Flannel Friday: Please, Mr. Panda

I know Flannel Friday doesn’t do weekly round-ups anymore, but I still love the flannel community. When I saw Brooke post a picture of Mr. Panda on Instagram I begged her to write it up as a guest post here. Luckily, she agreed!

Brooke Cusmano is a recent graduate of the iSchool at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She loves her new gig as a Youth Services Librarian at Rolling Meadows Library, which is located in a northwest suburb of Chicago. You can follow her on Instagram @brookethelibrarian.  Take it away, Brooke!

Please, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony is one of my favorite books to read for either a preschool or toddler storytime. It’s a versatile book that can be used for a variety of themes such as manners, kindness, bears or the letter P. It makes a nice flannel, too, with the colorful donuts contrasting against the gray background and simple black and white animals. And because of the repetition, Please Mr. Panda is also an easy book to do from memory or from a few notes.

6 Tips for Creating Awesome Flannel Stories6

1. Bigger is Better

As long as you have the storage and a big enough flannel board, make the pieces big enough that everyone in the back can see them.

2. Photocopy the animal from a book (or use an image /clipart from online) and then trace the outlines onto a piece of felt.

This is a technique that Miss Darlene from the Rolling Meadows Library taught me. It is a fool-proof / non-artsy-person way to create a flannel.

For Please Mr. Panda, I first photocopied all of the animals from the book, increasing the size of the penguin and the skunk, yet still keeping within proportion to the rest of the animals.

Once photocopied and cut, I traced the panda flipped over so that the lined side became the backside of the flannel piece.

Back Side
Front Side

3. It’s Not You, It’s the Scissors

If you find yourself struggling to cut through felt. STOP, and get a new pair of scissors.

This freshly cut white felt outline is the piece in which all other colored felt pieces will be glued onto, which brings me to my 4th tip…

4. Layers

Layering felt pieces brings a thickness and brightness in color to the flannel. It’s also a lot easier than trying to color felt with a marker.

Once you’ve completed the white felt piece, layer all of the other black and colored pieces on top of it. I cut out the next pieces from the original photocopy. In the picture below I am cutting out the arm and the legs.

Flip these pieces over as well and trace the outline onto black felt. I used a SILVER SHARPIE for dark felt.

Once these pieces are cut, we glue them in place onto the white outline.

5. Use Elmer’s Glue, lots and lots of Elmer’s Glue

Especially around the edges. The felt absorbs the glue, so you basically need a puddle to get the layers to stick together. When the glue dries the felt hardens and becomes nice and stiff.

We continue on this way…cutting from the photocopied panda, tracing onto the felt, and then gluing onto the white template until the panda is complete. I actually decided to make the Panda two-sided so I could turn him over every time he says, “No, you cannot have a donut. I have changed my mind.” Unfortunately these two pieces did not fit seamlessly, so I built the gray piece to fit in between them. This ended up being a much thicker piece than I usually like, but it didn’t fall off the flannel board – so a win!

6. Google Eyes!

I love the use google eyes whenever possible on flannels because…umm…google eyes. In this flannel I used them on the whale, penguin and skunk.

I hope these tips help you to create the flannels of your dreams. 😛 These techniques can be used with any illustration or clip art you find, whether in a book or online. Happy Flannel Making!


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