What is a Quiet Book?

Quiet Books Overview Featured Image

Quiet book … soft book … busy book … cloth book …

They go by many names but the idea is the same. A quiet book (my favorite term) is a series of fabric “pages” containing quiet activities to entertain small children. If you’ve never seen one before, head over and browse my quiet book page archive (there are more examples at the end of this post as well.)

Quiet books can be made for any age children. I have seen books for babies with fun, contrasting imagery as well as books for older children containing pieces and game boards for classics like hangman, checkers, and tic tac toe. The typical target age range for quiet books is about two to five, focusing on skills like matching, sorting, imaginative play, and getting dressed (zippers, ties, lacing, etc.)

Some people design their pages to be sewn together in a permanent book, while others add grommets to their pages and make books with interchangeable pages (like a binder.) I design all my pages to be interchangeable because I feel the book holds my daughter’s interest longer when the pages are constantly changing. I also really enjoy designing and including seasonal pages in our quiet book.

What makes a good Quiet Book?

Quiet books can be beautiful, hand-sewn masterpieces or simple, glued-together pages. The success of a quiet book is best measured by the intended child. Quiet books should be fun, hold a child’s interest, and be directed toward their individual skill levels. When designing new pages, I try to think of new ideas that are just a step outside my daughter’s current skill level or that introduce new skills, while keeping her interests in mind.  If she’s entertained and having fun then the page is a success … it doesn’t have to be picture perfect!

 

Simple tips for making a Quiet Book:

  • Use SHARP scissors! (These micro-tip scissors are my favorite.)
  • Decide on a binding method before starting your pages and make sure you leave enough room on each page for the desired method. (Imagine Our Life has a great post on binding pages. This is the method I use for my interchangeable pages.)
  • Use freezer paper for precise cuts (See materials for more info.)
  • Felt doesn’t fray so you can use whatever type of stitching you want to attach the pieces (blanket stitches are my favorite for most applications.)
  • If you are using acrylic craft felt (or eco-felt) be careful with the iron! You can iron it (i.e. when using freezer paper) but it will melt if it gets too hot so don’t leave your iron in one place for long.
  • Save your felt scraps! I save all my felt and thread scraps in a large bag and use them as stuffing for softies or for art projects with my daughter.
  • Your pages don’t have to be perfect! Children won’t notice small mistakes or whether you glued your pieces vs hand-stitched them on. If you aren’t as crafty or aren’t an excellent seamstress, don’t let that hold you back! (Plus, felt is extremely forgiving and easy to work with!)
  • Have fun and be prepared to spend all your free time making pages and brainstorming ideas. Not only do they take quite a bit of time to make, quiet book pages become very addicting so you won’t want to stop!

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Materials and Tools needed:

  • Felt – I recommend stocking up on the basic colors if you plan to make a whole book. Felt comes in acrylic, blended wool, and 100% wool. Acrylic sheets are the cheapest but any felt will work. I use all 3 and choose depending on my project.
  • Thread – I use a single strand of embroidery thread, folded over and threaded through the needle (so it forms a loop at the end, similar to the method in the first half of this post.) I like embroidery thread the best and think it looks the nicest. You can also use regular sewing machine thread, if you already have a lot of colors and don’t want to buy more supplies.
  • Needles
  • Scissors – As I mentioned in the tips above, sharp scissors will give you the best results. These micro-tip scissors are my favorite for cutting precise lines and small pieces.
  • Freezer paper – Freezer paper is a HUGE time-saver. I cut mine to printer paper size and print my patterns directly onto the freezer paper. It’s also see-through enough to use as tracing paper, if you would rather trace the patterns. See my post on using freezer paper to cut felt for more info.
  • Felt Glue – (optional) – This felt glue is great! I use it occasionally when I am working with small pieces and I don’t want to (or can’t) use pins/clips. You can also glue your pieces for no-sew options of most quiet book patterns.
  • Clover wonder clips – (optional) – I recently discovered Clover wonder clips and use them ALL THE TIME. I don’t like using glue much (and I’m not patient enough to wait for it to dry) so this is an awesome alternative for small pieces. (They are REALLY helpful for sewing softies as well!)
  • Eyelets/Grommets – (optional) – If you would like to make a book with interchangeable pages, these work great to create reinforced holes in your pages. I have this kit and love it.
  • Sewing machine – (optional) – I use a sewing machine to finish (sew the backing on) my pages. If you are more comfortable with a sewing machine than hand-sewing, you can also use a machine to sew your little pieces.
  • Embellishments – Buttons, ribbon, snaps, lace, shoelaces (for lacing activities), small magnets, beads, velcro, etc. are all great to have around or pull from your “stash” to create different activities or sensory experiences in your pages.

Examples of Quiet Book Pages:

Just a few of the quiet book pages I have sewn. See links in the resources listed below for more examples.

{Click on the photos to be taken to the posts for more photos and info.}

Dinosaur Shape Matching Page

Spongebob Character Matching Page

Quiet Book Resources:

If you have any questions about quiet book pages or anything you would like to share that I may have forgotten to mention, stop by the Felt With Love Designs Facebook page and get in touch! I would love to hear from you!

Everything you need to know to get started in sewing quiet books, or activity books for kids

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Hi! I'm Alicia from Felt With Love Designs where my husband, Patrick, and I write about all of our crafty and artistic endeavors. Patrick is the artist behind our designs. I create all our patterns and designs based on his sketches and bring them to life with a needle and thread.

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18 Responses to What is a Quiet Book?

  1. Michelle Stalcup says:

    Thanks for all your ideas. I have everything cut out and am ready to start sewing, but I can’t get my machine to sew the felt.I asked my local quilting store and she told me that I needed a special needle and silk thread. What are your thoughts?

  2. Hilda says:

    Do you sew the objects to the page, if so then do you sew the whole page onto another page?for example if i sew everything onto the page, then the stiches would show in the back..

  3. Isra says:

    It’s difficult coming across good quality felt in my country. Would velvet be a good substitute for making the activities?

  4. Eve says:

    But we dont get felt in our country. What alternative material can we use. Using cotton fabric will not make them look

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Eve, I’m not really sure what you have available in your country but you’ll need a heavy fabric like a wool serge, velvet or something like that. Really depends on what you have available. As you suggest, cotton is probably too light.

  5. Hawwa Zahira says:

    Amazing! Wonderful! Soooo great and lovedall of it! Sooo creative!

  6. Nubia Lopez says:

    I love this idea. I will become a grandma soon and already have many ideas. Working with felt is entertaining, easy enough, and inexpensive. Thanks for all the lovely ideas.

  7. febe says:

    can i use muslin sheets for pages?

    • I don’t think that would be sturdy enough febe, it should really all be made of felt.

    • Debi Pickens says:

      You can use any fabric for your pages, just sew the whole thing onto extra heavy weight pellon, available in sewing stores by the inner facing fabric. I’ve been making quiet books since the 80’s and find that the extra stiffness makes them very sturdy. Good luck!

  8. Denise says:

    How big do you make your book? I am loving these ideas but not sure how big the pages are. I will probably do one that I can interchange pages (cause that also looks like it would be easier than binding individual books) Thanks!!

  9. Peggi says:

    I cant wait to get started!

  10. Jan Bos says:

    Love Quiet Books. Made one for my daughter when she was young, and it is now at her home for her children. Made a second one to keep at our home for when the grkids visit.

  11. Daniela says:

    I love the idea of the quiet books. Very practical and resourceful !

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