1) Wood train set (any will do; ours is the Thomas 5-in-1 track set).
2) Piece of wood or cardboard, a few inches larger in each direction than the track when set up.
(note: cardboard isn't the best when you'll be using this on carpet.
And it dents a little when stepped on. But it's what we had on hand. )
3) Roll of white contact paper
4) Utility knife with a new blade
5) Permanent markers (I used regular Sharpies, but for coloring, the fatter the better!)
6) Museum putty (also known as earthquake putty, Quakehold, etc.)
Step 1: set up track in whatever configuration you want; I chose the most compact arrangement I could come up with---not one of the 5 suggested ones on the box.
Step 2: measure and cut the cardboard or wood so it's a little larger than the track (so the track doesn't come all the way to the edge of the board). Make it a little larger if you want to be able to rearrange the tracks. I'm content to leave them, at least for now. It's easier for a 2-year-old to play with them that way.
Step 3: Cover board with contact paper. I was able to use two long, overlapping strips. Cut long enough so that you can wrap the edges around to the back of the board.
|Note: when I realized what a pain it would be to color all that light green with my fine point Sharpie, the design suddenly got a LOT more trees---because dark green was my fattest marker!|
Step 4: With tracks in place, use a black Sharpie to draw the outlines of trees, buildings, roads, or whatever else you want.
Step 5: Remove the tracks and color everything in. The only really fat marker I had was dark green, so I ended up with LOTS of trees! I got very tired of coloring the green grass with my thin little Sharpie. I didn't want to spend any money on this project, so I had to work with what I could find. If you're so inclined, buy some big markers!
I have to say, I truly missed my beautiful set of Prismacolor markers from my Architecture & Planning school days! At least some of the skills developed in my previous career were a bit helpful here.
Step 6: Place tracks back on the board, and stick down each piece of track with several pieces of Museum Putty. You're going to use a lot of this. But it will get more sturdy after a few days. That's it! Have fun!