Sunday, January 15, 2012

Bead Maze: take one

I had a darling two-year-old boy sitting next to me in church today. We're old friends from the nursery. His family lives on a farm, so he kept asking me to draw tractors for him. Hahaha. I'm no artist. But I'm very fond of this little guy, so when I got home I decided to tackle a tractor bead maze. I'd like to entice him to sit by me again next Sunday.

I had seen a couple of darling bead mazes that my daughter, Polly, made for her children. I looked on line for more instructions, but didn't see any, so what you have here is my best guess on how to do it. When Polly posts a tutorial, I will also link to that. She's sure to have more ideas and suggestions for you.

First of all: I am NOT talking about this kind of bead maze.

What I am talking about is made of fabric, and it's approximately the size of a hot pad. The fabric has a maze sewn into it, and there is a bead inside the whole thing that you can push with your fingers.

So. The bead maze.

To begin with, I needed a tractor, and you'll recall that I am no artist. I googled "coloring pages tractor" and got about a jillion tractors to choose from. I chose a nice, simple silhouette.

Then I flipped the paper over and drew my maze pattern. I simplified the tractor a bit and made the maze channels large enough for a pony bead to fit between.

Rather than try to trace my pattern onto the fabric, I just pinned the pattern to the fabric...

...and sewed through the paper as well as the fabric. What you can't see very well right here is that I have two layers of the green fabric. It was a little thin, so I also have two layers of white fabric inside, just to bulk up my fabric a little. This was the only green fabric I had on hand, and I wanted to make my tractor kind of John Deere-ish. (Which is also why I'm using yellow thread.)

After I finished sewing all the different lines, I carefully peeled the paper away. I left an opening at the bottom so I could slip the bead in, then I sewed up the bottom seam. You can see the bead bulging inside the fabric here.

I wouldn't say that my first try was an unqualified success. The bobbin tension was a little off, so I resewed the whole thing a second time. I'm not sure if that's because I was sewing over paper, or if it's because I wore my machine out over Christmas, and it needs to get serviced. In any case, I'm not particularly proud of the stitching lines you're seeing here. Oh, well. It's for a two-year-old, right?

Also, I had to take out some of my maze lines because the bead wouldn't fit through some of the places. Polly's bead mazes were made from left-over tee shirt fabric, which has more give. I think it would be easier to slide the bead in the narrow spots with a stretchier fabric.

Still, I'm pleased enough with the outcome to share it with you here. To finish the whole thing off, I took some red seam binding and quickly zigzagged around the edges. I was planning to just zigzag the raw edges, but I found the red binding in my stash box, and thought it would make a nice finishing touch.
I think this little bead maze will be attractive enough to my two-year-old friend that he'll come sit by me again in church. Which was the whole point.

1 comment:

Polly @ Helping Little Hands said...

It turned out great, Mom! You didn't by any chance save a scanned copy of your maze did you...I'd love to copy it. ;) If not I can trace it off your photo.