Make a race track play mat to inspire creative play in your home! This double sided mat is soft to sit on and folds up for easy storage. The perfect place to play with your favorite cars and trucks! This post is sponsored by Mattel. All opinions are my own.
Dallin and Aaron were around Mac’s age when the first Cars movie came out and they were both big Lightning McQueen and Mater fans; Aaron even had a Lightning McQueen birthday party when he was two. It was one of the first movies that we saw together as a family in the theater, and we all loved it!
Fast forward a few years. Cars 2 had just been released and we had two more children in our family. This time —two girls! And you know what? Our girls were fans too! I love how the Disney Pixar movies are written for the entire family.
When Cars 3 came out last year we had, once again, added another child to our family. Just one this time, ha! We couldn’t wait to watch our favorite friends from Radiator Springs light up the screen again, and it did not disappoint.
While there is a decent age gap between our youngest, Mac, and his siblings, they all have a great time playing together. Many of his favorite Cars toys are the same ones that we bought for the boys when they were his age. Some of them were even Aaron’s potty training incentives when he was 3, ha! The great thing about having children spaced out this much is that you get to re-live these fun stages over and over (meaning, the imaginative play stages—not potty training)! After Cars 3 came out we added to our collection. Now we have the whole gang: our Radiator Springs pals plus Cruz Ramirez, Jackson Storm, and even some of the demolition derby characters.
Mac was perfectly happy with his die cast cars and brought them wherever he went until he discovered that this toy from Walmart had a launching mechanism. Now that he’s seen what toy cars can really do there are cars are constantly flying across my kitchen floor.
Walmart has an awesome collection of Cars 3 merchandise for kids of all ages. Pretty much everything you see in this post was found in the toy aisle! We even found a semi-truck friend for Mack named Wally. Both are great for storing little cars.
Did you know that September 5th is Cars day? Yep, there is a day for everything!
While launching cars across the kitchen floor with his brothers and sisters is always a good time, I thought it would be fun to make Mac a race track play mat! Even though I made it with him in mind, it has been played with just as much by his sisters, too!
This race track play mat was a lot of fun to create and the kids were right there every step of the way, adding their input. Mac is very particular about the placement of the cars in the “stands”. He even pretends to count them as he places each one in its parking spot. It’s fun to watch him push them around the track and his sound effects are pretty spot-on, too.
Do you have any Cars fans in your home? If so, I created this tutorial with them in mind! Since every family’s toy collection is a bit different you may want to size up or down on the track or other aspects. I used scrap paper to make pattern pieces. Once I liked how they looked I used the paper pattern pieces to cut out my felt. Use mine as your guide and get creative to create your own!
This race track play mat has two sids: one side has a stadium track, and the other side has a dirt track like Radiator Springs.
The roads and race track lanes are all 2-3″ wide, just the right size for both the mini cars as well as the standard die cast cars. I even made two parking spots for Mac and Wally.
Double Sided Race Track Play Mat
Sewing level: Beginner
Time: 2-3 hours
2 (32″ squares of fabric*)
2 (31″ squares of thin cotton quilt batting)
variety of felt
2″ wide black and white checkered ribbon
sewing thread in a variety of colors
A few notes before starting:
*You can absolutely make this play mat 100% out of felt. Felt is super easy to work with and you don’t have to finish the edges! You can also use fabric glue instead of sewing. I like using a combination of cotton fabric and felt because felt will pill over time and doesn’t last as long as cotton. I also prefer sewing vs. fabric glue for durability. Either way, you’ll end up with a darling play mat! If using cotton, be sure to add a bit of stabilization by fusing quilt batting to it with basting spray OR using fusible fleece interfacing.
**Basting spray is not to be confused with craft spray adhesive. Basting spray is found in the quilting section of the craft/fabric store. Spray it onto your fabric and adhere the batting to it. You can sew through it and it won’t gum up the sewing needle.
Decide the layout you’d like for your mat. Here is a quick diagram of the one that I made.
Adhere your quilt batting to the back of both 32″ cotton pieces with basting spray.
Sewing on the Details:
Use paper to create a pattern piece for the track. Fold the paper track piece in quarters and cut out a hole in the center. Open the folds. Cut out a track from grey felt and a green rectangle of felt for the grass. The grass rectangle should be 1″ larger than the center of the track. Place the green rectangle onto the main fabric piece then lay the track on top. Pin into place and sew around the outer and inner edge of the track.
To add the starting line ribbon, measure the width of the track and add an inch. Use this measurement to cut a length of ribbon. Fold the ends of the ribbon over and pin into place. Sew around all four sides of the ribbon.
Hand stitch the track lanes using embroidery thread.
For the stadium, cut a large shape from black felt using a paper pattern piece. Then cut the paper pattern piece into smaller sections, trimming 1/8″-1/4″ off of the perimeter of each piece and use those sections to cut white and red felt pieces. Sew the red and white felt pieces to the black section. THEN sew the entire stadium piece onto the 32″ square of cotton.
Sew two rectangles below the track for the semi truck parking. Add two stop lights if you’d like!
Use scrap paper to create a pattern piece fo the dirt track (I made mine in two sections). Use the pattern pieces to cut out brown felt. Pin into place and sew.
Repeat for the black road strip.
I used polka dot felt for the cacti. I love how it gives it the look of having poky spines. Here is a printable template to use for each cactus. Cut out as many as you’d like, pin into place, and sew.
Hand stitch the road lanes using yellow or white embroidery thread.
With right sides facing each other, pin the front mat piece to the back mat piece. Leave a 6-8″ opening to turn it right side out. Sew around the perimeter using a 3/8″ seam allowance.
Clip the corners on a diagonal. Turn right side out. Fold the edges of the opening closed and add a few pins to keep everything in place.
Top stitch around the entire edge.
“OK… Here we go. Focus. Speed. I am speed. One winner. 42 losers. I eat losers for breakfast…I’m faster than fast. Quicker than quick. I am Lightning!” —Lightning McQueen.