Mr. Candy Cane is a plush felt toy inspired by the Adventure Time series on Cartoon Network. It took about five cumulative hours to complete and cost less than $5 US. He stands pretty tall but can be easily customized for a smaller toy.
Step 1: Inspiration and Material Gathering
Halloween is approaching and my daughter decided she wants to go as the 13 year old version of Princess Bubblegum from the Adventure Time show on Cartoon Network. So, being the ambitious prop maker that I am and having no current project to work on I made her a Peppermint Butler (a character from the show) to go along with the costume. The toy was made of felt and was so easy and fun to make, I just had to make more. I didn't document Pep But, so here is what I did for the second Candy Citizen: Mr. Candy Cane.
There is an episode where Mr. Candy Cane is red and pink, but most episodes show him as two shades of green. I like green. Decision made. I couldn't find the lighter shade of green so I used white instead.
The materials were super cheap. The felt I bought came in sheets that were a little bigger than standard paper, 9x12 if I remember right. I got them from Joann's Craft store for I think $0.35 US a sheet, but I know you can get them even cheaper elsewhere. The hot glue and thread I already had so I really only spent $3.15 on all nine sheets. If you don't have a glue gun you can buy one for less than $5 with a couple sticks of glue in the pack, use tacky glue or even Elmer's glue, or forgo the glue altogether if you wish.
3 x white felt
3 x green apple felt
1 x walnut brown felt
1 x tan felt
1 x black felt
Various thread colors. I used green, brown and white, but it would have looked okay if I had only used white or maybe black threads.
Hot glue gun and glue stick
Sewing machine (the feet and arms were machine stitched)
Step 2: Shapes! Don't Forget How to Math.
I made a general layout of how big I wanted it to be. I wanted it large, however in hindsight it really should have been shorter but I'll get to that in a bit. I didn't do a lot of measuring, but where I did I'll do my best to convert to metric.
The body was to be made up of eight pieces of alternating white and green felt ending at either side by a shade of brown. Tan for the pants and brown for the hat, so ten pieces in all. There were three bands for the bend in the neck that I had to address separately, so I cut seven bands of felt 9" x 4" (23 x 10 cm). 2 green, 3 white and one of each brown color.
I considered lots of different ways to do the curve, but in the end opted for the easiest, if not the most attractive. First I took two bands that I had cut earlier and placed them on a big sheet of paper. The bands were folded in half and traced on the paper at the begining and end of the curve. I then free-handed the inside curve and measured out the outside curve. I approximated the three segments and used the paper drawing as a template for cutting out the felt. Since the felt was cut front and back, unlike the body strip pieces, there will be a seam on both sides when it comes time to sew.
In retrospect I would have drawn the curve at 160 to 170 degrees because the weight of the head piece bends the curve even further.
The eyes and smile were free-handed.
The pants and hat were pretty straight forward, but it was here that I forgot how to math. It didn't even dawn on me what I had done wrong until it came time to sew on the bottom piece.
Math: So the bottom of the candy cane is a flat circle that gets sewn to the rim of the last body strip. Because our strip was 9" long (23cm) our radius of the circle is 1.43" (3.66cm)
C=2πR, rewrite the equation to get R=C/2π.
Clearly I didn't do this if you look at the pictures. Regardless, the bottom of the cane is going to be a full circle with a radius of a little less than an inch and a half (3.66 cm). The hat brim is a little different. In order to get a sloping shape the brim will be a doughnut shape with a cutout with a bigger radius than the body. I used a radius of about 2 1/4" (5.7cm). When you have a flat doughnut shape for the brim, cut it on one side and re-sew it to close the radius to a little bigger than the 1 1/2 of the body. That will give you a cone shape.
Step 3: Piecing Together
There are a lot of common stitches for use in hand sewing. I didn't want the finished project to look machine made so I opted for a visible stitch. The blanket stitch is easy and looks pretty good on felt. To do this stitch you sew into the face of the fabric and loop under the tail of the thread. You can really pronounce the stitch by doubling the threads or using thicker thread or light yarn if you want.
Almost everything was blanket stitched. The arms and legs alone were machine stitched. After they were sewn up, they were turned inside out, stuffed, and stitched shut about an inch from the edge.
The body was sewn along the length but kept the inner seam open in order to attach the arms and legs and also to stuff the toy.
The face was hot glued in place and then I added stitches to decorate and reinforce.
Step 4: Stuff and Finish
By now the body is pieced together with a big open side, the arms and legs are stuffed and attached, and the face is on. The only things left to do are to finish the long seam, stuff it and put on the hat brim. I figured that I would avoid a lot of problems if I stuffed it as I sewed the long seam, although I have no real justification for it so do whatever is more comfortable.
For the hat brim: turn the toy upside down so you are looking at the face right side up. This will avoid a lot of confusion. Pull the brim over the head so that the cone is facing down over the face. Pull the brim into position and -with the cone still facing down- sew the hat brim to the bottom of the hat. Roll the hat brim up and turn the toy back around.
Some things I might have done differently.
1. Like I said before, the head pulls too far down. This could have been corrected by shortening the curve to 160 or 170 degrees.
2. Because he is lop sided he doesn't sit properly. Maybe add some weight to the body to counter this.
3. With Peppermint Butler, I sewed his legs with a seam in the middle for knees. Mr. CC could have used some knees.