Do you need something to keep the kiddos busy while you make a phone call or wash your hair? This easy-to-make car play mat will do the trick! And making it is a breeze with this tutorial.
It’s no secret that young children have boundless energy (where do they get it all?). And, if parents don’t want to feel like ripping out their hair by the end of the evening, they need to work towards directing that energy into various activities.
Today, I’m making one of those activities. It’s perfect for pulling out when you need a moment or tossing into the car to take with you on a drive or to an appointment.
You can make this DIY car play mat in a single afternoon. It’s perfect for your little one or any other child you need a DIY gift idea for.
Your little one can then play with the cars on the road anytime and anywhere!
How To Make A DIY Car Play Mat
This project is really simple to make. Get ready to be amazed at what you can accomplish with a few supplies and a little bit of time!
Here’s everything you’ll need to make this fun project! I’ve included some handy links to make finding certain items a little easier and faster.
- Felt Sheets in:
- Green (needs to be a large sheet)
- White (one sheet)
- Grey (one sheet)
- Orange (one sheet)
- Yellow (one sheet or scraps)
- Sewing Machine and Thread
- Green Ribbon
- Printable Template
Just follow these step-by-step instructions and your car play mat will be ready in (practically) no time.
Start by cutting your green felt to 11 inches by 13 inches.
Then cut your other pieces:
- 5-inch by 12-inch rectangle of white
- 4-inch wide curved piece of grey (for the road)
- 1/2-inch by 2-inch yellow pieces for road stripes
- Orange car and numbers (you can print the template here)
Note: You can also cut these with a machine like the Cricut Maker. See more about cutting felt with a Cricut!
Need help uploading your template into Cricut Design Space? This video will help!
Start pinning all of your pieces to each other but not to the green piece yet.
Note: The white piece is one inch longer than the 11-inch wide green piece. This gives you extra room when creating your car pockets.
Then sew your road lines to the grey road piece. Stitch your numbers to the white piece.
Note: I used two pieces of grey to create my road. However, you can also use one felt piece cut into a curve.
Pin the car to one corner of the green felt piece and stitch into place with your sewing machine.
Flip the green piece over and start pinning your pieces and your ribbon into place.
Gather up your felt when pinning the white piece into place to create roomy car pockets. Before sewing, fold your project to ensure the proper placement of objects and ribbons.
Then just use your sewing machine to stitch everything into place.
Note: I did not sew a line between one and two on the white felt. I did this for two reasons:
One, I did not want a sewing line on my car applique. And two, I have found that there are some LARGE mini cars. Monster trucks and ones with lights on the top, for example. I have made things like this before and have not always been able to fit all cars in the slots.
Not sewing this line leaves room for those extra tall toys.
Then just fold up your car play mat. It’s ready to give to anyone on your holiday gift giving list.
Be sure to add in a few cars before wrapping this one up!
Here are a couple of questions that I see readers ask about making this DIY car play mat. If you have a question, please check to see if I’ve already answered it below. Don’t see your question? Leave it for me in the comments!
Could I just glue this car play mat project instead of sewing it?
Technically, yes you could. However, the downside to just gluing everything is that it won’t have that complete, professional look that sewing delivers. Plus, sewing everything makes the entire project a little more durable.
Could I add a zipper to zip it closed instead of the ribbon to tie it closed?
Honestly, I think that adding a zipper to close this project would make it much more complicated than I would even want to attempt. If you’re a proficient sewer and want to add a zipper, please feel free. However, I like the ribbon tie method because it’s fast, easy, and just as effective for closing up this project.
This portable mat is perfect for playing on the go. Just pop the cars inside, fold them up, and drop them in your purse or play bag!
Every small child would love a car play mat like this one. An on-the-go toy that is perfect for busy days and errands with mom or dad.
This felt project could not be easier (even if you don’t sew often), so get started on your own today. Your little one is sure to love playing with their own DIY car play mat!
Isn’t it amazing what a few sheets of felt can create?
More Craft Ideas For Kids
Love this car play mat and want more gift ideas for the little ones? Try the links below!
- Make Your Own Felt Food For Kids
- Lego Travel Case
- Slime for Kids
- Assembling a Busy Book
- R2 D2 Pencil Holder
- Start by cutting a 11" by 13" piece of green felt.
- Next cut out:5" by 12" rectangle of white felt4-inch wide curved piece of grey (for the road)1/2" by 2" yellow pieces for road stripesOrange car and numbers – you can print the template here
- Start pinning all of your pieces to each other but not to the large green piece yet.Note: the white piece is one inch longer than the 11-inch wide green piece so that you can create roomy car pockets.
- Now it's time to sew your road lines to the grey road piece. Go ahead and stitch your numbers on the white piece.Note: I used two pieces of grey to create my road, but you can use one felt piece cut into a curve instead, if you prefer that method.
- Pin the car to one corner of the green felt piece and use your sewing machine to stitch it into place.
- Next, flip the green piece over and start pinning your pieces and your ribbon where you want them to be.Gather your felt a little as you pin the white piece into place to create roomy car pockets. Before sewing, fold your project to make sure that everything comes together as you designed it to.
- Use your sewing machine to sew everything into place.Note: I did not sew a line between one and two on the white felt.
- Then just fold up your car play mat.