flannel-graphBefore there were multi-media presentations, Veggie Tales DVDs and interactive flash-driven websites, there was…flannelgraph. Flannelgraph boards were simply scenes painted on a piece of flannel to which paper characters could be affixed. They were the height of visual aided storytelling.

These boards were very popular in fundy Sunday School classes because they were cheap and relatively low tech. As long as the children being told the story didn’t have much exposure to television, they worked like a charm.

Among the lessons learned from flannel were these

  • Everyone in the Bible was white.
  • Nobody in the Bible was overweight or ugly.
  • Adam and Eve lived behind big green bushes.
  • Jesus and the disciples never changed their clothes.
  • Jesus had long hair until someone pointed it out and then by the next week Jesus had evidently been to a Galilean barber shop and gotten a hair cut.

18 thoughts on “Flannelgraph”

  1. You haven’t lived until you’ve helped your mom cut out flannelgraph people the night before sunday school.

    1. Ha! Been there, done that. But just once. I really didn’t want to help and my cutting quality reflected it…she never asked again.

    1. Lol…JTR…you “prolly” get a huge buzz from trolling around there like this don’t you? 😀

  2. ROFLOL! I’m dying here. My grandma (the sunday school superintendent) had a whole collection of these and I loved playing with them at her house. SO TRUE! Why did they make the Jews look like Caucasians anyway?

  3. Haha oh boy. Classic. Great. Loved it.
    And just oh-so-coincidental, I so happen to have 3 nice flannel pieces on my desk at this moment. Seems to be Jacob and Esau, and their mother Rebekah. How convenient. (And no, I’m not using them. My mom wants me to scan them for her for whatever reason. hehheh)

    I remember actually playing with flannelgraph as child just for fun. I had my own box of random flannel pieces, religious or not. Oh, those were the days…

  4. My mom cut the long hair off Jesus too! I also liked playing with flannelgraph just for fun!

  5. Funny thing is that I always thought this was old-fashioned and obsolete (and over-used), then I started teaching in early childhood education, and found that “flannelgraph” is a big part of preschool activities! They call it felt-board. Many teachers make their own sets like “Go Away, Big Green Monster” and “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”

  6. LOL!!! I know this post has been up for a while but I feel totally compelled to tell that my Mom had (I believe she still has) a set of felts that is capable of use for telling every story in the Bible….or so they claim. It has an illustration book that tells you all the numbers of the felts you need for any certain story and the felts are all catalogged in boxes. I remember years ago helping her cut them all out. She was so zealous about cutting Jesus’ hair that she almost cut his head off on a few occasions and we had to glue him back together.hehehe… I never understood why it was ok that the Moses/Elijah/Any prophet dude was ok with long hair but it wasn’t ok with the Jesus figure. Go figure. Oh and, believe me, the kids all knew that same guy got used over and over. Talk about confusing 😉

  7. @JTR, please leave. Your comments are counter-productive to the purpose of this site. If there were a website loaded with content bashing realistic-minded, stable, sane individuals I would most likely stay away from it. Do everyone a favor and have that same courtesy for us. Goodbye.

  8. To be fair, Jesus and His followers most likely DIDN’T change their clothes, as they were quite expensive back then and few people could afford more than one set; however, this one set probably was not so colorful nor so clean as the ones typically portrayed in the flannelgraph.
    Also, probably few people were overweight, just because nobody could afford to overeat. 😛

  9. I didn’t grow up as a fundy, but I did got to a baptist church, and I remember these! The only difference is that we had felt instead of flannel. Felt is a little worldly for fundies, I guess.

  10. Flannelgraph characters were white for the same reason that Jesus has been portrayed as black in Africa, Asian in Asia, and Indian in India. Look around the internet and you’ll find examples of people using an image of Jesus that they relate to. Sure, flannelgraph is a bit on the cheesy side, but it’s no more offensive than “Jesus was a black man” and other such things.

    1. Jesus was a Palestinian Jew and would probably have looked a lot like the people that the United States of Trumpistan is trying to ban.

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