Today was Workshop II at Coldean Primary School; it was such fun

Despite the heat, or maybe because of it, everyone was in a happy mood today. I arrived late because my satnav took me to the wrong entrance, but I don’t seem to be able to find the school by my own navigation either; I have got lost each time!

class room of children

Stef giving a short recap on a few points of information on scabies


So today was:

  • mite decorating
  • mat making and
  • creating information sheets about scabies

Time was a little short to complete all the tasks, so the children will be completing their wonderfully creative information sheets tomorrow. I hope to be able to share some of these with you next week when we get them from the school.

information sheet

One of the completed information sheets

child with paper

children sewing mites

Mite decorating


children on mat

Making the mat, four children opted to sew on the mites, others stuck them down

The games mats came on in leaps and bounds, with children both glueing and sewing the mites down.


boy sewing

It was so exciting that the children wanted to sew


children sewing

The workshop required considerable concentration


completed mite

One of the completed mites


brightly decorated mite

Wow – bright or what?



Mites on the modular games mat – decorated with glitter glues


glued mites

More glitter decorated mites

mites on a windowshelf

A selection of mites

more mites

A few more of the mites


There will be an opportunity to finish off decorating the mites during the next session, but so far they are stunning – colourful and beautifully decorated.


five helpers

The team





The bean bags are being printed as I write

The order has gone off to PrintmePretty; they were so helpful with this. Because the project is through the University, purchases have to be done through the finance system, which is a bit involved. The company found solutions so that I could use the online upload method, but the invoice would be paid separately, as opposed to paying on order. All a bit complicated, but I am so looking forward to seeing the results!

When we were speaking on the phone I commented that the children were very excited by the thought of seeeing their drawings printed on fabric, and the reply was, ‘..adults are too’. To be honest, I am already thinking what designs I can have printed myself.




Glue and more glue

When you start looking at fabric glue, you realise how many types of glue there are and the number of brands available. Tacky and fast setting were my main priorities, but of course the glues must also be suitable for use by children; non toxic and not likely to stick their hands to their foreheads! My favourite Copydex type was also not really on the agenda as it can be a bit difficult to work with. I wanted one that came in small sized bottles with a fine applicator nozzle, not one that needs spreaders.

PVA seemed the best solution, but most ‘school’ types are quite runny. Hi-tac type, thicker PVA seemed the best solution, and I chose two types; one is a specific fabric glue (Trimits Fabric Glue) that is tacky and fast drying, and another (Hi Tack Fast Tack) which is labelled as more general purpose, but with the same properties.  Both seem to do the job OK, they hold almost immediately, but do take up to 12 hours to dry completely. So we will just have to be gentle when packing up the workshop.

Then we have the cool melt glue guns as well. I’ve not used a cool melt gun before, and having burned my fingers on my hot melt gun I was dubious, but these cool melt ones aren’t bad. I chose ‘Stick It’ ones, as they were cheap and the sticks are readily available. They are not really ‘cool’, but not burning hot – more uncomfortable than painful if the glue gets on your fingers (and of course it does), but still not suitable for children to use alone. I hate to think of the mess that would ensue! This glue really does set fast, and the bond is strong, but the gun will only be used by an adult, and must situated near to an electric plug. Children can bring things that they are having trouble sticking down with the PVA to the adult with the gun to stick for them. We must make sure the mat-making is put close to plug as the vinyl one will rely on the glue gun.

Coloured felts

Lovely bright felt for cutting up into ‘mites’



Testing techniques and methods for mite-making

Today we are testing the sewing and making methods in preparation for next week’s workshop when the children will be making mites and the game mat.

Each small (larvae) mite will have 6 legs, whilst the nymph, adult and pregnant female all have 8. Pipecleaners sewn on with yarn work well, and beads make great texture on their backs. yarn pulled through with a machine needle or run hook makes the fine ‘feelers’.

Feelerson mite

Hooked yarn ‘feelers’


Attaching the pipe cleaner legs

Competed mite

An example mite

Lying on the floor is an Invitation for the dog to play

We have just spent a giggling 5minutes with me lying on the floor whilst Ross drew around my silhouette as a pattern for the person mat. 

Unfortunately Pepper thought it was a game. Only a few rips in the pattern paper resulted. Now it’s folded in half up the centre line and the outline firmed up.

Pattern and dog

The pattern with dog

Hand outline in paper

Close up of the hand

I luckily have two large curtains that are now spare, so those will make perfect backings for the mats. If they work OK  I may not make the vinyl mat  cloth is easier to fold away and transport.

Off to buy the felt tomorrow from good old Fabricland. £3.95 a metre, very good value.

Update: after all that, I’ve decided the ‘person’ is too complicated, and have reverted to a plain mat that the children will add mites in different sizes that will represent different scores in the bean bag game.

Testing out cool-melt glue-gun on vinyl tiles

Yes this seems to work. So I have taken the plunge and ordered two and a load of glue sticks for the workshop in two weeks time. I don’t think they get hot enough to hurt anyone, and the glue adheres really well, (and to me unfortunately). Whilst the fabric mat can be stuck with fabric glue, the glue guns will make the vinyl mat far easier to manage.

Fabric mites on mat

Trial mat

I will post a link to the instructions for making the legs once I have written them up.


Designing the games mats

Its been great fun designing the mats.

The format for making the mats is as follows; there are two classes of 26 children each and they will swap half way throught the workshop. So each class will work for approximately 40 minutes on the mats. To make it easier for everyone to contribute, I have decided two mats will be necessary, although thats still 13 making each mat. Each group will have an adult helper.

When they swap, the new class will take over and complete the mats.

There are 53 children who will eventually play the games, albeit in shifts as there is also a free-standing bean bag game to play. When I started to think a bit more about how the mats will be used, I thought 4 mats would be ideal, but I can’t see that we would get 4 mats made in the time, and material costs are an issue here, so its going to be 2!

My son Ben came up with the suggestion that a person shape would be great, so that the bean bags score highest when thrown where it is most likely to find scabies on an elderly person’s body. We thought about just using colours, but felt this might be to complex to play with a large group, so have opted for colours and numbers.

Scabies game mat

The ‘person’ shaped mat


Scabies game mat 2

The square mat

The square mat is based on vinyl samples donated by Tapis, a local carpet shop. The 6 squares will be decorated (and transported) separately and put together so that the green, high scores are in the middle.

I just hope PVA glue works on vinyl – must test this out!