The inspiration for this paper project was some pictures of cute cotton toys with simple shapes, but a lot of charm. And because my brain is working almost always in “paper” mode, I decided to try to make them from paper.
Here is the experiment, which (I could say) was very successful.
I started with one big IKEA bag
Or another paper bag with thick and “tough” texture. “Tough” in this paper case, means to a bit stiff and not be very easy to tear.
Make some templates with simple animal shape. You can use different pieces of paper for this – a magazine page or – as in my case – the bottom of the bag. To make it easy to draw symmetrical shapes, just fold the piece of paper as shown.
These are my two templates.
Now comes one of the important steps – folding the bottom. This is optional, of course, but if you do it, it will create a bigger space inside the body giving you more room for cotton or other stuffing.
First, fold the big paper piece in two. The bottom – the folded part – will be also the bottom of your Valentine’s animal. The first fold is on the middle, dashed line.
Fold the other two along the dashed lines on the sides. There is no exact direction to the folds, you can decide but make them well defined.
Then fold the edges as shown.
After all these steps, you must have this shape:
The next important step is ironing the paper. Small creases will be a charming reminder that the main material is paper, but big ones will destroy the cuteness of the animal’s faces.
Putting the creatures together
After the shapes are ironed, draw their faces. Do not forget: bigger eyes close to the nose and the mouth give more of a “baby” look. A bigger distance between the eyes, the nose and the mouth will make your creature look more “adult”. In this step I used acrylic paint, because it covers well even in just the first layer and also dries very fast. I liked the shades of the paper which appeared under the first layer, so decided not to make a second. The more precise details I made with markers – alcohol based and acrylic.
While waiting for the paint to dry, I crocheted ears and a tail and also made a pompom for another tail. You can also use fabric or coloured wool.
When the paint dries you can start sewing the animals. To be easier, you can put some glue on the left side and also attach the ears with glue. Keep unglued at least 1/3 part of the other side – you will need it to put the stuffing inside.
I was so excited to finish the project and to see what happens, that I didn’t check to see if my sewing machine is working. Luckily it was working pretty well. It was our grandmother’s sewing machine, which my sister gave to me. It was a real treasure and it is always a huge pleasure for me to work with it.
When the animals were sewed, the last step was to glue on the pompom – the rabbit’s tail.
And the cute IKEA bag stuffed animals were ready. The project took me one afternoon (about 4 hours) from the first moment to the end and it was really fun. I think, in the same time you could make more creatures, not only two, especially if you have some help. I am sure, your children would be excited to try and to make some decorations for their rooms. I actually started these animals as a Valentine’s gift project, but they are very cure decorations for a nursery too.
Enjoy your craft time! ♥
If I have to be honest, articles like this one are a bit dangerous for me. They make me collect too much craft material because maybe they will be needed for a future project. Not long ago I was a real craft hoarder. And if you thing that you are experiencing something like hoarding craft materials I recommend you to check my book about my Craft hoarding.
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