Felt Car Mat {With Tutorial}


For a while now, I wondered if this tutorial would ever get published.  Not only did this take a solid week of crafting effort to complete, but this tutorial has been a doozie!  It's taken several late-late nights (yes, even later than usual!), but it's finally here!

Today I want to share Little Man's new favorite place to play: 

For all you glue-gun lovers, this fun car mat is 100% no-sew!

And this was created just for Little Man!  As I was working on this, he started calling this his car MAP.  So I took his advice.  I turned this into a semi-realistic map of the streets near our home.  PLUS Little Man is very, very visual.  He thrives on logos, so he selected dozens of logos that would be used on this car map.

I'm happy to say that this car map/mat is very realistic.

I love this mat is HUGE, but it rolls up easily like a sleeping bag.  Perfect for easy storage!

In just 2 short days, the car mat has provided hours of entertainment.  So much entertainment that we never want to get out of our pajamas! 🙂

And it's perfect for his little imagination!

Now on with the tutorial...

I am lucky to have ridiculous amounts of felt.  Ever since making Little Man's quiet book last summer, I have quite the collection.  I am always looking for ways to use felt.

I chose to use a dark green for the background.  I cut a VERY large piece that is approximately 54" x 73".  It's so large that it's difficult to photograph the entire thing!

I started by hot gluing ribbon around all 4 edges of the mat so I would have nice finished edges.  Can't go wrong wit polk-a-dots.

I cut long strips of road pieces out of black felt that were about 3 inches thick, and hot glued the yellow dashed on.  Then I went to work cutting out buildings and scenes!  I placed everything on the mat before hot-gluing.  I labeled things with sticky notes as I went along.

(You have no idea how many times Little Man wanted to "play" a little prematurely, and disrupted my map layout!  I guess this explains why I chose to continue work on this so late at night while he was sleeping!)

After days of cutting and laying everything out, I went to work hot gluing eveything on the mat.  Can you believe this mess?!  I had to chuckle around 3 AM when I took a look at the big fat mess I had created.  Very unlike me.  But so worth it!

Remember all those logos that Little Man selected as his favorites??  Well, I measured the buildings and sized the logos in a Word document.  Then I printed them on fabric transfer paper that you can buy at your local office store.

I followed the instructions on the package to peel off the backing and iron the logos on to the buildings.  (Note:  I discovered the hard way that ironing over the spots I had used hot glue was NOT a great idea!  Oopsey Daisy!  You may want to iron the logos on the buildings before gluing them on the mat to avoid my messy mistakes!)

Not too shabby.  Costco was the most important building on our entire car mat.  Costco is more exciting than Disney Land at our house! 🙂

I also ironed on a picture of our family to put on our house!

There is A LOT on this car mat.  But here are a few of our favorite spots:  (Click to enlarge)

Some of our favorite shops from the mall; a construction zone; a park and swimming pool; Little Man's favorite gas station and car wash.

Our red-brick church; our local lake; Little Man's favorite Southwest airplane; Denver's airport along with runways, parking, etc.  (This way Little Man can play with his cars AND airplanes on the same mat!)

Do you think we shop too much?!

McDonald's; Target & the pet store; our favorite shopping centre including frozen yogurt; our lovely house!

Whew!  And that's only the beginning...

This is an entire little town that Little Man can relate to personally!

So after days of asking Little Man to tiptoe around my hard work, he woke up Sunday morning.  I was still recovering from staying up until 3 AM, but he came leaping down the stairs!  He played for hours, bed-head and all!  He was SO excited!

Even Lightning McQueen is enjoying our complimentary services at the Hilton Hotel.

Yes indeed. So even though I went through 3 glue guns and this tutorial took 6 hours to write, it was all worth it because...

The car mat is actually being played with at this very moment. Totally and completely worth the work for all the fun he's having.

Have a happy day!

Linking up to Tidy Mom, Today's Creative Blog.

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  1. This is darling! I love it! You did such a great job with all the little details!

  2. I LOVE the redbox next to McDonalds:) TOO CUTE!! He’ll keep this forever and always remember that you made it for him!! Someday I hope to make one for my son- Thanks for all the pics!!!


  3. I have been wanting one of these for my son since I found out I was having a boy! I’m totally inspired, and I will definitely be getting to work very soon! Thanks!

  4. Great job! Looks like your little guy is having a great time! I made something similar for my son and he loves it.


  5. Wow- that is amazing! No wonder he loves it…it’s right up his alley. He can run hiw own errands and shop now.

  6. I love it!!! My brother & his family just moved to Denver so when I come to visit them in Oct I will be on a look out for those fun little shopping centers! LOL
    You did a great job and you are also a great inspiration for future projects for my little one (even though she’s a girl!)

  7. AMAZING! What a great gift for your Little Man and to see that he appreciates your hard work is even better! This year I am challenging myself to do all homemade gifts for all gift giving occasions and this idea is defiantly being pinned for my son. Thank you for sharing!

  8. That is unreal. My daughter and I decided that we HAVE to make this for our little guy. AMAZING Alison! Thank you for sharing this with us!

  9. How FUN, Allison!! This looks like a LOT of hard work and love went into it. Using the iron on transfer was genius! Looks like Little Man will be entertained for quite some time!

  10. Wow! You never cease to amaze me! I love it! I’m sure your little man adores it, how could he not??? It’s awesome!!!

  11. totally awesomeness!

  12. one word…AMAZING! My goal is to make one of these some day…maybe for my boys Christmas present when he is 2 so he’ll appreciate it right away. 🙂

  13. Now THAT is what I call crafter’s ambition!! We just sold our kid’s (manufacturer’s) car mat, well worn, for $5 at our last tag sale! But it wasn’t as special and personalized as this one. Your son is adorable, and obviously very loved! He’s a lucky boy! Nice job.

  14. I usually don’t comment… but this is FANTASTIC! I absolutely LOVE IT! Now I want one for my *little guy* (whose 3 and I’ve got another one who’s 10 that might like one also)… and maybe me too (along with a girl version for my 5 year old Tinker*Emmy*Bell)… How fun is this?! Seriously, it looks great! Now you have my imagination going… now if I could just find enough felt… hmmmm. Me thinks that I need to save up some $$! lol Thanks for the great ideas!

  15. This is such a neat project! The best thing about it is all of the personalized touches. What an awesome way for your Little Man to learn! I especially loved that Costco made the mat – we LOVE that place too. Their Mickey-shaped chicken nuggets are pretty much the only protein our Happy Buddy will eat! Your six hours of tutorial prep were totally worth it because reading all about the felt car mat adventure was my fave! Aslo – were you stealing a midnight Pringles snack while you were crafting? That’s another favorite around our Happy Home, too. 🙂 Thanks for always sharing your magical projects with us!

  16. Sara @ Mom Endeavors says

    Wow, Alison! That is absolutely fantastically AWESOME! My little guys would L.O.V.E love it! I’ve been wondering what took you a whole week! No kidding! All the personal/local touches are great! It was funny seeing Park Meadows Mall on it–we were just there! 🙂 Anyway, this is brilliant!

  17. Love every bit of it! All of your work was totally worth it! LOVE it to pieces!


    Reasons To Skip The Housework {The Blog}
    Tinker B Boutique {The Shop}


  18. What a great job! I had so much fun making the car play mat for my son, and I think the best part was the personal little details, knowing that it was unique. It’s fun seeing other people’s versions and happy kids playing with them. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Looks like so much fun! My little guys would love that. I love that you included all his favorite places to visit!

  20. Absolutely adorable!! I may have to add this to the to-do list! I’ve wanted an activity mat for a while! Great job!

  21. Thank you so much for this tutorial! I cannot sew at all but I CAN use a glue gun! I have a feeling this might take me a while to make but it will be an awesome Christmas surprise present for my two boys (they’ll be 3 and 4 then). They will LOVE it! Love the little personal touches! Thanks!

  22. I absolutely love it. You are amazing! Your quiet book is what made me want to make one for my LO. This is just awesome. My nephew may get a mini version for Christmas!

  23. That is fantastic! I love it! I’ve been collecting ideas for car mats for months now. Yours will definitely go into that folder. Thanks so much for so many great ideas. I love how big it is 🙂 I’m sure your son absolutely loves it!

  24. Can I just say “Wow!” This is amazing. You are a great mommy. I love it. I pinned it to my Crafts To Make board on Pinterest. Thanks for sharing.

    I am visiting from I’m Lovin It, and glad to have found you! Happy Weekend!

    LaVonne @ Long Wait For Isabella

  25. oh wow, what a fantastic idea! 🙂

  26. I just want to give you a big ol’ hug because I love this so much. I LOVE all the work and detail you put into it just for your son. Printing off and adding the logos is icing on the cake.

  27. this is unbelievable! soooooo amazing! if i knew my boys would LOVE this, it would definitely be worth it. i just love it!

  28. This is absolutely amazing. I’m going to make that for my god son who is 3. You are so crafty girl.

  29. So cute! This is my favorite one I’ve seen of the felt car mats-I love how you included places he knows!

  30. I LOVE it!! It is so much better than the ones you buy at the store. And it is so personalized!! What a great momma you are!

  31. I love this so much! I so want to make this now! Thanks for sharing this fun idea! Just featured it on my favorite finds list. 😉


  32. This is so cute and it looks like so much fun to play with too 🙂 I want to make one (especially since it is no sew!) I would love it if you would stop by and link this up to the crafty link party I am just starting over at Lines Across My Face. 🙂 Rachel

  33. This is awesome! Santa needs to bring one of these to my 3 year-old son! 🙂 Thanks for the idea!!!

  34. This is amazing! How has the car map help up so far?

  35. Thanks for all the hard work you put into this tutorial!

    I plan on making two travel totes, one for cars and the other for trains, for my anything on wheels, loving boys.

  36. Dear Alison,
    thanks for this lovely idea! I just spent this holiday season creating one for my little one. Here is the result:
    You’ll notice the soccer field… I live in France, so I had to make some adaptation 🙂
    Thanks again for this inspiring idea!
    Happy Holiday season to you and your loved ones.

  37. Ok, this is darling. It looks like a lot of work, but I know he’d love it!

  38. Awesome work! I’m going to have to steal this idea from you and one of our neighbourhood for my little guy. It’s going to be such a great birthday present for him! Thanks so much!

  39. This is so stinkin’ cute! I have to make one for my little guy.
    And I recognize Park Meadows mall! My in-laws live in CO and so we spend a lot of time there…I have to say that in certain areas it seems like all there is to do is shop, because there are so many malls and such. So it’s no wonder it seems like you spend a lot of time shopping. haha 🙂
    Very cute and creative, and I really like that you tried to make it personal to your own neighborhood/routine.
    michaela recently posted..Divorce Rings: Trendy or Tacky?My Profile

    • Ha! Well, we love to do lots more than shop, but Little Man has always loved the visual appeal of logos, so this project really appealed to him! Fun that you know Park Meadows Mall! 🙂 Too funny! Thanks for your kind comment!

  40. Cynthia V says

    Alison, A million thanks to you for taking the time to share this with us. My daycare kids will be able to help me make this one and have a sense of accomplishment to go along with their new creation and hours of play. I too have a bunch of felt leftover from many other projects. I liked this so much, I hope you don’t mind that I had to share it on my Pinterest. You did a such a beautiful job with it and it looks professionally done, only better because it is personalized. Thanks for the wonderful inspiration.

  41. Can I just tell you that you inspire me and that you are amazing! What a God~send you are for me to find your blog! The time and the work that you put in to making sure that anyone can create your amazing idea that brings your son so much joy (and will do the exact same thing for my son) blows me away! Suck a wonderful idea and I cannot WAIT to get started on it for my son! He will LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

  42. what a great idea! this looks like so much hard work though, but i am inspired. maybe one of these days i will stay up late and get my glue gun out of the closet. you did amazing work!
    daphne recently posted..Simple HomeMade PlayDoughMy Profile

  43. Kristie says

    How old was your boy when you made this? I made one and my just-turned-2-year-old isnt quite sure what to do with it and he loves cars.

    • Hi Kristie! I made this when he was almost 2-and-a-half. But he hand-selected all of the places that went on his car mat and recognized the logos, etc., so he knew exactly where those cars were driving! I’m sure your son will be driving on his mat in no time!
      Alison@Oopsey Daisy recently posted..DIY Milk GlassMy Profile

    • He was 2 and a half. But he did hand-pick everything that was on the felt car mat, so maybe that helped me be more ready to play with it!

  44. Thank you so much for the inspiration! I have “borrowed” many of your details for my son’s mat and I am currently making his out of a table cloth, duct tape and some bristol board. I had no idea what I was getting myself into! But seeing how much your son loves his gives me motivation to keep going! Thanks again

  45. I love you tutorial great idea for my 21 month old daughter how loves car i am going to make one for her for Christmas for all her matchbox car thank you again for the great tutorial

  46. Alison,
    Omg, thank you SO much for this tutorial!! This is the best play mat that I found. I’m in the middle of making one for my 7 year old son so he can use his Hot Wheels. It’s turning out so well so far!! You rock!!

  47. Love your car mat, I made one for my son with a lot of ideas from your mat. He loves it! Thanks for sharing!!


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