Friday, June 20, 2014

A Craft Tutorial for A Cotton Batting Squirrel Ornament

This little squirrel ornament is made with a combination of cotton batting and dryer lint.
Top, dryer lint and cotton balls.
Center, cotton unrolled is easy
to "spin" around pasty surfaces.
Bottom, thinning out cotton or
lint before applying it to surfaces
will help you to craft a smoother
surface, free from odd lumpy

Supply List:
  • newpaper, or newsprint, or old telephone book pages
  • masking tape
  • white school glue and tacky white glue
  • tiny beads for eyes
  • dryer lint (greyish or whatever)
  • white cotton balls
  • acorn cap (real one)
  • a bit of fur or natural looking feathers
Step-by-step Instructions:
  1.  Begin this little squirrel ornament by crushing newsprint into three basic shapes. These are pictured below alongside a penny. Mask each one with tape as you go so that the pieces will hold their shape.
  2. Then tape the three shapes together the way that I have shown them below.
  3. Now you are ready to begin to glue and layer tiny bits of cotton onto the squirrel body. I used dryer lint for the grey body and white cotton for the belly, cheeks, and tiny tufts of fur inside my critter's ears. You will find that it is necessary to let sections of your creature's body dry before advanced to another portion or side of the ornament. Take your time and set the piece to dry in a warm place as you proceed. Making cotton batting ornaments is not a fast process.
  4. To make the acorn, I collected a small acorn cap from my back yard and rolled a piece of dryer lint between my fingers with a bit of white glue. Then I attached my little lint ball to the inside of the acorn cap with tacky glue.
  5. Eventually, I snipped the arms of my squirrel into shorter stubs. You will find that it is often necessary to make adjustments to your masked, paper crushed armature as you proceed through a method. 
  6. Also, as you proceed to glue down the lint or cotton with the tips of your fingers, you will discover a variety of tricks: the thinner the layers and the more of them create smoother surfaces, it's easy to build up areas to create muscle mass, using tools like tweezers, needles, toothpicks and a magnifying glass come in handy! Clamping is also useful at different junctures of the process. I only used my hands to make this ornament but, I have also been crafting these kinds of projects for many years. You will improve as well if you persist!
  7. After covering my squirrel's body with the grey lint, I then added a nice padding of white cotton for his belly area, cheeks and the tiny tufts inside his ears.
  8. Then I also pricked two holes with the sharp end of a pair of scissors where I wanted to add glass beads for eyes.
  9. I glued a wire hook to his back leaving a little to show as I applied very tacky glue to a swatch of fur for his great swishy tail.
      Crushing paper armatures is an art in and of itself, so to speak. Once you get the hang of it; you should be able to crush these rapidly and with a great deal more certainty. Stick with it and you'll soon be on your way to discovering "how" to accomplish many old crafts on your own.
      As you begin to add layers of watery glue and lint/cotton, the surfaces of you cotton batting ornaments will improve greatly. I chose not to paint the surface of my squirrel's fur. This is because I loved the natural modeling of grey shades in the lint. However, if you want to paint your squirrel, you should end your process with a last layer of white glue. Use your fingers to apply the glue and cotton; brushes will only serve to get in the way. It will take time for your touch to become just gentle enough to cut down on the amounts of layers through the application process. Give yourself room to grow in confidence. Persistence pays off when learning to craft with cotton batting.
      Some close-up photos of my cotton batting ornament. Remember to tuck in edges as you go using the tip of a needle/toothpick. This makes your work look professional and clean.
More Articles About Cotton Batting Ornaments:

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