Over the years family and friends will often mention pets they have owned and funny stories about them. Unfortunately; a lot of the information about the pet is forgotten, how old they were when they got them, when they were born, and we don't have our cameras at the ready when they do funny things.
Last summer, I adopted a kitten, my daughter found, at the humane society in my area. I decided to make her and I books, and kitty clones with birth certificates, so our pets would be remembered by all of our family members and there stories would be told to future grandchildren. She asked that I make a clone of Buster for her instead, because it would be more meaningful. I think she wanted me to make a clone of Buster because she offered to take care of Buster if my husband and I are not able to do so.
I have always wanted to make something like this for my children when they were younger and when we lived on acreage and owned animals, but at the time I did not know how. The Internet has opened up a lot of opportunities to do this now.
I will share how I made a kit, filled with kitten clones, a book, and birth certificate, to jog our memories as we age.
Step 1: Gather Tools and Supplies
This is what you will need for the clone:
Several picture's of your pet's face and body shape and markings.
Pre-washed and ironed cotton fabric ( Choose colors that will not compete with the embroidery design).Later on I will discuss using black fabric as an option.
Various colors of embroidery thread for the embroidery work or fabric paint & brush may be used instead, or both.
Sewing thread that matches fabric
Make a pattern for the clone or you might find a body pattern online and just use a picture of your cats face and edit it to fit the body. I made my own and edited it for size and markings.I will explain how later.
Stuffing for the clone
Transfer pencil and pencil with an eraser
Scissors and a seam ripper is useful if you have one.
Iron and board
Pc and Printer
Buttons, pipe cleaners if you want a bendable clone, and embellishments if desired
Sewing pins (not shown)
Skewer (not shown) Something to help push the stuffing into the arms and legs.
Tools and supplies for Book:
Writea short bio about the pet clone and include how they were adopted, funny things they do, important things that might be an interest to the person receiving the gift and edit and order the pictures that share those moments by adding the text of the pet's story to the pictures.
A book, new or used, I used a old guest book and covered a couple of the pages guest had signed with card-stock paper.
Tape, glue, scissors,ruler and laminate sheets if desired.
Supplies for birth certificate, or hunting licence:
I purchased laminate sheets to cover the birth certificate, hunting license and for the smaller pictures the children hold while the book is read.
Additional items you might include in the kit:
Small toys, pet tags, or receipts that might trigger the pet owner's memory of the pet.
Step 2: Pictures
Choosing the pictures and fabric for the clone:
Try to get a picture up close with a solid contrasting background, that does not have colors similar to your pet.The first picture has a great profile of the cat but the background is going to be difficult to edit. Not all pets will work for this project unless you can draw very good. It is important to capture the facial features of the pet you wish to clone.
I needed a face with details for the stuffed animal because I used a print fabric for the body of the cat. If you want a full body clone resembling the markings of your animal , take a picture of your pet in the position that would be easy to make a pattern from or take a picture in the position of the pattern you will be using.
For the body of the stuffed animal you could use a fabric print that somewhat resembles the markings of your pet's body and use a lighter or darker solid color for the markings on the face. If you are an artist you could paint the markings, using fabric paint. For the face, choose light or very dark solid colors and transfer the design to the fabric pieces and embroider the design over the fabric before you cut the fabric to the shape of the pet.
If your pet has a lot of detailed markings, I suggest making a larger size. After making a smaller size, I found it difficult to get the embroidery design as detailed as I would have liked. I embroidered a much larger version of my daughter's cat and I was very pleased with the outcome. I did not make a stuffed animal because I embroidered it to make a bag later on.
I was curious what my daughter's cat would look like if I made her one so I photo shopped an image I had embroidered of her cat last summer. Oh how I wished I had made one. I thought it was adorable. I will be making her one, even though she mentioned she would rather have Buster.
Step 3: Preparing the Picture
I found a good face picture of our cat and tried to invert the image and reduce the details in the picture, but I did not have much luck with his colors, so I printed his picture using my printer and outlined the main details of the face with a red transfer pencil. I used an iron to transfer the markings to a piece of paper. Then my husband drew a simple picture of a cats body with arms, legs, and tail that would fit the size of the head and printed it out. We made a few adjustments until we liked the body shape. I made quite a few of these because I was experimenting using different methods and designs.
I made several different sizes and we liked the medium size (10 inch tall) the best. I loved the smaller ones which were 10 inches tall but the body was slimmer. Unless you have made small stuffed animals before, I suggest you make the larger sizes first. You loose details in the face making the smaller size and it is much more difficult to stuff and embroider the smaller ones.
I used a grey fabric for the head and and a print fabric for the body, for many of the clones. The lighter "solid" colors work the best for the head. I printed 1 pattern of the head and body to use for the pattern to cut the fabric. I printed out the same image of the head and body and flipped the image horizontal and printed the head and body again to make a reversed head pattern for transferring the details of the head to the fabric body. The reason for this is, because after you trace the face features with the transfer pencil, it reverses the outline features of the cat's head and when you place the red outlined head pattern over the fabric head, the head will not line up correctly.
My cat had fairly simple markings to copy so, I re-sized the picture and printed it out on my computer. Then using the transfer pencil, I outlined the parts of the picture that I wanted to use for the cat clone. Pixlr's more advanced program has several features, you can use to adjust the amount of details you want for your project.There are also sites on the net that make cartoon characters from photographs, which will reduce the amount of details in the picture.
I usually test the transfer by ironing the picture that I just traced, onto a piece of paper to be sure those are the lines I want to use. This saves you fabric and time in the long run. I outlined a portion of the nose and decided I did not want to use that line, so after making sure all of the ink of the picture was ironed out, I outlined the picture again, this time I did not outline the nose section, I did not like. The transfer looked great, so I set it aside until I needed to transfer the ink to the fabric.
If you will be using very dark colored fabric for the face, there is a product that works very nice on dark fabrics to transfer the design. I have used it but it is a little tricky to remove all of the residue from the stabilizer. If you decide to give it a try, I recommend using a warm damp sponge to help remove some of the residue that did not wash out. Stabilizer for dark fabrics You will not need to use a reverse pattern for this because the image will transfer correctly because it has a sticky back.
Step 4: Iron Design Onto the Fabric
Transferring the design to the fabric:
Outline the reverse pattern of the cat's head ( only, not the body) using the transfer pencil.
Place the outlined picture of the head over the fabric that you will be using for the head ( allowing plenty of room to place the fabric in the embroidery hoop before cutting off any excess fabric and press the image design using a hot iron onto the fabric, (according to the instructions of the transfer pencil).
Step 5: Embroider
Now it is time to embroider the image of your pet to your liking.
TIP: Fabric paint is great to define different areas that would be difficult to fill in with yarn. It should be applied before embroidering. You might consider applique for some areas also.
For my design I used a simple outline stitch, fill in stitch, and a few french knots. My husband suggested not to use a french knot for the whiskers, just make a few simple stitches from a darker colored yarn to resemble the photograph and use the lighter yarn to fall loosely.
After the head was embroidered, I cut the face out adding 1/4 inch seam allowance.
Step 6: Cut Out Pattern Pieces
Cut out the remaining pattern pieces.
You should have 2 head and body, 4 arms, 4 legs, and 2 tails.
Step 7: Sew the Body Parts
Pin the embroidered head to the cat's body and head making sure the whiskers are away from the seam-line, and turn the fabric under the chin to fit the body and trim off excess fabric from the other areas of the face.
Sew the embroidered head to the right side of the head and body fabric as shown and clip the rounded edges with the scissors and press with an iron.
Place the remaining head and body fabric over the previous piece with right sides together.
Sew around the cat's head and body leaving the bottom edge open to allow for stuffing. Clip rounded edges.
With right sides together, place each of the arms, legs, and tail pieces together and sew, leaving an opening at the shoulders and top of the leg and an opening at the base of the tail to stuff with filler.
Clip rounded areas with the scissors and press.
Turn and press with an iron, and use a skewer if needed for the corners and points and a pencil with an eraser for the rounded edges .
Stuff with filler and stitch the opened ends except the leg opening because they get stuffed inside the cat.
Step 8: Sew Body Parts Together
Sew the arms, legs, and the tail to the cat's head and body.
I placed the legs inside the cat's body and pinned them to stabilize them. Then I stitched around the leg and between the leg to close the opening to the body.
Trim whiskers to desired length.
Add a ribbon or embellishments if you like. I did not make clothes for them because I wanted them to look realistic.
Step 9: The Book
What makes the book so special is because my daughter lives in a different state than I do, and she has been searching my area for a kitten for me, but I was not aware of this. She emailed me and asked me to check on Buster to see if he was still available. He was and when we went to look at him, He was the first one that caught my eye. We adopted him that day and brought him home. My daughter told me that if something happened that we could no longer care for Buster, she and her husband would make arrangements for his travel to where she lives and they would take care of him. My daughter loves children's books and I wanted to make a gift that she would cherish, if she does wind up taking care of him. She will have his information and baby pictures and the story of his adventures. It will be a fun book and clone to share with her future grand children. She and her husband have rescued many animals over the years and have many funny stories to share about them.
To give me inspiration for writing the story of Buster, I looked through all my pictures and found those that I could include in his bio. I wrote the story and added the text to them using Pixlr express, which was a time saver. I ordered the prints online for the pages of my book.
I had a guest book that only had three pages with writing, so I used a card-stock paper and pasted them over the written pages.
I organized the pictures so that the story would flow.
I created a birth certificate for Buster.
I used picture corners to attach the pictures to the pages of the book.
I glued the cover picture to the cover page of the book.
Step 10: Hand Held Pictures
Small children love to handle pictures and toys and things while you read to them. I wanted to make some mini copies of the birth certificate, hunting licence, and pictures shared in the book, so when the story is read, the children will have pictures to hold.
I thought I had ordered wallet sized pictures for this purpose but I did not receive them, so I printed a few using my printer to laminate them for this instructable, until I re-order the prints.
You basically just stick the pictures to the sticky side of the laminate and smooth out the bubbles and press to seal. Follow the directions on the label.
Throw in a few of the clone's favorite toys and put everything in a pretty box and you will have memories saved for the kids and at family gatherings, when the old folks are talking about the stories of their animals, the children will remember the details more so,because they have seen the pictures and their parents have read them the stories, when they were too young to read.
Step 11: Sunshiine's Final Thoughts
I am excited to have finished this part of my gift to my daughter. I will be making a special bag to hold the clones, book, birth certificate, toys, and clones. I know she will read the book to her grandchildren and will enjoy having a Buster clone for her shelves. We just learned that my son and his wife will be adding another member to our family and I know my daughter will be reading Buster's story to him or her when they visit my daughter. It also means, I will be making a dog and kitty clone for my son and his wife so they will be reading the stories of their pets to the baby.
I hope you make at least one of these if you love animals. You should leave a few blank pages available, to add to the book as the pet ages.
Thanks for stopping by and do have a safe and warm winter~