kids message board

Introducing Anne from flaxandtwine blog, Anne has a wonderful project she is sharing here today – she explains…

Hi Whip Up Readers.  I’m so happy to be here.  I am a sewer, a knitter and a crafty-thing-maker.  I started my blog flax & twine []  to re-discover my artistic voice through creative exploration.  I strive to share the value of hand made and the important place it holds in my life with my children and with others.  And, to have a ton of fun along the way.  I’d love it if you joined me in the adventure.

A Paperboard Mystery Message
This special word puzzle was originally made for a sweet, strong, little boy in my life who has cancer.  I designed this “get well” gift to have a meaningful message, be easy to do while sitting in bed and have the flexibility to play with over and over. Original purpose aside, I think ANY kiddo loves to decode a secret message.  What a fun birthday gift!  Or gift from a visiting friend.  The added benefit is that the letters can be used for word building long after the original message is solved.
paperboard (used cracker/cereal boxes)
alphabet stamps (can use printed letters from computer)
ink pad
craft knife
cutting mat
sewing machine
scraps of fabric
Make the Message
1. Make a “card” by cutting two pieces of 4×4 paperboard and sewing them together with decorative stitches around the border.  Write the greeting and instructions on one side and the secret message to be decoded on the other.

Make the Letters (Note: The tutorial for the letters below is for a different message than the photos above).
1.Cut a 2×4.5″ paperboard strip for each of the letters you need for your puzzle.
2. Fold strips in half, with the printed side facing in.
3. Stamp your desired letters on one half of the paperboard with local craft store alphabet stamps.*
*If you don’t have stamps or don’t want to buy them, you can print large font letters (try Arial Black – 120 pt) from your computer printer, cut them out and paste them on to the paperboard then proceed with the below instructions.
4.  Cut out letters with a craft knife.  If you have a letter like “O” with a center, cut out the center piece and save it to glue back on the letter later.
5. Select fabric scraps and trim to fit inside the folded paperboard (with a small margin).
6. Sew paperboard sandwich closed around edge with a zig-zag (or other decorative) stitch.
7. With fabric glue, glue down centers of letters and any other cardboard pieces that might bend.
8.  Trim edges of paperboard where corners didn’t quite line up.
Wrap the Package
The message and letters can be wrapped and presented in many different ways. I wanted a handmade reusable bag so the puzzle could be played with again and again.  If you want to make a bag like mine, you can find directions for that here.