Introduction: Cute Felt Frog Pal Wire Form Posable Sculpture
My favourite art inspirations are “Dr Seuss”, “The Muppets” and “Sesame Street”. I love the bold, fun, quirky designs. They inspire me to create my own felt sculpture pieces that combine happy, fun shapes but in a weird way. I want my creations to have the ability to pose for action and set off on their own adventures!
In this Instructable, I share the easiest of my felt sculpture creations – a simplified frog with a wonderful smile, long limbs and hypnotic eyes. I’d love to see an entire pond of these little felt pals out in the world.
I have made these instructions as easy as pie – with lots of photos and making tips, simple shapes, readily available materials and easy hand stitching.
Step 1: Gather Your Materials and Print Out the Pattern Sheets
Gather your supplies for this build. You will also need to download and print out the pattern sheets (2 * A4 pages, see attached).
- 2 * A4 sheets bright green felt (I used wool felt but it’s not necessary – just a nice colour and not too thick or stiff)
- 2 * A4 sized sections of light weight iron on interfacing to attach to the back of the felt sheets
- Scraps of 2 shades of yellow felt for the eyes (about 12cm square would do)
- Scrap of fusible webbing for the eyes (about 12cm square would do)
- 2 * 7mm safety eyes
- Embroidery thread:
- Black DMC 310
- Light Bright Green DMC 906 (or preferably, get the best colour match thread to your felt)
- Yellow DMC 3822 and DMC 445, or in 2 shades to match your felt
Embroidery stitches used:
- Blanket stitch
- Back stitch
Step 2: Trace the Pattern Pieces and Iron Onto Felt
Trace the four leg sections, four arms sections, and two body shapes onto the two A4 sheets of interfacing using a 2B pencil (the non shiny side, please).
You will notice on the pattern sheets I have set out all the frogs limbs, so that you can just trace the pattern pieces (no template making needed!)
Trace the four sets of eye pieces onto the little section of fusible webbing (paper side)
Using a hot dry iron, affix the two A4 sheets of interfacing onto the A4 sheets of felt. Be careful if the felt you are using is not wool – it will have a lower melting temperature. You may need a cloth to cover as you press.
Affix the fusible webbing shapes for the eyes on the two scraps of yellow felt. I went with a darker yellow colour for the outer eye and a lighter shade for the inner eye.
Step 3: Cutting Out All the Shapes and Marking the Mouth
Using your NON-dressmaking scissors, cut out the shapes from the green felt. You can make sure your shapes are an exact match by cutting out one sides shapes and then pair and pin with the opposing side.
Cut the eyes out of the yellow felt.
Using the template on the pattern sheet as a guide position the two sets of felt eye shapes to the front of one of the body shapes and iron into position. I work one set of shapes at a time. So the big outer eyes first then the smaller inner eye on top. You can see from the pattern sheet that the eye inner circles are offset to the outer circle.
Use the pattern guide to mark a line for the mouth in pencil. If you want some more precision, try running a few pins as guides for where the mouth starts and stops from the pattern piece to the felt.
Step 4: Stitching the Frogs Face
Using two strands of the black embroidery thread and your embroidery needle, stitch the mouth in back stitch. If the mouth does not feel thick enough to you, you can stitch back over the top again.
Using two strands of each of the yellow embroidery threads, blanket stitch the two sets of eye circles into position.
Step 5: Attaching the Eyes
Use the pencil to mark a dot in the centre of the smallest felt circles on your frog front.
Using a craft knife or sharp pointy scissors, make little holes for the safety eyes. Once the hole is JUST big enough feed the eye front through the felt and then secure into place with the safety eye back. Because these eyes are a bit long, use the wire cutters to trim the stalk back.
Set all the felt shapes aside.
[A word about the eyes - I like to get the most engaging eye choice I can for my creations. With that in mind, I first picked out some safety eyes that are marked as frogs eyes to use (white with a black centre). I tried these out and the effect didn’t feel super nice. So I ended up going with 7mm black safety eyes. I have each photographed so you can compare and see which one speaks to you.]
Step 6: Making the Wires for the Limbs
Each of the frogs limbs are formed from two lengths of florist wire joined together with duck tape and then covered with two layers of tightly woven wool. The only difference in construction between the leg length and the arm length is that I have cut 5cm off each of the wires for the arm length. You will notice I have not twisted the wires together. This is deliberate. If you twist the wires together you create springs which are more rigid and difficult to pose, while also weakening the structure. I have used 18 gauge florist wire lengths (the thick ones). They are nice and strong for this size construction.
To form the legs, line up two lengths of florist wire side by side. At the mid point and each end, wrap the wire in a small piece of duck tape. This joins the wire and cushion the sharp ends.
Take the wool ball, and using duck tape, tape one end to the leg wire about 10cm from one end. Start to twist the wool tightly around the wire completely covering the wires. Work until you reach the end of the wire and then turn around and go back winding toward the other end. When you have reached that end, turn around again and work back to where you started 10 cm from the first end. In this way you have covered the entire length of wire twice in wool. Use a little piece of duck tape to secure.
Repeat this process for the arms, but cut 5cm off the two wires first.
You now have the limb armature.
Step 7: Putting the Felt Onto the Limbs
Each limb is formed by stitching first one and then the second felt skin for the limb over the ends so that they meet in the middle.
To make the legs, take the first pair of felt shapes and using two strands of green embroidery thread, blanket stitch from the thin top toward the foot of the leg. As you reach the toes, slide the half stitched leg onto one end of the leg wire. Fill the foot with a small amount of polyester filling and then continue blanket stitching up the leg until you reach the end of the felt. Secure the felt to the limb wire with a few stitches at the top. Repeat for the other end of the leg, so they meet in the middle of the wire.
You have now created a pair of legs.
Repeat this process for the arms.
Step 8: Making the Wire Backbone for the Frog
The wire backbone of the frog is simply one length of the same 18 gauge florist wire, bent in the middle and then twisted firstly around the arms and then the legs, then trimmed and secured with duck tape before a layer of padding is added.
Take your arms and legs and lie them across the back of the frog using the pattern template as a guide for positioning. Be sure that each set of limbs is centred to the middle of the back.
Take the remaining 18 gauge florist wire and bend in half in the middle to form a narrow loop about 2cm wide. Lie this loop at the top of the frog back well inside where the frogs head ends. Lay the arms over the wire and twist the wire from back to front and from top to bottom around the arms.
Now position the legs inside the back shape just above the bottom of the shape and repeat the loop of wire around the legs. Curl the wires back up towards the top of the head and use the wire cutters to trim them to about half way between leg and arm. Bend the wires down (you can use pliers), and then secure the wires into position using duck tape.
Take a 2cm wide strip of wadding about 40 cm long and wind it tightly around the frog backbone wires at least twice. Trim any excess and tape into position using duck tape. The frog armature is now complete.
Step 9: Making the Frogs Body
Using the pattern sheet as a guide mark a beginning and end point to stitch from armhole to arms hole over the frogs head. Using two strands of the green embroidery thread, blanket stitch the frog body front to frog body back wrong sides together from arm hole to arm hole over the frog’s head.
Slide the two joined sections of body over the armature loop.
Pin the frog body front and back at the base of the body and using two strands of the green embroidery thread, blanket stitch the seam from one side to the other. Make sure you DON’T catch in the leg as you go. You want to be able to ‘gather’ the seam a little once the frog is filled with stuffing.
Step 10: Filling Your Frog Body
Using the polyester filling and a filling tool, fill the frogs body with stuffing. Don’t panic if you can’t get super tight at this stage. You can add more stuffing once the side seams are done.
Pin and blanket stitch the first side using two strands of green and work from leg hole to arm hole. Don’t worry about the little gap around the leg and arm holes at this stage. You will be closing these up using back stitch once you are happy with the frog’s stuffing level.
Repeat for the other side seam.
Use the filling tool to feed a little more fill into the frog through the arm and leg hole until you are happy with the shape.
Step 11: Finish the Frog!
Using back stitch and two strands of green embroidery thread, back stitch around each of the leg and arm holes. Your frog is now complete. Finish by bedding the limbs into the desired shape, making sure the shoulders, hips, elbows, knees hand and foot bends are in the same places on both sides. Your frog is very easily posed, can grasp, and is ready for adventures!