Introduction: How to Make a Wiggly Seal

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Make a wiggly seal out of just some wood and leather (thick Denim or similar fabric would also work).

It's very simple, and although I use some power tools in the photos it could all be done with hand tools.

Check out the video for extra clarity:

Step 1: Draw Your Seal

You'll need to draw your seal on a thick piece of wood. I got my inspiration from a Bing search on Harp seal images.

If you want the seal to rest nicely when you put it down, then make the belly very slightly convex, and arrange the head and tail so that the seal will balance in the middle of it's belly. And make the belly wider towards the bottom, so that it doesn't easily fall over sideways. (If you remember Weebles, then you'll get the idea)

Step 2: Make a Sandwich

Slice your seal blank vertically in two, along it's length, before gluing it back together with a piece of brown paper or similar sandwiched in the middle (this will allow us to split it apart easily later)

If you don't have thick wood available, you can simply sandwich two thinner pieces together for this step - but remember the brown paper!

Step 3: Shape the Seal

Once the glue has set up some, you can start shaping your seal

Saw around the profile you drew earlier, before going on to curve the sides. If shaping on the band saw, as I'm doing in the photo, leave support under the head and tail while you cut the plan view.

Rasps and files will quickly turn a square seal into something more natural

Drill two eye holes, into which you can stick eyes made of contrasting wood (or glass beads)

Also whittle two flippers, and drill 2mm holes through these and into the body, ready to attach them later with wooden tooth picks

Step 4: Split the Body

Use a wide chisel, set on the brown paper joint, to break the seal's body back into two halves, and scrape off all the paper and adhesive

Step 5: Leather 'Backbone'

The seal will wiggle, thanks to a strip of leather that attaches the two halves

To cut the leather to size, use a sharp blade to trace around one half of the body

Step 6: Slice Your Seal

For the wiggle to work, you need to slice your seal into a number of sections

Use masking tape to attach the two body halves together. Lay out slice marks every half inch or so. Number each slice - believe me, you really don't want to miss this bit out! Then cut your seal into slices

Nb. Leave a descent sized piece at both the head and tail

Step 7: Rebuild Your Seal

Unwrap the slices, laying them out in order, ready to rebuild the seal

I start with one side, sticking the head and tail in place on the leather. Next lay out the intermediate pieces, spacing them equally apart. I made alignment marks on the board beneath to help me stick the pieces on in the right place, but you could just remove them one piece at a time for gluing

With one side complete and set, glue the pieces onto the other side of the leather, aligning them with their matching halves

Step 8: Almost There

With the glue cured, attach eyes and flippers, and wipe on any stain or other finish you desire. I've used boiled linseed oil

That's it!

My seal was made from English holly (ilex aquifolium), with panga panga (millettia stuhlmannii) for eyes

If you make one, please let me know and post a photo in the comments

Thanks for reading my instructable,