Make Your Own: Drawstring Activity Mat (UPDATED)

I came across this idea on pinterest a while back and thought, ‘that would be easy to make.’  So I did.

Make Your Own Drawsting Activity Mat

A Play-Mat that folds up into a bag

Play Mat filled with Toys

Play Mat turned into a bag

Supplies:

  • 60″ of 60″ wide canvas fabric
  • 1 yard of accent color canvas fabric (60″ wide)
  • Large Grommets (18)
  • 16′ cord

Layout the 60″ square piece of fabric, mark the center, and then measure 30″ from the center with enough marks to cut out a circle:

Make your own Lay-N-Go: Step 1 Make your own Lay-N-Go: Step 2 Make your own Lay-N-Go: Step 3

For the sides; take the 1 yard of accent color fabric and cut into 3 equal (1 ft wide x 60 in long) strips:

Make your own Lay-N-Go: Step 4

1 yard of the accent color isn’t quite enough for a full radius, so using the leftover corners from the circular base, cut out 12″ wide x approx 8″ rectangles (you only need 3 for the sides, save the fourth rectangle for a later step):

Make your own Lay-N-Go: Step 5

Sew the accent strips to the smaller rectangles, alternating between the accent color and the smaller rectangles:

Make your own Lay-N-Go: Step 6

Measure the circumference of the circle (15′ 8″ approx), and join the strips into a circle of that same distance (I made one section of the green accent color slightly smaller, but you could also shorten each section a small amount and make the accent sections equal):

Make your own Lay-N-Go: Step 7

Fold the strip over (right side out) and stitch a decorative stitch 1/4″ from the fold:

Make your own Lay-N-Go: Step 8

Pin the sides (right side out) to the back (wrong) side of the circular base:

Make your own Lay-N-Go: Step 9

Using the remaining fourth rectangle, create a ‘tab’- this can be done in many different ways, but I chose to sew the 12″ edge (right sides together), flip inside out, press, and sew the seam in place down the center, then fold in half to create a ‘tab’.  Insert the tab in between the bottom circle and the side, and pin in place:

Make your own Lay-N-Go: Step 10

Sew the sides to the circular bottom, trim the raw edges as needed, fold the fabric back over and sew again to encase the raw edges in a french seam.

Your base is complete!  Next, space out your grommets.  I wanted 2 next to the ‘tab’ and then equally spaced the remaining around the circle – 18 total (the photos below show the spacing, not the location- grommets will be on the side, not the bottom):

Make your own Lay-N-Go: Step 11 Make your own Lay-N-Go: Step 12

To cut out the holes for the grommets, mark the desired location, the fold the fabric into quarters around that mark:

Make your own Lay-N-Go: Step 13

Cut off the tip of the folded fabric (cut a smaller angle for smaller grommets and a larger angle for larger grommets):

Make your own Lay-N-Go: Step 14 Make your own Lay-N-Go: Step 15

Install the grommets according to their instructions, then run the cord through the grommets with the ends facing outward at the tab location:

Make your own Lay-N-Go: Step 16

Sew the ends of the cord into the bottom of the tab and voila! Project complete!  Fill with toys:

Play Mat filled with Toys

And to clean up, simple pull the cord to create a bag:

Play Mat becoming a bag Play Mat Turned Bag

Please note: Other websites caution about the cord in this project: It is definitely a strangulation danger for small children and children should be supervised when using this product.  Also, in creating this project, there seems to be A LOT of cord when this is made into a bag (a 5′ radius play-mat may need 16′ of cord for it’s circumference, but it certainly doesn’t need that much as a bag handle).  Also, since the sides need to fold up to close the bag, they are not very stiff and the sides are more of a visual container than a sturdy enclosure.  But it’s still a great project, and I’m sure we will be getting plenty of use out of it.