I came across this idea on pinterest a while back and thought, ‘that would be easy to make.’ So I did.
A Play-Mat that folds up into a bag
- 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:
For the sides; take the 1 yard of accent color fabric and cut into 3 equal (1 ft wide x 60 in long) strips:
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):
Sew the accent strips to the smaller rectangles, alternating between the accent color and the smaller rectangles:
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):
Fold the strip over (right side out) and stitch a decorative stitch 1/4″ from the fold:
Pin the sides (right side out) to the back (wrong) side of the circular base:
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:
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):
To cut out the holes for the grommets, mark the desired location, the fold the fabric into quarters around that mark:
Cut off the tip of the folded fabric (cut a smaller angle for smaller grommets and a larger angle for larger grommets):
Install the grommets according to their instructions, then run the cord through the grommets with the ends facing outward at the tab location:
Sew the ends of the cord into the bottom of the tab and voila! Project complete! Fill with toys:
And to clean up, simple pull the cord to create a 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.