Plastic Canvas is super easy to work with and can be turned into so many cool things. When I was younger my aunt was always making amazing creations. My son is huge into micromachines, so I decided to make him a portable town that he can use anywhere, plus it goes great with his felt car mat.

DIY Car Play Mats

Let’s take a tour, shall we? The first stop is the car garage. You pull on the little pulley to open the garage door and all your cars can park inside. Pull the front tab and the door closes.

We drive on by the next building and head over to the car wash where we get a nice soak. Driving past the fields we realize we are almost out of gas so we had to the neighborhood gas station to fuel up. Then we head over to the local bowling alley, hospital… whatever you want it to be, really!
Plastic Canvas Car Playset Tutorial

Flying blind I created this playset and I’m fairly happy with how it turned out. My son is STOKED with it and uses it regularly, so I would say it is a hit! 
Plastic Canvas Car Playset Tutorial

Seriously, how fun is this?  Not only is it a playset but it also closes up and holds all those little cars. Want to make one for someone special in your life? I’ve broken the tutorial up into manageable bits, so read on to make one yourself.

Supplies Needed:

Plastic Canvas – I recommend a dark green
Yarn in multiple colors – grass, road, buildings
Plastic Needle or Floss Threader


Choose the size that you want the playset to be. You can make it whatever size, the basic shape to start will always be the same. View the photo below to see how to cut the pieces:
Plastic Canvas Car Playset Tutorial

The green and blue pieces are both the same size – one full sheet of plastic canvas. The side pieces are cut to match the length of whichever side they are matching up to.  Choose whatever height you want – mine are 16 squares  high.  The little section to the right is how you will make your buildings.  Again, cut them to whatever size you want, but make sure that the height is shorter than the main piece size – mine are 12 squares high. The size you choose will match up with the size you draw them in the next step.

Draw the road plan directly onto the canvas using a marker. THIS IS IMPORTANT: Make sure to remember that this playset folds in half to close, so building on the left (blue piece) can not line up with buildings on the opposite canvas sheet (green piece) or the tote will not close.  While drawing up the plan and cutting the buildings I numbered each so I knew what building pieces went where.

Click each link to go to the next tutorial in the series:

Car Playset Tutorial Part 2
Car Playset Tutorial Part 3
Car Playset Tutorial Part 4

A few notes: I got all of my yarn at the Dollar Store. If you have a better quality yarn it will fill out the sheets better. This was my prototype so I was OK with inexpensive yarn and to be honest it worked perfectly fine.

My yarn needle kept cracking the canvas because the eye was too thick so I ended up using my floss threader (free from the dentist!) as a needle. You can also use masking tape wrapped around the end of the yarn if you don’t have a needle.