewed in sections. Pinning 12-24″ then sewing, pinning, sewing. This makes it so you don’t have to worry about pins catching and pulling out all your hard work.
To sew the binding I did a very small zigzag so the needle barely went off the binding and then back on. I prefer zigzag compared to a straight stitch because you’re more likely to catch the back side in the stitch and it won’t be as noticeable if you waver (compared to straight stitch).
Mark every 6″ along the center of your bias tape for grommet placement.
Use your leather hole punch to punch over each hole (decide what size hole you’ll need according to the size of grommet).
Thread your cording in/out of each grommet. When you get to the last one add your cord lock and knot the ends together. TIP: I made my cord slightly shorter than the matt would allow so it had an edge that curled up to prevent LEGO’s from spilling off.
I hope your little ones love the mat just as much as mine do!