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Make Your Own Fabric Alphabet

Make Your Own Fabric Alphabet - a letter recognition activity from All About Reading

Playing with the alphabet is a great way to help your preschooler learn the letters and get ready to read, and this easy-to-make set of soft colorful letters will provide hours of kid-friendly educational fun!

Because kids learn best when their hands are engaged in the learning process, these letters are the perfect way to turn learning the alphabet into a tactile activity.

And as your child grows, she’ll enjoy using these letters for more advanced skills like forming her name and spelling short words. Just follow the step-by-step instructions below to create your fabric alphabet.

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own fabric alphabet:

  • Solid-colored fabric (for letter backs)
  • Colorful fabric scraps–use a variety of colors and prints for the best (and cutest!) results.
  • Cotton quilt batting
  • Thread
  • Alphabet letter template
  • Scissors or utility knife (for cutting paper)
  • Pencil or disappearing marking pen
  • Pins
  • Fabric scissors or rotary cutter
  • Sewing machine
  • Pinking shears

Ready to get started?

Print out the alphabet letter template and cut out each letter using scissors or a utility knife.

Make Your Own Fabric Alphabet - An All About Preschool Activity

Cut solid-color fabric, print fabric, and two layers of quilt batting into twenty-six five-inch squares. Squares should be large enough to accommodate the letter template plus a little bit of extra cutting room around each letter.

Make Your Own Fabric Alphabet - An All About Preschool Activity

Trace each letter onto one square of print fabric. I used a disappearing marking pen, but feel free to use pencil. Pin together all layers.

Make Your Own Fabric Alphabet - An All About Preschool Activity

Using a sewing machine, sew layers together with a wide stitch along the traced line.

Cut around each letter with pinking shears, about 1/4″ from the stitching. Cut out center holes (as in letters A, B, D, etc.) with small fabric scissors.

Make Your Own Fabric Alphabet - An All About Preschool Activity

Repeat steps 3-5 with each letter of the alphabet. If you used a disappearing marking pen, remove the marks with a damp cloth (or follow the instructions for your pen).

Make Your Own Fabric Alphabet - An All About Preschool Activity

It’s time to play!

For plenty of transportable (and decorative!) fun, store your letters in a basket on your child’s bookcase!

Make Your Own Fabric Alphabet - a letter recognition activity from All About Reading

Admire your handiwork and then give the letters to your little one to let the fun and learning begin! Can she spell her name?

Make Your Own Fabric Alphabet - a letter recognition activity from All About Reading

Or spell some easy words? It’s time to let the learning begin!

Make Your Own Fabric Alphabet - a letter recognition activity from All about Reading

If you make a set of fabric letters for your child, we’d love to see some pictures! You can share your photos with us on Facebook or Instagram (tag @allaboutlearning)!

Resources

As you and your child play with these letters, you’ll be reinforcing at least three of the Big Five Skills (critical pre-reading skills) without even trying:

Create your own DIY template for lower case letters and/or numbers:

In Microsoft Word, type up the alphabet a-z and the numbers 0-9, using your favorite font and font size. Then select all of the letters and click the Text Effects tool. (In Microsoft Word 2010, the Text Effects tool is in the toolbox under Home, to the left of the highlighting tool. The icon for the text effects tool is a blue A.) Select this tool, choose whatever outline style your heart desires, and then voila! That’s it! You’ve made your own customized template!

Our All About Reading Pre-reading Program is perfect for preschoolers!

Readers’ Tips:

  • Sew magnets into the back layer of each letter so letters can be used on a white board. (Suggested by Chelsea B. via blog comment.)
  • Skip the batting and use felt or flannel as the backing so they can be used on the felt board. (Suggested by Chelsea B. via blog comment.)
  • Sew letters together with black embroidery floss instead of on a machine so the stitching really stands out. (Suggested by Beverly G. via blog comment.)
  • Use a lightweight tear away fabric to trace a whole page and pin or glue it to the fabric layers then sew through the whole thing. When done with each page of templates, there will be four complete sets of letters. (Suggested by Linda via blog comment.
  • Use coordinating colors or designs for the letters – apple print for “A”; blue print or banana print for “B”, etc. (Suggested by Paula via blog comment.)
  • Have an older child create this set for a younger sibling! (Suggested by Deb via blog comment.)
  • Dots for lower case letters – like in “i” and “j” – can be attached by sewing a layer of clear table cloth covering in between(Suggested by Cynthia via blog comment.)
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Leave a Comment

Areata

says:

Very creative and inexpensive. Thank you for the idea.

Heather

says:

These look fantastic! I’ve been searching for a good tutorial. Do you have any templates for lowercase letters or numbers? Thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Heather,
We do not have premade templates for lowercase letters and numbers. However, Marie described how to make your own template in this blog comment.

Sara L

says:

I love the idea of any collection of letter shapes. And with a DIY project, you can make as many of each letter as you want! I recently saw the idea of creating the alphabet with perler beads (those tiny plastic ones that melt together with an iron). An image search will lead you to multiple designs.

Christy

says:

Could you please make a matching template for lower case letters?

Roslyn

says:

Hi the alphabet letters are an amazing idea I’ve bought myself a small sewing machine but I’ve never used one before so I was wondering if you could give me any ideas on what I should try doing first until I get used to machine sewing. Because soon I really want to do a whole patch work quilt for my teenage daughter but as I said I have never used a machine so before I can start the quilt I need a bit more experience.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Roslyn,
Read the machine’s manual and start sewing. Do lots of straight lines at first, and then move into your quilt. There are many “beginning sewing” blogs and videos online, but I can’t really say which is best because I started sewing almost two decades ago. I mostly used the library to learn, as there are lots of how-to-sew books out there. And I didn’t follow the rules on learning to sew; my first project was a dress with princess seams and set-in sleeves (and I wore that dress until it fell apart and I learned the lesson that cheap fabric isn’t always a good deal).

Most of all, don’t be afraid. It’s just fabric. There is always more fabric.

sydney

says:

I love this project, I just two layers of 100% wool felt to use these on our large felt board at home.

Sydney,
I don’t have a felt board, but I love the feel of 100% wool felt. Such a lovely texture.

Marie-Laure

says:

Thank you from France for this great idea ! I’ve finished my alphabet today, my son is really happy with it ! I’ve made some letters twice to “create” more words.
It allowed me to use a lot of my little pieces of fabrics (the ones you want to keep “just in case” ! this project was the case :D )
A friend asked me one for her son ;)

Marie-Laure,
Have fun! Making extras of some letters is a wonderful idea. Thanks for sharing it.

Serenity

says:

Oops . Nevermind, just saw your post. Thanks for the specs!

Serenity

says:

Sorry, forgot to make this clear. I would really appreciate details such as the exact quantity of fabric. I’m very new to sewing and I don’t have scraps of fabric either. I hope that clarifies things. ..

Serenity

says:

Just saw this post because my son is doing AAR-PRE. I’m so excited about it and this post. AAL is an immense blessing.
I’d really like to make the quilts asap, can you please provide details of materials needed for us newbies. I wouldn’t know where to start. Also, suggestions for less expensive places would be great. I want them to hold out, but don’t want to break the bank of course. I’m looking to make 2 sets of capitals, 2 sets of lowercase, and 2 sets of numbers. I’ll be using my mother’s sewing machine. Thanks in advance.

Merry at AALP

says: Customer Service

Hi Serenity,

Do you have something like a JoAnn Fabrics by you? Ours often has good sales. If not, you may need to talk to other moms in your area, find someone who sews and see where they go for fabric. I would go to a place like that and look at remnant squares, because you can usually get a good price on remnants. Quilters use remnants a lot, so if you ask at a fabric store, they’ll know what you mean and can direct you to what they have. Typically they’ll have a number of small blocks bundled together. You’ll need 5-inch squares of each type of material. For one set of the alphabet, you would need:

26 squares (5″ each side) of solid-color fabrics
26 squares (5″ each side) of print fabrics
Enough quilt batting for 52 squares (2 layers for each letter).

Chelsea B.

says:

Thanks for sharing this great idea! I am working with my 8-year-old to make this as a Christmas present he can give his 2-year-old brother. If I were to make another set, I wonder how it well it would work to sew magnets into the back layer so it could be used on the white board. Or skip the batting and use felt or flannel as the backing so they can be used on the felt board. Just wish I had a larger fabric scrap stash so I could match the print on the fabric to the letter (an apple print for A, flower print for letter F, etc)!

Chelsea,
You have some great ideas here! I think you would have to use strong magnets, to hold the weight of the letter through a layer of fabric, but it definitely could work. Backing it with flannel to use on a felt board would be great too!

As for matching the print to the letter, each letter uses so little fabric that you could get multiple letters per 1/8 yard. I estimate you could get as many as 8 letters from a standard 1/8 yard, and if you organized a group of friends each would only have to buy 3 or 4 1/8 yards of fabric for everyone to have the entire alphabet of phonics prints. I’ve done a similar type of thing with people online for squares of fabric for an I Spy quilt-along, and it was a lot of fun.

Tabitha Wolf

says:

just a random, probably dumb question. I just got done with my first letter and I noticed that the batting is very noticeable and in fact strands are pulling off.. Did I use the wrong type of batting?? I don’t want these to be pull apartable!!! Thank you :) they are really cute and I’m excited to give them to my son!

beverly garsee

says:

I made this alphabet last year for my 5 year old grandson as a teaching tool for his mom. I also found the lower case letters and numbers and made a whole set for him with bags for storage. He is still using them and I also made a set of all for my 2 year old great-granddaughter. I loved making them. The only thing I did different was to actually sew then together by had with black embroidery floss so the stitching really showed up. thanks so much for sharing this wonderful idea….
happy crafting
Beverly aka “nonnie”

I bet they looked awesome with the black embroidery floss! I definite work of love. Thank you for sharing, Beverly.

Serenity

says:

Hi Beverly. Would you happen to have a tutorial on hand sewing the pieces? I’d love to learn! If not, can you please provide any helpful details such as: 1. What needle you used 2. What type of technique/stich you used to hand sew the pieces 3. How long did it take to complete the project
Thanks so much

Serenity,
Hopefully, Beverly will see this and reply, but just in case she doesn’t I’ll give a shot at it.

For the needle, a regular hand sewing needle will work fine, but if you plan to use embroidering thread as Beverly did look for needles with long, large eyes, as opposed to small circular eyes that are used for finer thread. A plain running stitch would probably look best in a nice contrasting embroidery thread, such as Beverly did. You can find lots of videos and tutorials online on how to do a running stitch.

Lastly, I have no idea how long this project would take to complete. I guesstimate cutting all the fabric for the entire alphabet would take at least a couple of hours. Sewing the letters together with a running stitch could take as little as 10 minutes to as much as an hour for each letter, depending on how small and closely spaced you made the stitches and how many rows of stitching you wanted.

Serenity

says:

Thanks for the suggestions and the quick reply!

Sandra

says:

I love this! My 2yo is already learning some letters, and this a great way to keep it going while using more of his senses. Thank you!

Sandra,
You’re welcome. Check out our ABC Snacks too, for even more letter fun!

Dr Rajesh Sharma

says:

Many thanks Marie for the creative ideas. Very nice for tiny -tots to learn alphabets.

Those are COMPLETELY adorable. Totally awesome.

Olusayo Marks- Adegbite

says:

I love this idea but I will need to learn how to use sewing machine. Thanks

Olusayo Marks- Adegbite

says:

I love everything am seeing here, it makes teaching and! learning so easy. Thanks for being a blessing

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

The pleasure is all ours, Olusayo!

Rebecca

says:

I’ve been wanting to do something like this so the timing is great for my ideas board. Now the baby just need to cooperate with time to do it!

Holly

says:

I LOVE this! Thank you for these ideas! Now I need to learn how to use my sewing machine!

Linda

says:

Thanks, I love this idea. Here is a tip for those who want to make some gifts, or have duplicate letters for spelling. Use a lightweight tear away fabric to trace a whole page and pin or glue it to the fabric layers then sew through the whole thing. When done with each page of templates, there will be four complete sets of letters.

Katie

says:

I love this Idea! Now I just need to find the time to learn how to use my sewing machine. I figured it out up until tension just can’t seem to get it right

Nicole

says:

Love the idea that my little one can “play” with the letters! Play makes learning so much more fun. Thanks for the free templates.

Beth

says:

Love this idea! Thanks for the templates and instructions. Great use for scraps!

Erika

says:

What a wonderful idea! I can’t wait to make these for my little guy; he’s absolutely fascinated by all things letter.

So glad I found this post. I am going to make a set for my friend’s granddaughter for Christmas!

Paula

says:

What a wonderful project! My great-granddaughters are both the right age for this. I would use co-ordinating colors or designs for the letters– apple print for “A”; blue print or banana print (or one of each) for “B”; etc. The possibilities are endless!! Thanks!!

Jeanine

says:

Hello Marie! Found your space here through the latest LINKY at HomeschoolCreations.net Thank you SOO much for sharing this idea! My Littlest (not so little lol) has been asking & asking to “sew”! I haven’t been able to find anything educational to throw into that request so I’ve left it alone a while. NOW, thanks to you, I am already listening to the printer printing your free shared printable, and will prepare the fabric before end of daycare day for her! This is a perfect activity to learn for her & share some much enjoyed family time creating together. I think I may even get the teen involved! God Bless, TY

beverly garsee

says:

do you have the numbers and lower cased letter templates…..making for my grandchildren who are all home schooled….wonderful idea for someone like me who loves to sew…..thanks for sharing

Merry

says:

Sorry, we don’t at this time!

Marie Rippel

says:

Hi Bevely,

While we don’t have a pre-made template, you can easily make a template for lower-case letters and numbers. Here’s how:

In Microsoft Word, type up the alphabet a-z and the numbers 0-9, using whatever font size that you would like. Then select all of the letters and click the Text Effects tool. (In Microsoft Word 2010, the Text Effects tool is in the toolbox under Home, to the left of the highlighting tool. The icon is a blue A.) Select this tool, choose whatever outline style your heart desires, and then voila! That’s it! You’ve made your own customized template!

Katie Olson

says:

What font would you recommend for this?

I’ve always liked Comic Sans for kids things, as it looks quite similar to the style of Handwriting Without Tears, the handwriting curriculum I used.

If you were doing upper case letters any font that doesn’t have fancy extras, like Veranda or Arial would work. However, if you are doing lower case, you want a font that forms a and g like we handwrite them, and Comic Sans is the only one that pops to mind that is standard.

However, if you know how to install custom fonts, there are lots and lots of options out there.

Brandy

says:

These are so cute!

Katrina

says:

Thanks for sharing these! I was planning to make them for my preschooler and Kindergartener but now I’m killing two birds with one stone. I’m giving my 7 yr old sewing lessons and she is making them for her younger siblings! We are doing all of the straight line letters first and then the curved ones once she gets better at sewing. :)

Deb

says:

My 8 year old daughter just learned to sew – what a great idea to have her make them for her younger siblings. Could be a fun Christmas gift!

What a great idea, Deb! Your 8 year old gets to practice her new skill and her siblings get fabric letters. Win-win.

Natalie

says:

This is such a wonderful idea!!! I’m not usually a crafty kind of person, but I’m for sure going to try my hand at this.

Does anyone have any recommendations on colors for the backside?

Linda

says:

Hi, Natalie! I would pick a color that coordinates with all of the colors of your face fabrics! Or a color that coordinates with your child’s bedroom or playroom…or maybe even the basket you hope to store the letters in!

In other words…any color!! This “patchwork” style project really is very forgiving when it comes to color selection…sometimes the more color you have, the better it is!

Hope that helps!
Linda

Heather

says:

My pinking shears won’t cut through 4 layers of fabric. What kind are you using?

Hi Heather! My pinking shears are Fiskars brand, and they cut through the layers with no problem. I’m sorry that you are having difficulty with it! Here’s an idea: you could use regular fabric scissors and cut a straight line. The edges of your alphabet letters may fray slightly with repeated use, but that could be a good look, too.

Heather

says:

Thanks Marie, I’ll look for that brand on my next set. I borrowed a rotary cutter with a pinking shear blade. It worked great except for a little trouble on the curved letters. I really enjoyed this post. Thanks for sharing!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

You’re so welcome, Heather!

Cynthia

says:

What about templates for lower case? Dots – like in “i” and “j” can be attached by sewing a layer of clear table cloth covering in between.

Hi Cynthia!

I just posted the instructions for creating a template for lowercase letters–scroll down to Juliene’s comment below.

Great idea about attaching the dots for “i” and “j”! Thanks for sharing! :)

Juliene

says:

This is fantastic! My kids and I are having fun making these. I wonder if you would create templates for the lowercase letters also, or maybe numbers?

Hi Juliene!

Making a template for lower-case letters is as simple as pie. In Microsoft Word, type up the alphabet a-z, using whatever font size that you would like. Then select all of the letters and click the Text Effects tool. (In Microsoft Word 2010, the Text Effects tool is in the toolbox under Home, to the left of the highlighting tool. The icon is a blue A.) Select this tool, choose whatever outline style your heart desires, and then voila! That’s it! You’ve made your own customized template for lower-case letters!

Have fun with your fabric alphabet!

Hopefully this tutorial helps those of you that had questions about customizing the template. Better yet, because you now know how we made our letters, you can take some creative liberties and make as many templates as you want, for numbers even!

Linda Engel

says:

Couldl you tell me which font you used for the lower case letters. I’ve been trying to do this, but Microsoft won’t allow me to change the amount of space surrounding the letters, and I can’t seem to get four on a page at the height it appears the capitals are.

Maybe if I know your font, I can get them to go 4 on a page.

Linda,
I don’t know the exact font Marie used, and she is out of town currently. However, one possibility is the margin settings you have set up. In the capital letter template, you can see that there is a narrow margin, just 0.5 inch. The standard set up on Microsoft Word is a full 1 inch margin on all four sides. See if adjusting the margin down to a little as 0.25 inch will help.

Linda Engel

says:

Thank you so much for your quick reply, and I forgot to say thank you for your lovely gift! This appears to be a great site. Lots of valuable info.

Audrey Thomas

says:

I love the fabric alphabet. I look forward to making them. Thank you!

Hi Audrey! I’m glad you like the fabric alphabet! :) Thanks for your comment!

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