Introduction: Make a Big Fat Hairy Rat (or Other Rodent).

My son's school homework was to make an animal of his choice, describe it and then bring it into class. He chose a rat. Naturally, I had to help.

Seeing as we couldn't find any Instructables for making a rat - we decided to write up the steps we took.

In short:

  • Decide on the rat/or rodent you want to make
  • Purchase the supplies
  • Create the body
  • Attach key facial elements (eyes + ears)
  • Layer with hair
  • Make and attach feet + nose
  • Add whiskers
  • Feed it cheese

Step 1: Shopping List.

Most of the items to make a big fat hairy rat (or other rodent) can be easily obtained from any decent hobby/art store. Here is the list we used:

  • Pipe cleaners
  • Wool roving (in suitable rat colours)
  • Needle and thread
  • Pink felt, for the ears (or close colour)
  • Pink Fimo (or other brand/colour modelling clay)
  • Small beads for the eyes

Items (and tools) you probably already own, but also need:

  • Needle and thread
  • Scissors
  • Strong glue
  • Masking tape and newspaper
  • Time ~ 2hrs+.

Step 2: Body Building.

Start building the body using your pipe-cleaners, newspaper and masking take. Sketch out your big fat hairy rat's body shape using images as a reference point so you get familiar with what you're trying to make.

Use the pipe-cleaners to act as some sort of skeleton for the frame of the body + tail. Then slowly build up the body using newspaper and masking tape. Cut off any material that looks in the wrong place and add in more material where it appears to be lacking.

Don't move onto the next step until you are happy with your body shape - you won't be able to change this later.

Step 3: Eyes and Ears And...

It will be difficult to put the eyes and ears in the correct place after you have applied the fur, so it is best to do this after the body shape is created.

Place the eyes (glass beads/buttons) in the correct position using the needle and thread. It is possible to also secure the ears (felt cut-outs) using the same thread holding the eyes in.

Step 4: Hair Implants

Use the wool roving to add hair to the body. Do this evenly using the relevant colours for the correct parts of the rat's body markings. It is worth piecing through the body with a needle in a few places to get clumps of hair in place, if this doesn't work then use super glue. After you have several pieces of hair secured you can use your felting needle to help secured hair to join to other pieces of wool roving and/or to felt it down.

This is a slow process but stick with it and eventually your lump of masking tape + newspaper will start to look like the body of a big hairy rat.

Step 5: Feet and Toes (and Nose)

Using Fimo (or other suitable modelling clay) make some feet and toes for your big hairy rat.

This might be a good time to refer back to your original rat's images so you get proportions correct. The front feet should look slightly different to the rear feet and toes.

Add a small hole to each foot (this will help secure them with needle + thread later). Same for the nose. You should refer to your clays setting instructions but Fimo was about 1/2hr in a low oven.

Step 6: Secure the Feet

Once the feet and toes are set you can start to join them to your big fat hairy rat's body.

Thread a needle and thread through the holes you had created in the feet earlier and then tie this to the protruding rat's legs (pipe-cleaners).

Before you tighten the thread it would be worth adding a small amount of superglue between the gap to make for a really strong joint.

Do the same for the nose. If you want your big fat hairy rat to have teeth/fangs - this would be a good point to add them in using either plastic white strip or card.

Step 7: Add Whiskers Then Feed Him Cheese.

You probably want to add your whiskers at the end as these will be quite delicate. We used bristles from off an old brush but other materials will work too (e.g. horse's hair). Add a little bit of super glue to the end of each then poke them through.

Finally feed your big fat hairy rat some cheese. He will be very hungry by now.

Step 8:

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