felt playhouse Q&A (and a mailbox template)

I am overwhelmed by the response I'm getting from the playhouse.  Thank you so much!  I am really pleased with how it turned out, and it is always fun when other people love it, too.  So thanks again!

Here's one last template. Everything else on the playhouse is either a really basic shape that should be easy for you to cut on your own, or is just too big to do a template for.

I've been getting tons of the same questions in the comments.  Rather than make you read through them all, I thought I'd round them all up in a post.

1.  Did you think of this idea yourself?  No way!  I'm not quite that clever.  The first fabric playhouse I ever saw was on Nothing Fancy, who made the sweetest little playhouse out of a duvet cover and twin sheet set.  Then I saw an awesome playhouse at This and That, which won me over big time because it is full of cuteness on the inside too (I so did not take the time to line mine and decorate the inside ... but I do have some future plans).  This and That's SIL, Sew Much Ado, also made a fun all-boy playhouse (with a tutorial!) and linked over to Imaginative Play Toys on Etsy.  That's when I knew, I wanted to make an all-felt house.  So, no - the felt playhouse itself was not my idea, but I think all of the decorations and embellishments are pretty unique.  I tried to make it one of a kind.

2.  How do you hang it/make it stand up?  The playhouse is essentially a slipcover made to fit my kitchen table.  Kind of like a tablecloth with sides?  The top is a big rectangle of felt.  I sewed the side pieces to the top piece, and then I sewed the side edges together.  Presto-chango-playhouse!

3.  What are the playhouse's dimensions?  It is 48 inches wide, 30 inches tall and 36 inches deep.  When I was cutting my side pieces I added an inch to all of the dimensions for seam allowance.  However, this is made to fit my kitchen table.  So whether you are making a playhouse to fit your own kitchen table, a folding card table, or a stand you make yourself, please use your own measurements!

4.  Where did you buy your felt?  How much felt do you need to make it?  How much did it cost? What exactly did you order (colors and amounts)?  I bought my felt by the yard at Fabric.com.    Here is my exact order:  3.5 yards Rainbow Felt Peacock, 1.5 yards Rainbow Felt White, 1 yard Rainbow Felt Orange, .5 yard Rainbow Felt Walnut Brown, .5 yard Rainbow Felt Yellow, .5 yard Rainbow Felt Cashmere Tan.  I have a mountain of leftover felt, so you really don't need this much.  But I don't mind, because I LOVE having lots of felt on hand.  I know I reference Fabric.com a lot around here, but I've just had a great experience with them.  They have free shipping for orders over $35, and there is usually a coupon code floating around the internet.   In my felt order the accidentally forgot to include the white felt, so they over-nighted the missing fabric.  Now that's what I call service!  (and no, I am not affilliated with fabric.com in any way).  My order, taking advantage of a coupon code and free shipping, only cost $26.

5.  Why did you use felt, as opposed to cotton or another fabric?  I wanted my entire playhouse to be made out of the same material.  And I didn't want to spend forever finishing seams or appliqueing on details.  Felt was a good choice for me because I didn't have to finish any seams (yay!) and I could just sew (not applique) all the decorations directly to the playhouse walls.   Felt is not the best choice if you expect to wash your playhouse frequently. 

6.  Do you sell these?  A big no to this one.  I'm not going to lie ... this project was a ton of work.  Unless someone I love very much asks me to make one for them, I don't see this being a repeat project for me.  Good news is, you can get a beautiful custom playhouse at Imaginative Play Toys (an etsy shop).  She makes over two dozen different designs!

7.  Was it hard to sew together (since it is so large)?  It really wasn't very hard to sew together, despite all that fabric.  As long as you add all of your embellishments before sewing the sides together, you should be fine.  I added mesh to the window panes after it was all put together, and that was a serious pain in the neck.  Embellish first, assemble second!

Great ideas that came through the comments:

From Prairie Girl - "Wouldn't it be cute to make velcro Christmas lights to "hang" around the roof or on the tree. Or how about a snowman to "build" on the side of the house."  Yes, velcro Christmas lights are about the cutest thing I've ever heard of.

Someone else suggested (and I can't remember who - I couldn't find the comment.  sorry!) that I could build a frame for the house using PVC pipe.  Great idea!  This is definitely something to consider when we get a different kitchen table.

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32 comments:

Crystal said...

How would a PVC pipe frame work?

Sarah B. said...

Thanks you so much for sharing this idea. I love everything you do and wish I had the motivation that you do. I think I am going to make one for my children for Christmas. I live in Ohio and the winters are really long here so, it would be something really fun for them. I just wanted to let you know that 72" felt by the yard is on sale at JoAnn Fabrics this week for only $2.49 a yard. I will probably go and pick some up. Thanks again for your wonderful craft ideas. I just love your blog!

Sew Much Ado said...

Thanks for linking to me! Your playhouse is A-MA-ZING! Oh my goodness, I was in awe as I was looking at all the pictures!

TEAM RYAN- Fight CANCER together! said...

Thank you for doing this! I LOVE your blog and your ideas! We are all inspired by your creativity!

Tote, Debby, Sammy and Caleb Jimenez said...

I am in love with your playhouse!! I'm thinking about making one for my boys for Christmas. We have a round kitchen table that I would put it on. I realize here that you're not responsible for providing creative ideas for me! =) but I was wondering if you (or anyone else) have ideas that pop into your head for a round playhouse? The only thing I can think of is maybe a little tudor style house along the lines of Hanzel and Gretyl cottagey. Any thoughts for a round table?? I was also thinking of making the top part from an old sheet to save money and I LOVE the Christmas lights idea!!!

Laura B. said...

Since I saw the playhouse on Friday I've laid awake at night figuring out how I'm going to make one for my girls. I A-D-O-R-E it...and you for providing all the templates/instructions!
Thanks bunches!!!

Erin said...

I made my kids one for last Christmas out of canvas. I used an old tablecloth I had for the top and ran out of time (and energy) and only did the front. It fit our dining room table and our outside picnic table. My hubby is going to build a PVC frame so they can play with it in their playroom since I craft so much at the dining room table. You have given me great ideas for the other sides of the house.

rookie cookie said...

It really was a brilliant play house. Like when I saw it, I wished you were my mom. You hear it all the time, but you are so talented. When it comes to sewing and crafts, my motherboard shuts down.

Jenn said...

What are the advantages of using felt instead of fabric for the "frame" of the house?

Jill said...

I think the biggest advantage of felt is that you don't have to finish off the edges. I wanted the walls of the house to look consistent with all of the decorations, so felt was the easiest material to work with. It is also affordable and, in my experience, durable.

Joni said...

I love that you don't have to finish off the edges because it is felt. I also love the idea of putting lights on the tree for Christmas and a snowman. I was thinking about making orange, red and yellow leaves for the fall. Thanks for all the great ideas...got get back to working on my own felt house! :)

Jane said...

Inspiring! Thanks for all the pictures and templates. I am going to make one for my little guy! I am thinking of adding a clothes line so he can hang up clothes to "dry"!

Jena said...

Thank you for giving me this idea in time for Christmas. In fact my friends and I held up the cutting line at JoAnne's on Friday for at 30 minutes, because the felt was only 2.50 a yard! Here is my question, did you use something to keep things in place until you sewed them? I'm wondering most if you used any iron on adhesive or did you just pin it?

Jill said...

Jena,
I did not use any adhesives, just pinned and sewed. :) Good luck!

The Three Amigos said...

Totally LOVE this and am doing it for my son for Christmas. What about doing a "dress up" thing on the inside? Have a cut out kid with underwear on and then clothes that you can attach with the velcro, with several outfits? Thanks for your blog, you are amazing and I can't wait to get started!!

The Three Amigos said...

How do you wash it?

Caryn said...

This is so precious and totally inspired me to make one for my daughter for Christmas! I am almost done and having so much fun making it coming up with ideas etc...I do have one quick question. I am ready to sew the whole thing together (I noted your excellent idea of doing all the embellishments first) but should I sew the four sides together and then the top? or sew each side to the top and then the four sides? I can't decide which would work better. Thanks

Jill said...

Caryn -

Sew the sides to the top first, and the sides together second. Good luck!

Val in the Rose Garden said...

Adorable! What a cute pattern.

Can you tell me how you put the patterns up on your blog like this? I have been trying to figure it out, but I don't have a PDF publisher. Is that the magic ticket?

Thanks!

Blessings,

Val

http://goddesshobbies.blogspot.com/

devon said...

is there any reason not to use cotton fabric rather than felt? i have dogs and felt picks up dog hair hardcore...

Mandapanda said...

I haven't gotten a real clear answer about how easy it is to wash the playhouse...that seems like a drawback to using felt. How did you wash it beforehand, and how do you keep it clean in general? Thanks so much! Me, my mother-in-law, and sister-in-law are all really excited to make these!! Just wondering about the best kind of fabric. Thanks so much for responding when you can.

Jill said...

Mandapanda -

I used felt because it is easy to cut and sew. I did not wash the felt beforehand, and I would only recommend spot cleaning it. I don't think polyester felt holds up well in the wash. If you think you will be washing your playhouse frequently, I'd recommend using cotton fabric.

Oscar has played with this house quite a bit, and so far it has not gotten dirty. But I generally keep food in the kitchen, when possible.

Brandy said...

I am SO glad I came across your playhouse. I saw the other ones that you had linked to yesterday but I think yours takes the cake. This is my next big project and I can't wait to make it for my 14 month old. Can I pick your brain? did you use bias tape to finish off the edges?

Anonymous said...

Love your ideas! I made a playhouse years ago for my boys [not nearly as cute as yours]; I used a two liter bottle of pop to sit in the center of the table. This holds up the fabric and allows for a gabled roof.
Just so you know how OLD mine is... it was made back in the day of polyester.... the good news is that it is very washable and the edges don't unravel like cotton.
I think I'll add your wonderfully creative ideas to it for my grandson.

Mary Beth said...

I was just wondering about velcro for this project (and quiet book, etc.)--do you use the adhesive type or the sew in? I went to get some velcro for this project yesterday and I was surprised to find so many adhesive varieties, but I thought that the sew in might be a better choice for little fingers.

My fabric is arriving today and I'm looking forward to getting started on this playhouse!! Thanks so much

Jill said...

Hi Mary Beth,

I always use sew-in velcro. In my opinion, the adhesive kind does not provide lasting results on fabric.

Good luck with your playhouse!

Jen said...

My Mother-In-Law and I are going to make a play house for my 2.5 year old daughter and I had a few questions:

1. With the velcro objects, do you sew the velcro to the house so that it is visible when those pieces are not on the house? We're including a watering can and I want to make it where she can attach it to one of 2 sides of the house.

2. Do you have velcro on the veggies or are they only made to go in the pockets?

3. Does your house have anything on the inside?

I'm a newbie to crafty things, but my mother-in-law and I wanted a fun project to do together.

AmyMarie said...

My sister and I had a felt playhouse that went over a card table when we were kids. I decided to make one for my daughter. You cannot believe my surprise (& delight) when I googled "pattern for cloth playhouse" and your blog came up first thing. Thank you for the ideas and patterns!!

Mrs. Densley said...

Your playhouse is amazing! I am working on one of my own for my nephew's 1st birthday! I have a question about the velcro and felt... I have noticed that the "sticky" and of the velcro sticks to the felt just fine without sewing on the other half of the velcro... did you sew both parts on or did you just stick the pieces onto the playhouse without it... does that make sense? Thanks!

Andrea said...

This is A-MAZ-ING! I am super excited to make one for my girls for Christmas! How many hours would you say you put into it? Thanks so much for such great templates and instructions!

Anonymous said...

Hi! Thanks so much for all of this wonderful information. Having gone through the process of making one of these playhouses, do you have any insight about making one to fit on a round table? Specifically, do you think that it would be a problem that all of the embellishments/manipulatives would essentially be on a curved side rather than a flat one on a traditional card table or other square table?
Thanks again for everything!

LYNNETTE & KEITH said...

I am your newest follower & this is so adorable!!! Thanks so much for sharing