DIY Sensory Small World Underwater Play Mat: For those of you that know me, you will know that I have been trying to sew a car mat for Monkey since he was about 6 months old. I will at some point complete this project, probably when he’s too old for it. Part of the problem is that I always try to complete it in time for a Christmas or a Birthday when I have lots of other tasks and organising to do for the big day…. I never learn though!
True to form, in the middle of Nov 2014 I made the decision that I was not going to get it done. I was also trying to think of something to put in Monkey’s advent calendar. He has a fascination with fish, I had found some small plastic counting fish on amazon which I was thinking of putting in his calendar, but in my head they didn’t really work on their own. Then it hit me, how about an underwater play mat. It would go with the fish and also reduce some of the guilt of not completing the car mat in time for Christmas again!
The project took under a week to complete and there actually isn’t much sewing going on. You could easily replicate this with felt and miss out sewing all together if you desired.
I found some sand fabric on Spoonflower which was perfect, I ordered a yard which is the width of the playmat. The only real sewing involved was securing the front and the back, and a line of stitches across the middle. This attached the sea and the sand fabric together with the wadding so it will not move around. The seaweed I tucked into the seam so it was caught up in the same line of stitches.
I wanted to try and use as many different textures as possible, so I used satin ribbon and netting for the seaweed on the left side. The netting worked well as it makes it more 3D which is what I was looking for. On the right I cut some silk with pinking sheers and used velvet ribbon which I had rouched, by sewing large tacking stitches along the middle and pulling tight.
The coral was made out of sequin material in several colours, which I fell in love with at first sight and some thin red velvet. These and the metallic rock were secured with iron on backing to minimise the sewing.
To add to the 3D effect I made some mini pom poms to look like sea urchins and some felted pebbles. I used poppers to attach the pebbles incase it ever needs to go through the wash. Monkey has taken to pulling them off and then popping them back on again, over and over. It works really well with the fish and the best bit, it folds up nicely into a cloth bag for storage.