Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Behind the scenes: Making Materials September 1, 2010

Filed under: Preschool — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 9:06 am
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Since we do make some of our own materials, I wanted to post the process in case there was someone else that can use the information.  When we bought our material, I wanted to only buy things that a) we couldn’t make ourselves and b) would be used a long time.  For things that would only be used a short time or were easy enough to make ourselves, I didn’t want to have to shell out the cash for (because let’s be honest….Montessori materials are expensive.  There’s no real denying that one.)

Because we only have 2 children we’re homeschooling, we also didn’t need to make some of these things so that they’d last a long time.   So, especially for things like the tactile boards, we took frugal shortcuts.

Dressing Boards

To make dressing frames, we went to Goodwill and found a bunch of wooden picture frames. We took off the back and the glass, leaving just the wood frame. We also went through the bins of old clothes we have at home and picked out some with snaps, large buttons, small buttons, ties, hook & loop, buckles, etc.
We trimmed them to size, and used a power stapler to staple them to the frame.

Tactile Boards

To make the tactile boards, I took some firm foam board and 5 different grades of sandpaper.
For the first board, I glued a piece of rough grade sandpaper onto half of the board, leaving the other half smooth. For the second board, I glued 5 strips of rough grade sandpaper on the board, leaving a strip of smooth foam board exposed between each piece of sandpaper. For the third board, I glued 5 different grades of sandpaper, with the rough one on the top and the smoothest grade on the bottom, leaving a strip of smooth board exposed between each piece.

Tactile matching cards

With the left over sandpaper, I cut two small squares of each of the 5 grades of sandpaper.
Then I glued each piece onto a piece of foam board. On the back of the foam boards, I numbered each pair so that there was an additional control of error.

 Color grading tablets

To make these, I picked up strips of paint chips from the hardware store. Then I glued them onto the foam board.

After gluing the paint chips to the board, I cut out each chip. I numbered each color group (eg: the 3 blue ones, I numbered 1. the three purple ones, I numbered 2, etc.)


2 Responses to “Behind the scenes: Making Materials”

  1. […] Barefoot in Suburbia made tactile boards and tablets from hard foam board and sandpaper. […]

  2. I totally agree with your idea of buying only things that you couldn’t make yourself and that would be used a long time. I featured your tactile tablets photo and post in my DIY Tactile Tablets and Extensions at

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