Felt Faux Taxidermy Heads

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About: I'm a mechanical engineer in the Eindhoven region. In my spare time I like to make random stuff, both usefull and especially useless.

My wife is the biggest fan of giraffes. So when we were designing the nursery, she had to make a felt giraffe head for on the wall. Since only one animal isn't enough, she had to make at least two animals, so she also made an elephant.

The first couple of steps are for the giraffe. These steps include process pictures. The final step is for the elephant, unfortunately without process pictures, but with step by step instructions.

The patterns are added to the Instructable for both faux taxidermy heads. So if you like them and decide to make them, please share your results.

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Step 1: Make a Pattern

This step is optional, since the patterns are attached to this step. But in case you want to make a different animal, this is how it can be done.

  1. Using (old news)paper and masking tape 'sculpt' your shape.
  2. Wrap the paper model in cling wrap and duct tape.
  3. Draw you pattern pieces onto the duct tape.
  4. Cut the pattern and flatten as much as possible, add darts if necessary.
  5. Trace the pattern.
  6. Make a draft and tweak the pattern where necessary.
  7. Copy the pattern onto pattern paper.

Tip:

Please be aware this method can be used for many other sewing projects such as stuffed animals. Even clothing is possible if you wrap yourself in cling wrap and duct tape.

Step 2: Body

  1. Trace and cut the body parts.
  2. Machine sew the body. If you like to add the hair to the back of the neck, insert these during this step. (Not included in the pattern.)
  3. Unfortunately the pattern is not perfect, so adjust the nose to remove the wrinkles.
  4. Turn the head the correct side out and add the decorative stitching by hand. (I believe the stitching mainly used during the process is my wife's version of the whip stitch.)
  5. Stuff the head with stuffing.
  6. Depending on the type of eyes you use, add the eyes to the body.

Step 3: Ears

  1. Trace and cut the ear parts.
  2. Hand stitch the inner ear pieces on the 'outer' ear piece.
  3. Machine sew the front to the back with the inner ear (pink) in between the two outer ears.
  4. Turn the ears correct side out and add the decorative stitching by hand.
  5. Using decorative stitches, sew the ears to the head.

Step 4: Horns

  1. Trace and cut the horn parts.
  2. Add a basting stitch to the circle piece, fill with stuffing, and close the sphere.
  3. Machine sew the tube.
  4. Turn the tubes correct side out and using decorative stitches, sew the tubes to the spheres.
  5. Stuff the tubes with stuffing.
  6. Using decorative stitches, sew the horns to the head.

Step 5: Spots & Eyes

  1. Trace and cut the spots and nose holes. (No pattern available for the nose holes, just cut them the way you like.)
  2. Using decorative stitches, sew all the spots and nose holes to the head.

Tip:

End and start on the inside of the giraffe so the ends can be finished out of sight.

Step 6: Wooden Backing

  1. Saw the wooden backing from a piece of thick plywood.
  2. Sand and finish (lacquer, paint or similar) the wooden backing.
  3. Add two hooks to the wooden backing. The giraffe will be top heavy due to its long neck. By using two hooks, it doesn't have the tendency to flip over when on the wall.
  4. Sew the additional ring to the end of the neck.
  5. Staple the ring to the wooden backing. Staple the wood from the back, such that it is not visible. Make sure there is enough stuffing in the head.
  6. Remove excess felt from the additional ring.

Step 7: Elephant

Unfortunately we didn't make pictures when we made the elephant, so I can't show the process pictures. We were quite close to the expected birth date, so we were in kind of a hurry. We did make some close-up pictures of the finished elephant. Hopefully you can manage with the pictures and the instruction below.

Body:

  1. Trace and cut the body parts.
  2. Machine sew the body.
  3. Create a curl in the trunk. (Similar to what a basting stitch would do, but with more rigidity.)
    • Sew a 'tunnel' in the seam allowance of the trunk between the grey and pink felt.
    • Add a thick thread or small wire/rope through the tunnel.
    • Sew the thread on one end, tighten the thread, and sew the other side. This step will make the trunk curl.
  4. Turn the head the correct side out and add the decorative stitching by hand.
  5. Depending on the type of eyes you use, add the eyes to the body.
  6. Cut the nose holes. (No pattern available for the nose holes, just cut them the way you like.)
  7. Using decorative stitches, sew the nose holes to the tip of the trunk.

Ears:

  1. Trace and cut the ear parts.
  2. Machine sew the outer edge of the ears.
  3. Turn the ears the correct side out and add the decorative stitching by hand.
  4. Machine sew a tunnel in the upper part of the ears and add decorative stitching by hand. (dotted line in pattern)
  5. Stuff the tunnel with stuffing.
  6. Using decorative stitches, sew the ears to the head.

Tusks:

  1. Trace and cut the tusk parts.
  2. Machine sew the tusks.
  3. Turn the tusks the correct side out.
  4. Using decorative stitches, sew the tusks to the head.

Wooden backing:

  1. Saw a circle (18cm diameter) from a piece of thick plywood.
  2. Sand and finish (lacquer, paint or similar) the wooden backing.
  3. Add one hook to the wooden backing.
  4. Staple the head to the wooden backing. Staple the wood from the back, such that it is not visible. Make sure there is enough stuffing in the head.
  5. Remove excess felt from the head.

Tip:

Take a look at the instruction for the giraffe, since many of the steps are similar.

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