Introduction: Plush-stache Catnip Toy
This is an easy and customizable gift to make all the cat lovers in your life! The cat will enjoy chewing on this irresistible plush-catnip combo, and the owners will have just as much fun (if not more) waiting for that magic moment when the cat has it in his mouth and appears to have a mustache. Its a win-win funny interactive toy. I've made several of these for friends and my own cats. Of course, Kermit here would not cooperate and let me get a photo of that moment hands free, but I swear to you in happens and when it does, it is AWESOME!
Step 1: Gather Your 'Stache-spiration
Mustache merchandise is pretty popular these days, usually featuring a "classic" mustache like the one on the Pringles guy. There are many shapes and colors to choose from. Consider significant 'staches from history, or aim to make the cat a mustache to match his owner's.
I did the latter. I made this toy for my brother's cat, and my brother has a bright orange handlebar mustache at times. I used Hulk Hogan's 'stache shape as the main inspiration for my pattern.
Step 2: You Will Need
Polar Fleece --color of your choosing. Note* If you choose a brown mustache, realize that you will probably mistake this toy for a turd on the floor several times before you get used to it. We have one, so I know.
Thread --reasonably matching in color
Fine tip Sharpie marker or fabric marking pen
a Handful of Poly Fill
Dried Catnip Flakes
Pen and Paper
Step 3: Creating the Pattern
Draw your pattern on paper. Alternatively, you may choose to use a template from the internet. Keep the scale of the toy in mind. You want this to be small enough that a cat will pick it up and carry it. 5-6 inches across is the widest I would recommend going.
Cut out the pattern.To ensure your design is symmetrical, cut out one half, fold over, then trace and cut the other half.
Step 4: Fleece Shapes
Trace your pattern onto your fleece using a Sharpie or fabric marking pen. I recommend a fine tip pen to avoid leaving big chunky marks that could be visible on the final product.
Flip the pattern over and trace a second time.
Cut out both shapes.
Step 5: Sewing
Pin the mirror halves of your mustache together.
Imagine where the mouth would be. You're going to leave that space open for stuffing later.
Begin sewing on either said of the "mouth" gap. A simple running stitch, pulled snugly, will do fine. If you're confident doing tight curves on your sewing machine, you could also do your sewing there.
*Use a double thickness of thread when sewing your halves together. Cats beat the crap out of their toys, and you don't want this thing exploding on the first romp.
Work all the way around. End stitching on the other side of your "mouth" gap. Secure your thread.
Turn your form right side out. Do this gently, so as not to burst any stitches. You might use a chopstick or a capped pen to help you push out any long extensions.
Step 6: Stuffing
Take a pinch off your handful of poly fill.
Roll it into a loose ball, then tuck it inside your mustache shape. Use your chopstick or capped pen to help work it down into the end of the shape. Repeat on the other side. Fill the toy a little less than half way with the poly fill.
Next, stuff the base of your mustache (where you want the cat to bite it) with dried catnip. Fill the form up the rest of the way. If you want to plump out the mustache base with a little more poly fill, use small pinches so as not to insulate the catnip smell too much.
If you have cats yourself, I recommend doing this project while they are asleep, or in a room they do not have access to. My cat is a total nip fiend and tried stealing project pieces several times.
Step 7: Sealing
To close the "mouth" gap, roll the edges of the fleece inward.
Pinch the opening shut with your fingers.
Using thread that reasonably matches your fleece color, stitch the gap closed. An Overcast stitch is good for this.
Secure your thread when you reach the end of the gap.
Step 8: 'STACHE SUCCESS!
You're finished and ready to play. My cat went insane for this toy immediately! In fact, I had to make a second one for my brother's cat because Kermit spit all over this one in the first 5 minutes of completion. It was very rewarding to see that he liked my handmade effort. Watching them play with a Plush-stache is a riot! I could never snap the camera in time to catch an unassisted mustache moment, but I've caught him carrying it around the apt. several times, looking like Yosemite Sam.
Try out your own version. Its totally worth the hour or less you'll spend!
If you're shipping your Plush-stache to someone for the holidays, be sure to insulate it with bubble wrap or tissue paper before wrapping. You want to block the catnip smell from being perceived outside the box, otherwise your friend's cat will gut the package right under the tree!
Happy Holidays, Paw Parents!