Sunday, January 23, 2011

How to make a catnip mouse

I've been making catnip mice and other catnip toys for my own cats for years. After I started making them as gifts for friends and family, I found out just how popular they really were!  They're not hard to make, and they're a good way to recycle scraps of fabric.  I grow my own organic catnip, which I sell in 1/2 ounce bags at CreativeCritters.  This catnip is perfect for stuffing toys, or sprinkling on your cats favorite areas.
To make a catnip mouse you'll need:
dried catnip, cardboard pattern for body and ears, scrap fabric, yarn, needle, thread, marker, and scissors

I just drew a very simple mouse shape onto cardboard for the body pattern and a large rounded ear pattern.  Fold your fabric so the right side (the side that will show when the mouse is finished) is on the inside.  Trace two ears and one body pattern onto the wrong side (the side that will be inside the mouse when he's done) of the fabric using a marker.  Be sure to mark an opening on the body for turning and stuffing.
Sew around the ears, leaving the bottom open for turning.  I sew these by hand and use a small back stitch.  Cut the ears and body out, leaving about 1/4" to 1/2" seam allowance.  Before sewing the body, we want to make the tail.  Decide how long you want the tail to be and cut 9 strands of yarn (I chose red and green to match the fabric).  Tie them together at the top with a strong knot, then braid them tightly together, tying them at the bottom.
Take the tail and place it between the layers of the body, with the knot sticking out and the rest of the tail inside the mouse.  As you sew the body, be sure to trap the tail in the seam.  I recommend sewing over this area a few times, just to be sure your cat can't pull the tail out. Now you're ready to turn your mouse right side out and stuff him with catnip and fabric scraps.
After your mouse is firmly stuffed, sew up the opening securely using a ladder stitch and sew the ears onto the body.  You can give your mouse all sorts of personality, depending on how you position his ears.  Use yarn or embroidery thread to make the eyes (simple knots), and the whiskers, which can be as long as you choose.  And this is what you end up with.

Handmade Red and Green Plaid Castnip Mouse Cat Toy with organic catnip 
This little mouse will provide your cat hours of fun play time!  Stop in to CreativeCritters to see my other catnip toys, or purchase some garden grown organic catnip for your furry friend!
Thanks for stopping by!
-Michelle of CreativeCritters

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