Quiet books, whether the no-sew versions or sewn/embroidered books, are educational and interactive toys that are geared toward toddlers through kindergarten-age children.
They first popped up in the hands of young children sitting in church pews. Homemade quiet books kept the children engaged and quiet when required to sit still for long periods of time – like at church or while waiting at the doctor’s office.
Quiet books are also often referred to as busy books. Although they predate all of the electronic screen gadgets far too many parents give their children to achieve the same results, quiet books can easily cost as much as an electronic tablet.
Quiet booksellers on ETSY and similar sites often charge up to $150 for a book with only 8 pages – or even $10 for a kit to make a single page.
The books are made out of felt, which is super cheap. There is no reason to shell out a lot of money or have a child miss out on the joy of using a quiet book simply because you cannot sew.
Both sewn and no sew quiet books can be flat felt pages with flat felt adornments or interactive features, or more 3D style busy books that include “pop up” features: tiny toy elements, beads, bows, ribbons, zippers, buttons, etc.
Table of Contents:
What Is A No-Sew Quiet Book?
No-sew quiet books are a wonderful alternative for moms and grandmas who want to make an interactive soft book for a child they love.
There is no need to create a lackluster and plain quiet book just you cannot sew – nor do you need to dig into your wallet to purchase templates to make one (or many) quiet books for children to learn from and enjoy.
Even if you can sew, no-sew quiet books still can be an excellent alternative to spending days (or weeks) making a quiet book.
If you want to make a seasonal or holiday book, make multiple for a class, group, homeschool theme unit, or be able to whip up a book for a child to use during an unexpected appointment wait or car time, the no sew version can rapidly become your crafting version of a best friend.
How Quiet Books Help Children Learn
As a former homeschooling mom and now helping to homeschool three children as a grandma, I am a huge proponent of interactive and screen-free learning. Quiet books are an amazing ideal for homeschooling parents and grandparents who feel the same way.
You of course do not have to homeschool your little ones for them to benefit from quiet books. Children are learning all the time, whether from an academic or character perspective – which is one of the many reasons so many parents read to or with their children from a very young age.
The material presented in quiet books can both introduce or expand upon a child’s knowledge of a specific topic or skill.
Introducing or honing letter identification, number identification, shape sorting, counting, matching, sight word recognition, and nature classification are just a handful of the academic topics that frequently the focus of both homemade and purchased quiet books.
Even quiet books that were created with fun more in mind than an academic subject still offer some valuable learning components.
A dollhouse- or superhero-style quiet book can be more than just a cute “toy” used to keep children quiet during religious services or when waiting in a long line at the grocery store.
You can have the children use the fun-themed quiet books to retell a story that you read to them or they read themselves as a comprehension activity.
They can also “author” their own story by using the quiet book pages and the elements on them to make up their own story and share that story with you as they flip through the pages creating the tale.
Using the removable components of a favorite non-academic quiet book can be used as fun counting manipulatives or science lesson classification lessons.
For example, we have quiet books with dog, cat, farm animal, ocean animal, and wild animal themes.
The children could sort the animals into the appropriate category to detail the environment where they live, if they are omnivores, carnivores, or herbivores, or mix the animals in with non-animal quiet book removable elements so the children can sort them into living and non-living categories.
Repetition is key to learning. Flipping through the interactive pages of a quiet book is a lot more fun way to practice recognizing letters or numbers, answering math problems, or building sight words than staring at a printed worksheet.
The lessons the children learn, regardless of the subject matter of the quiet book, will be such a nice break from pencil and paper seated work that the children may not even notice they are doing an educational lesson, at all.
No Sew Quiet Book Materials Tips
There are several good ways to make no-sew quiet books that are both attractive and will stand up to rugged play by little ones.
The supplies you will need to create and decorate the no sew quiet book pages will vary greatly depending on which one of the option(s) below you choose to use. Each numbered section will outline what materials are needed to use the recommended option to build a no sew quiet book page.
Felt is always the base material for a quiet book page, whether it is a sew or a no-sew version. Felt can be purchased on a bolt from the fabric store or in precut rectangular or square pieces from a craft shop or online retailer.
Typically, the individual felt sheets are used whole or cut in half to make quiet book pages, the size is entirely up to you.
The age of the child and the elements you want to create on the page will help you determine the best size for the project. I usually go with the traditional storybook – Little Golden Books type of size for quiet books for two and three-year-olds or for books that will be used a lot in the car.
When making a quiet book that will be more often used in homeschooling or is entertainment themed, I will go a little large to increase the learning or play area.
Felt can be cut with standard craft or kitchen scissors. I would limit no sew quiet book to only six to 8 pages (which makes 12 to 16 page book) including the front and back covers so the weight of it does not overwhelm the hot glued binding – more on binding the book below.
No-Sew Quiet Book Page Creation Options
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Draw or use stencils to trace and cut template pieces from felt. Freezer paper works great when making your own shapes out of felt. If you have a Cricut machine, make either stencils or perfectly-shaped page element shapes in a rapid fashion.
Use the free template sets included in this no sew quiet book guide to print out template pieces. The pieces can be laminated or covered in clear contact paper to preserve them.
You can use regular computer paper cardstock paper to print upon. Back the template pieces with a self-adhesive Velcro circle or square piece so it will temporarily adhere to the felt no sew quiet book pages during play.
You can also glue some scrap felt or flannel to the back of the covered template piece so it can also temporarily adhere to the felt page. I recommend against using cardstock to print upon if you are not using the Velcro option due to the increased weight of the thicker paper.
Hand Drawn Art
You can draw directly on the felt no sew quiet book pages to create an interactive scene, numbers, letters, sight words, etc.
If you have basic to advanced drawing ability, you can also draw or adorn stenciled shapes of animals, people, etc. to help bring them to life. Permanent markers and paint pens work wonderfully when drawing on felt.
Iron On Computer Transfer Paper
You can use the free templates included in this guide or any other images or graphics you desire to make the no sew quiet book by using computer transfer paper.
Simply follow the instructions on the iron transfer paper packet you purchased to print the graphics using your standard home printer.
The images or words on the transfer paper are then applied onto felt or other material. You will need an iron to transfer the images from the special computer paper onto the fabric. Typically, the instructions highly recommend not using the steam setting or even having water in the iron.
You can transfer directly onto the no sew quiet book pages themselves or onto a felt page that will be trimmed around the image and used as an interactive and removable page element.
Some computer transfer paper is designed to work on both white or light and dark fabric, but other varieties are designed to work on either just light or dark.
Pay attention to the wording on the computer transfer paper you purchase when planning what color the felt no-sew book pages and elements features will be placed upon. I recommend against using computer paper designed to work on both light and dark-colored fabric.
Based on my personal experience, the transfer paper designed to work on just one style of material tends to offer the most vibrant colors in the final result.
If you have an inkjet printer and a bit of patience, you may be able to save a few dollars by using wax paper to make your own computer transfer paper.
Even though you are making a no sew quiet book that does not mean it will not be highly attractive and offer ample interactive and tactile experiences for the child that receives it.
Felt accepts a light to medium layer of craft paint really well. You can paint trees, grass, numbers, etc. directly onto the felt page itself and/or decorate the stenciled or hand-drawn quiet book page elements in colorful paint shades or a light layer of glitter glue.
Make absolutely certain that the paint and glue have dried for at least 24 hours before closing the page being created using paint or glitter glue.
You can also lightly dip stampers into paint and use them to decorate the no-sew felt quiet book pages or to make adornments and interactive features by stamping on to a piece of felt and then trimming around the dried stencil shape.
Felt stickers and gems stickers or flat back gems often found at the Dollar Tree can also be used as permanent adornments to a no sew quiet book or as manipulatives in counting or color and shape sorting busy book activities.
Even though these items can come with a sticky back, I highly recommend using a bit of glue to more firmly secure them to the book if they are not meant to be removed and used only as an eye-catching decoration.
If the no sew quiet book is going to be given to a child who is three or younger and still has a habit of putting things in their mouth, using such small pieces (even if they are glued onto the felt book page) could pose a choking hazard.
Hot glue or E6000 glue is both highly durable and can easily adhere buttons, ribbons, bows, thick thread (to place beads upon), and other common quiet book crafting materials.
Pockets, Pouches, And Flaps
When creating a pocket, flip and see flap, or pouch for the no-sew quiet book I recommend cutting felt into squares, rectangles, even circle shapes to create the page element.
Simply cut out the desired shape to the size of the pocket or flap that you want to make and use hot glue or E6000 glue to attach the sides you do not want to move to the no sew quiet book page.
I.e., if making a pocket or pouch, make sure to leave an opening large enough to place the items inside you intend before gluing all other sides to the felt quiet book page.
If you plan on adorning the pocket, pouch, or flap with decorations of some type, I recommend adhering them in place before gluing the feature to the page.
How To Use Flaps: Some adornments that are often added onto these types of quiet book page features include a number on top and the spelling of the number underneath, a capital letter on the flap and the corresponding lower case letter underneath, color shapes on the flap and the spelling of the word underneath.
How To Use Pockets And Pouches
The pockets and pouches could be used to story interactive items to go on the page, such as felt letters or numbers, colored squares that need to be matched to a word permanently affixed on the page, or a felt item attached to a ribbon that is pulled out for play – such as a bunny rabbit from its “hole” that can be played with but not lost.
I recommend adding a Velcro self-adhesive (that you also glue on for added stability) To the opening of pockets or pouches so they can be closed against the felt page so the loose elements do not fall out when stored or once returned to the pocket and the page is turned for continued play.
How To Bind A No Sew Quiet Book
Quiet books are often bound into using a three-ring binder. But, because the book you are making is going to be a no-sew version, this will not be an option.
Without the sewn or embroidered circle around the hole made in the felt so the ring binder can go through it, the material will tear rather quickly.
Felt is such a wonderfully versatile and inexpensive material to craft with – especially when making a no-sew quiet book.
There are no frayed or fringed edges left when cutting felt like there is when using other types of material. Whether you choose to use a whole piece of felt to make a page or cut it in half, no rough edges will be left exposed.
To actually put the no sew book together, simply run hot glue or E6000 glue along the edge being “bound” and firmly place another felt page piece on top of it. Press and hold the two pages together firmly for a few moments before adding another extra page.
Once all of the pages are glued together on one end, use a corresponding or contrasting piece of felt as the “binding” to cover the glued edges of the no sew quiet book.
You can use a pattern fabric instead of felt to create the binding, but the edges will need to be turned in to create a finished look since the “hem” of the material will not be sewn.
Run a bead of glue along the end section where all of the pages were blue together – the “spine” of the felt no sew quiet book. Add more hot glue or E600 glue to the portion of the front and back of the book spine where the binding piece will cover.
Press down firmly for a few moments to adhere everything together before adorning in the binding or moving onto the latch step.
To make a latch to keep the no sew quiet book closed when it is not being used, cut a rectangular piece of felt or the material used to make the binding. It will need to be large enough to go from two inches inside the open end of the book across from where the spine was glued to two inches onto the other side.
Glue one side of the no-sew book latch to the backside and press down firmly to make sure it is firmly adhered. Place corresponding Velcro circles or squares on the underside of the front part of the latch and onto the book itself to temporarily adhere the latch to the cover.
The entire no sew quiet book binding process takes less than 10 minutes. Watch the tutorial video below to see how the simple hot glue quiet book binding process unfolds.
No Sew Quiet Book Theme Ideas
The no sew quiet book free printables included with this guide can be used with the educational and just for fun suggestions below.
The printable pages contain images of numbers, upper and lower case letters, shapes, colors, sight words, barnyard animals, pets, princesses, knights, fairies, dinosaurs, superheroes, and “play house” figures and furniture pieces.
Make counting pages where children match a number with the number of items on the page – two cats on a quiet book page section should be matched with a felt number two piece kept in a pocket on the page.
You can easily divide a single no sew quiet book page into sections by using hot glue to attach yarn or ribbon to separate it into two or more sections.
Place numbers in a pocket and enough Velcro dots on the quiet book page to use as a number line for the children to fill with numbers in the proper order. For young children, you might want to permanently attach one or two numbers to help them along.
Addition and Subtraction
Permanently attach numbers and addition or subtraction symbols to create a math problem for the children to solve with numbers kept in a pocket on the page. You can also write math problems on an index card and laminate it or cover it with clear contact paper.
Attach Velcro on the back of the card so it can be pulled from a pocket and placed into a specific spot on the page and worked. A dry-erase maker can also be attached to the page using Velcro so it is handy and the math problems can be worked over and over again.
Upper case letters can be placed in one pocket and lower case letters in another so children can pull them out and match them on the no sew quiet book page. You can also use flaps so a young child can lift a flap with an “A” on it to reveal the “a” beneath to start learning both sets of letters.
Uppercase letters can be permanently affixed to the page and only lowercase letters pulled out of a pocket to match.
Place a color element on the page, a Crayon, or a shape in a single solid color. Make and place in a pocket or pouch another item in a corresponding color for the children to match.
You could also put color items permanently down each side of the page and put yarn or ribbon in a pocket for children to stretch between the colors to connect matching ones – you will need to use Velcro ends on the yarn or ribbon so it will attach to the felt page or felt page element.
You can follow the same no sew quiet book page set up for shape matching as is noted above for color matching. In addition, you could glue felt shapes to the page and place corresponding shapes in a pocket so the child can place one on top of the other to match them.
Nature Elements Recognition
Create a scene with some nature elements and place the others in a pocket for the children to place on a page in the appropriate spots – such as clouds and sun go in the sky and the grass goes on the ground.
Adding some animals or other fun features in the pocket for the children to play with on the scene they created will make the page even more interactive.
To use nature elements to teach sight words, label the page permanently with sight words for the nature elements so the child can match the words with the appropriate element – such as the word sun in the top right corner to place the sun felt element upon.
Weather And Seasons
Create a page designed to go with a specific weather type or season so children can select corresponding items from a pouch to match. Such as lightning and dark clouds go together on a stormy page, as would a felt paper doll that is adorned in a raincoat and boots.
Using the sight word to weather or season element matching is noted above in the nature elements is also another way to use a page of this theme.
Using Beads On A String For Counting
Affix numbers written or glued onto a little felt square on a page with a piece of ribbon or yarn glued beneath it. Place another felt square beneath where the other end of the yarn will hit.
Place beads in a pouch of pocket to slide onto the yarn or ribbon to match the number at the top. I usually put five numbers to a page so the beads in the pocket do not get too heavy to hold with the hot glue or make the book lumpy when closed.
Holiday Fun And/Or Learning Activities – Use holiday symbols and sight words to make counting and sight word recognition pages using the same format as outlined above.
Just For Fun Themes
Create no-sew felt quiet book page scenes to match the chosen theme, such as a castle permanently affixed to the page and princesses, knights, in a pocket to pull out and play with on the page.
The free printables packet included in this guide contains all of the page elements and scene-making materials needed to create any of the scenarios below.
- Counting And Words Quiet Book
- Crayons Quiet Book
- Dinosaurs Quiet Book
- Fancy Alphabet Quiet Book
- Farm Quiet Book
- Shapes Matching Quiet Book
- Trace Numbers Quiet Book
In addition to using the free no sew quiet book printables above, you can visit any of the links below for even more free printables from around the web.
In my personal experience, even sewing quiet book templates can be turned into a no-sew quiet book template because you are using felt which maintains its finished edge, simply substitute any sewing instructions you ever come across with hot glue or craft glue instead of stitches.
This even works when adding a zipper to a quiet book page, but the zipper may need to be hot glued again over time if subjected to rough toddler play.
- Farm Animal Finger Puppets
- 6 pages of free lacing, braiding, and latching templates
- Mr. Potato Head pages
- Cricut patterns for color quiet book pages
- Cupcake themed counting page
- Pirate-Themed Tic Tac Toe
- Butterflies and Flowers
- Full no sew book for toddlers templates
- Buttons and Snaps no sew quiet book tutorial
- Shapes quiet book page template
You can also mix and match just for fun no sew quiet book themes with educational activities.
If you have a daughter that absolutely loves everything princess-related, make a number recognition and counting book using a princess then to count and place items on a page to match the number painted, drawn, or glue to the page or a section of the page.
A little dinosaur fan may find learning his or her colors by matching a colored square to a dinosaur in a corresponding shade. The theme and style and activities designed for the no-sew quiet book are limited by your imagination alone.
Even though I absolutely love sewing and embroidery, I am still quite enamored with no sew quiet books because they are so fun, simple, cheap, and easy to make.
I can make three holiday no sew quiet books for our youngest grandchildren in just a single day without stressing myself out and spending hour after hour bent over my sewing machine.
They are also perfectly suited for making to go along with the theme unit of the week of themes of the month when homeschooling.
Need a gift for an entire Sunday school class or something to do at a 4-H or scout meeting? A no sew quiet book can definitely be your answer.
Older children can make no sew quiet books under your guidance as a club or family project and donate them to a nursery school, charity drive, or to the local EMS station to give to children they transport.
The no sew quiet book concept can also easily be adapted and used to create no sew quiet mats, playscapes, and activity cubes.
These variations of the traditional quiet book have become incredibly popular in recent years because they are larger, offering the chance for two children to play together at once, or feature an enhanced scale of entertaining and educational activities.
Tara lives on a 56 acres farm in the Appalachian Mountains, where she faces homesteading and farming challenges every single day, raising chickens, goats, horses, and tons of vegetables. She’s an expert in all sorts of homesteading skills such as hide tanning, doll making, tree tapping, and many more.