busy book: locks + latches


this week’s page isn’t particularly exciting, but it’s a nice quick page that involves some practical skill practice for the kids.

the first lock page i made used a lock we had lying around the house.  it was e-nor-mous and very heavy.  it was so big that when i showed it to the happy toddler on our recent car trip, he started pretending it was a paint brush and painted my arm with it.  my mother expressed concern that he would someday get frustrated with something and would chuck the whole page at the head of whoever was driving and disaster would surely ensue.  while that’s possibly just a teensy bit far-fetched (it could happen!), i was tired of the lock being so awkwardly heavy as a page, so i broke my “just use what we have on hand” rule of thumb and purchased two luggage locks.  i like these way better.  first of all, they’re a more sensible size and secondly, the key works both directions, so there’s a better chance they’ll at least get the key into the lock.

the design for the lock page was inspired by this post on little hands, big work (discovered via pinterest), but i couldn’t figure out how she secured the lock onto that rope (hot glue?) and she doesn’t really go into detail.  plus, the packaging for those luggage locks said that the plastic casings were known to the state of california to be [deadly dangerous–can’t remember the exact phrasing, but you get the idea] and that you should wash your hands after touching it.  right.  let’s just cover that up with felt and not take our busy books to california, mm-kay?

here’s a mini-tutorial about how i covered the lock with felt:

1.  cut a piece of felt about 3 times as tall as your lock and about one and a half times as wide (you can see above that this piece was 5″ long and a little under 2″ wide).

2.  sew your ribbon onto the back side of your felt (again, note the measurements above).  don’t be like me and sew your ribbon with the patterned side up (if you have a patterned side).  you will discover later, as i did, that this will eventually look backwards, but by then it will be too late and irritating to change it.

3.  fold the felt up to form a pocket and sew the sides.  the sewn portion of the ribbon should be on the back side of your new little pocket.  the depth of the pocket should be the height of the body of your lock and the pocket should fit your lock relatively snugly (no wiggling!).  as you can see above, it took me a few tries to get it just right.  when i was satisfied with the fit, i just trimmed those excess edges off.

3b.  test your fit and adjust until you like it.

4.  cut a teeny, tiny semi-circle out of the bottom edge of your pocket.  this will become a hole that the keyhole will peek out of.5.  trim the top of the felt so that it’s a strip narrow enough to rest between the two legs of the latch part of the lock.  you might also want to trim the length down.

6.  sew that last little flap of felt down with a few hand-stitches.

7.  also sew a ribbon onto the key.

if you want to add a metal ring, sew a ribbon onto that too.

8.  then, sew it all down, tucking the ends of the ribbon behind a smaller square of felt and stitching back and forth over where they connect to make sure they’re attached well.

for the latches/buckles page (inspired by mousehouse via pinterest), i recommend visiting the pet supply area (target had dog collars on clearance!), the jewelry findings department (joann had those big lobster claw clasps on clearance!), your junk drawer (the maroon strap and the metal on it was from an old lanyard) and if all else fails, just go buy yourself a few latches and ribbon.

how much does this page actually appeal to an active 2 and almost a half year old?  meh.  he’s interested in the locks and buckles, but he can’t work them by himself quite yet and it frustrates him, so he’s quick to say he’s “done” with this page.  but i think that eventually this may be one he enjoys quite a bit.

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