Hi! Long time no see! I had some very interesting projects which I mentioned on my Facebook, but very little I could actually write about. I tried to make doll "straw" hats, and it turned into this huge obsession with a bunch of styles and experiments I want to try before condensing everything into one or two blog posts. Anyway, during my millinery frenzy, I went to the store to get some trims for one of these hats I was making for a trade, and my eyes fell on some beige pipecleaners. Well, outside the store lighting they were actually band-aid coloured, but I pictured them into bears rather than fuzzy nude stick men. I remembered Jason White's teddy bear tutorial and thought one of those would make a nice addition to the items I was preparing to trade.
When I tried following the tutorial, I found out that I didn't have the right type of beads and even the bear shape didn't look nice in this colour. I had several more pipecleaner teddy bear tutorials which my friend searched for me to try. My favourite was this one, but right off the bat I didn't like the shape of the head. I decided to draw inspiration from the two tutorials and my plush teddy bear to make my own design. I untwisted my first attempt, unwilling to ruin the other three pipecleaners I had until I arrived at a satisfactory result. Spoiler alert: none were ruined in the end; turns out that tortured, slightly balding pipecleaners still make decent teddy bears!
As several people asked me to write my own version of the tutorial, here it goes:
- one pipecleaner (about 300*6mm)
- two eyes (beads, rhinestones...) I used 2mm half-pearls which I stuck on some masking tape and painted black with nail polish
- nose - I happened to have a piece of brown suede ribbon, but you can use anything you like that doesn't fray, from old belts to felt and even cardboard
- glue (I used fabric glue)
- dark fineliner pen to draw the mouth
- pliers and tweezers to help you in tough places
- thin ribbon, string or yarn
- flame (candle, lighter...)
1. Bend the pipecleaner in half (it doesn't have to be precise) and then bend a little portion at the first fold perpendicular in an "L" shape. I swear, this is way easier to make than to explain! This creates the muzzle/nose.
2. Make two round, loose bends for the ears. If you're looking straight at the nose with the pipecleaner ends upwards, what you're doing now is creating a heart shape where the nose is the lower point and the ears are the curves.
3. Turn it over and complete the heart shape by twisting the ends twice where you want the head to end.
4. Now bring one of the ends up between the ears and bend it over the face.
5. Bend it diagonally over the nose. For example, I started next to the right ear and brought the pipecleaner over the left side of the nose.
6. Repeat for the other end.
After this step, the pipecleaner ends should cross above the nose and point downwards.
7. Twist them twice at the neck again. The head is done.
8. Make the arms/front legs by bending the pipecleaner sharply a short distance from the neck. Repeat for the other side.
9. Bring the ends together and twist two or three times to make the torso base. Don't make it too long or you won't have enough to finish the bear.
10. Make the hind legs in the same manner as the front legs, only a little longer. It seems I took fewer photos of the last steps, but at this point it's easy to figure out. Twist the ends again a couple of times, either in front or behind the first torso.
11. Fold the remaining bits over the shoulders to the opposite side and tuck the ends in. Bend the bottoms of the legs into little soles. You can use pliers at this step.
Now shape your teddy bear any way you want it and brush it with a clean toothbrush if it got ruffled.
12. Prepare your nose, eyes, glue, toothpick and tweezers. For the nose, I cut a little triangle with two rounded corners.
13. Carefully glue the features in place. I used tweezers.
14. After this the teddy bear is technically complete, but I happened to have a brown fineliner handy, which I used to draw the mouth as an inverted "Y" under the nose. I used the same fineliner to darken the nose on one of the teddies.
I turned all four pipecleaners I had into teddy bears and put a bow on the prettiest of them. I didn't think I'd write instructions for this part because I used a tiny piece (about 5cm) of narrow ribbon from a doll outfit and the narrowest I usually see in stores is 3mm, almost twice as wide.
However, I later found the exact same ribbon in a fancier store, it was labelled 1.5mm. So now I can write the second part of the tutorial - adding a bow. I hope you can find this type of ribbon, it's very pretty and useful in miniatures. But you can also use any string or lace you like. For comparison, I also made a bow out of 3mm ribbon.
1. By looking at the teddy bear, you would think the ribbon is tied around its neck and made into a bow at the front. But I don't know if it would be possible to tie a neat bow in such a small scale, so I made the bow separately and then glued it.
Take your whole ribbon or a comfortable length if it's too long and tie a fork bow at one end. It's easier if the ribbon is double-sided. Here is a good tutorial. Use the inner teeth of the fork, not all four.
2. Wrap the long end around the teddy bear's neck and mark where to cut it. You should have enough to go around the neck plus a little extra. Cut both ends to the desired length and melt with a flame. If you're using natural or unraveling fabric/yarn, don't try to melt it.
3. The fork bow has a pretty side and a less pretty side. Place the long end of the bow on the teddy bear's chest and hold it securely. Make sure to have the pretty side of the bow facing up.
4. Add a small amount of glue on the ribbon at the middle of the neck.
5. Wrap the ribbon around and place the knot of the bow over the glue. Press firmly until the glue grabs. I used tweezers.
The same step with a wider ribbon bow:
Wait for the glue to dry and you're done!
This size of teddy bear looks great with 1:6th scale dolls.
|J-Doll Karl Johans Gate|
Playing with pipecleaners is very fun and relaxing and these teddy bears are so easy to make, I want to make a big bunch of them. What for? I don't know. Pipecleaners in my store are sold by piece and that's quite expensive, so I found some lots of 100 online for under 2.5$. Unfortunately the first one I ordered, while still beige, is not the same delicate colour as the ones in this tutorial. It still works for teddy bears (and for curling doll hair :P) but I want to find this exact colour for my big army.
Is this a crazy idea? Can you think of uses for mini teddy bears? I gave one to my dolls and hung another in the car, the third is gifted, and that's it. The forth is sitting in a drawer. Would you buy them or make them if you found yourself needing a teddy bear? Do you know other pipecleaner projects? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
The Black Kitty (^^)~