Ever since I saw Stacy Vaughn’s travel checker game made using an old DVD case, I have wanted to try my hand at something similar. This past Christmas, I had my opportunity! I wanted to make a Christmas gift for my six-year-old niece and thought that this might be an excellent option. My idea was to make a gift that she could use for passing the time when she had to be quiet and sitting still -things that are very tedious at six! I thought that I would make a game that showed various quilt squares and provided the quilt pieces needed to copy the different designs. So I hunted up a spare DVD case, an old 3 1/2″ x 5″ photo album, and one of those zippered clear plastic pouches that sheet sets are sold in.
The first thing I did was to come up with suitable quilt block patterns that used simple shapes. Then, using templates cut from a plastic sheet that I had salvaged from the front of an old day timer, I took some scrap fabric, felt, and fusible web and made the pattern pieces required to make my designs. Though I used the fusible web to adhere the fabric to a felt backing, I also took the time to stitch along the edge of each piece in a contrasting thread color to make the finished designs more like quilted blocks. I also used Fray Check along the edges of the fabric to prevent the pieces from fraying.
As I looked at my DVD case and the plan I had for this game, I began to wish that I had had a case meant to house more than one DVD. Because of the thickness of the pictures that would be inside the game and the bulk of the pieces, I knew that I would not be able to store the fabric pieces inside the case. I would have to find a way to store them on the outside, but hopefully in a way that kept the pieces and the game together. I wondered if I could add a pouch to the back. That is when I thought of the plastic pouches that pillowcases and such come in. The pouch was too big in its original state, but I took it apart, cut it to fit longways on my DVD case and re-stitched it with an additional piece of plastic sandwiched between the two pieces on the lower edge and leaving the upper edge un-stitched as shown in the photo.
This next part was tricky! By bending the case back on itself, the attached plastic sheet that normally covers the DVD label opened up allowing me to pass the extra strip of plastic hanging down from my new pouch up behind it. Taking the free end of the strip and pinning it between the two remaining un-stitched sides of the pouch, I twisted the pinned edge around so that I could stitch it closed. Now I had a zippered pouch attached around the plastic label cover that would hold the quilt pieces! (It can be seen through the hole in the DVD case in the photo below.)
I prepared the DVD case just as Stacy had described in her checker board post. Then I used double-sided duct tape (the blue strips in the picture) to attach two pieces of cardboard to the insides of the case. The piece on the left side I covered in white paper. The piece on the right side (covering the hole) was covered with a piece of pale blue flannel.
After the inside cardboard pieces were in place, I cut photo sleeves from the old album, trimmed them to fit inside, and attached them with washi tape, cascade style, to the cardboard piece on the left side of the case. Then I used the fabric pieces to form the different quilt patterns I had designed and took pictures of them. When the pictures were printed, I inserted them into the sleeves with the simpler designs on top and the more complicated ones further down in the cascade.
With the inside finished, I only needed to give it a cover so that the hole I cut into the plastic could not be seen on the outside. For this, I used scrapbook paper and designed something that seemed appropriated. The finished game is shown below. The flannel-covered surface holds the pieces in place while the designs are being tried, and since the pieces are all fabric, they will not make noise if they are dropped! Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of the pouch on the back!
I did not have time to make another of these games, but if I can find the time later on, I think I will try one with tanagram pictures. Since tanagrams have a limited number of shapes, I might be able to get away without having to make a pouch on the back. 🙂