Photo Tutorial: How to Make Felt Mice and The One That Got Away

Felt Mouse Tutorial - 1Header with Text

You asked for it; you got it. Following my post on the felt mouse invasion we launched upon my sister’s new home in the country, some of you requested a step-by-step tutorial on how to make them. Here’s my attempt. If you have any questions at the end of this, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to clarify.

To start, print my mouse pattern on an 8.5″ x 11″ standard sheet of paper.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Printed Pattern

There are two patterns on the page – one for a large mouse and one for a small. Cut the page in half, and then you can decide if you’d like to make a large or small meeska buddy. For this tutorial, I’m using the large.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Pattern Cut in Half

Carefully cut out the pattern pieces. I like to cut just outside the line since it will be trimmed off as I cut the felt. I’m a visual person & this helps me somehow.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Cut Out Pattern Pieces

Next, you will need:
1 felt square in the color of your choice for the body
1 felt square (or piece of one) in a contrasting color for ears
embroidery thread (also called floss) that matches the body color
quilt batting or cotton balls for stuffing
an embroidery needle with a sharp point
black beads or buttons for eyes (2 per mouse)
small black pompom for nose (1 per mouse)
black embroidery thread for whiskers
sharp scissors & clear craft glue

I decided on a pale grey felt for this tutorial because it photographs well. For the ears, I chose black to show off the stitching. So, let’s get started.

First, fold your body felt so that it’s wide enough to fit the main pattern piece.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Place Body Pattern on Fold

The long straight edge on the left should lay directly on the edge of the fold. You can pin the pattern pieces down if it helps, or simple hold tight and cut along the arched edge of the pattern. Sharp scissors are a must for me.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Body Cut on Fold

At this point, I like to go ahead and cut out all the pieces. I’m a process girl – cut all the pieces, stitch all the pieces, connect all the pieces.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Pattern Pieces Cut Out

If you’re not a certified anal retentive like me, you can cut & work one piece at a time. It’s really a matter of whatever you’re comfortable with. Once you’re ready to sew, the first step is to pick a thread color that matches the body.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Pick a Thread That Matches the Body Color

I chose this nice grey shade; it’s a great match. Did you notice the spool? It’s actually a foam wine cork. Can we sidetrack for a minute? I want to show you how I reorganized my embroidery thread. I was inspired by a bag of horribly tangled embroidery thread and some heavy cursing (don’t ask).

Felt Mouse Tutorial - My Organized Thread Box

After untangling all my embroidery thread, I grabbed my jar of foam corks and a sharp paring knife. First, I cut a slit in the top of each cork; then I cut out a shallow “V” notch at the top of the slit.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Corked Embroidery Thread

Using a strip of blue painter’s tape, I secured one end to the side of the cork. I then wrapped then entire skein of embroidery thread around the cork, leaving approximately 1 1/2 to 2″ as a ‘tail’ to tuck into the slit on top. The ‘V’ helps you find the slit in the top of the cork (because corks tend to self-heal when cut) and the deep slit holds the thread firmly in place. Once all your thread is corked, they can be easily stored in a metal tin or plastic tub with a lid. I used this metal tin because it was big enough to lay all the corks flat, which made it easier to see which colors I have. It also gave me enough room to store a pin cushion, extra packages of needles, a pair of scissors and a small embroidery hoop. I love it.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - My Embroidery Box

Now back to the mice! I like to use an embroidery needle with a nice deep hole because I’m turning 50 in March and it would take me all day to thread a smaller needle – even with reading glasses. Here’s a snap of what I’m talking about, in case you decide to pick some up at your local craft store.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Embroidery Needle With Deep Eye

That deep, wide hole makes it easy to thread embroidery thread through the eye of the needle. It’s especially handy if you’re using all 6 strands at once. Did I just lose the beginners? Let me clarify. Embroidery thread is made up of 6 strands of thread twisted together. If you want bold stitching, you use all 6 threads. If not, you can separate out threads to use as many as you like. For stitching up these mice, I used 3 threads (except for the whiskers, when I used all 6). It helps to cut the length of thread you want to use BEFORE trying to separate threads. I like to work with a piece about 18″ long most of the time.

So, starting with a needle threaded with 3 strands of your embroidery thread, grab the body felt, fold it in half (just as you did when you cut it) and let’s start at the bottom (or wide) end. I use a straight stitch for this.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Evenly Spaced Stitches are Key

Unless you’re planning to fashion a costume for your mouse, it’s important to keep your stitches evenly spaced. It makes a big difference in how the finished mouse looks. Just take your time. When you reach the tip of the nose, tie a good knot, then run your needle through the felt into the cavity of the body. Cutting the thread inside the mouse hides any loose ends when it’s knotted. I do this to all the pieces to make the finished part neater. When done, it will look like this:

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Body - Stitched on the Curved Side

If you have a bag of quilt batting (fluffy filler) lying around the house, grab it. If not, you can use cotton balls. They’re much cheaper than a bag of quilt batting, and you won’t need many to stuff a mouse. I find that 6-10 cotton balls are usually enough to stuff a large mouse. First, I like to stretch them out and fluff them up a little. It makes for a less lumpy mouse.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Stuffing - Cotton Ball Stretched Out

Grab a cotton ball ‘strip’ and gently stuff it down into the nose. If it helps, you can close your scissors and use the pointy end to gently push the cotton into the tip of the nose. Then add additional cotton until the mouse is filled.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Stuff Lightly With Cotton Balls or Batting

When I first started, I overstuffed my mice to the point that they were too firm. I didn’t think much of it until I tried to sew on the other body parts. If your mouse is overstuffed with filler, you’ll have a hard time running your needle through the body to attach other pieces. Plus, I’ve found that a less-stuffed mouse just looks better. When I’m happy with how stuffed my mouse is, I like to form a ring of cotton to put at the very bottom.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Stuffing - Finish with a Cotton Coil

That little cotton ring forms a base so your mouse will sit up properly when he’s done. Now grab your circle you cut for the bottom and let’s put it into place.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Bottom - Placing the Bottom Panel

Grab your needle and thread and stitch the bottom onto the mouse. As usual, if you start your knot inside the body cavity it won’t show when it’s finished.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Bottom - Hide Knot Inside Before Stitching

Watch your stitching so it’s evenly spaced again. This part is going to show.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Attaching the Bottom

When you’re done, tie a good knot to secure it and trim the loose threads at the end off. If you start and end at the ‘spine’ seam, you won’t have to worry about the knot showing. We’re going to cover it with the tail later.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Parts - Prepped & Ready to Assemble

And now you’re ready to assemble the other body parts. Try not to notice that some of mine are already finished in the background of that photo. We’ll get to all of those in a minute. For now, let’s start with the ears. Grab one of your ‘outside’ pieces and center the contrasting center piece on top.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Matching Ear Pieces

Feel free to move the inside color around until it’s centered and you’re happy with the way it looks. If it overhangs the outside color at the bottom edge, just trim off the excess felt. Once you’re happy with it, grab your needle and stitch it down. I love to use the body color so it shows up as contrast stitching on the ear. Again, I like to start with my knot on the back side so it doesn’t show.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Ear - Hiding the Starting Knot

I’m not sure what this stitch is officially called, but I like to run my needle past the next stitch, then come back to make each ‘loop’. Why? Because it allows me to barely run my needle through the depth of the grey felt so my stitches aren’t as noticeable on the back of each ear.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Ear - Detail Stitch Shown

If you’re not concerned about the back of the ears, just do a regular stitch to secure it. You’re using embroidery thread in the body color, so it’s not a big deal. Again, I’m anal retentive and I tend to get hung up on little details like that. I apologize. Here’s what it looks like when it’s done:

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Ear - Finished Detail Stitch

You don’t need to worry about tying a knot at the end, because we’re going to immediately fold the ear in half at the bottom edge and stitch it closed.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Fold Ear in Half at Bottom Edge

Stitch across the straight edge at the bottom of the ear, just as you did when you sewed the body together, then tie a knot to secure it. All done!

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Finished Ear

Now do the same to the other ear, and we’re ready to stitch them onto the body. I like to start by placing the first ear (facing forward, of course) about 1″ from the tip of the nose, and about 1/3″ to 1/2″ from the seam of the ‘spine’. Then stitch it down (be careful not to go through the mouse and out the other side or you’ll sew your mouse shut); knot it and snip off the end. Like this:

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Attaching the First Ear

To make sure I get the second ear in the correct position, I line it up like this:

Felt Mouse Tutorial - To Place 2nd Ear - Line Up with First

You can pin it into place if that helps. Just make sure you reach inside the mouse body to make sure you’re not pinning or sewing all the way through the other side. Once both ears are attached, you can pry them open and move them up or down a little until you like how they look.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - The Ears Are On

Ready to make a tail? Me, too! Grab your tail piece and make sure you have enough thread in your needle. I hate to start a piece and have to stop and tie knots in the middle. Once I start a piece, I like to go to the end without stopping. I know! I told you I have issues! Don’t be like me. Just grab your tail (heehee)… I mean grab your mouse tail, and fold it in half at the bottom edge. We’re going to sew it up just like we did the body.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Fold Tail in Half & Start Stitching at Base

Do you have a problem with your nails getting brittle and splitting and breaking off in the winter? I do. Drives me crazy. Anywho, stitch up your mouse tail until you get as close to the tip as possible. You’ll see what I mean when you get there.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Fold Tail in Half & Stitch Edge to Tip

The more narrow that tail gets, the tougher it is to stitch it shut. When it’s done, it should look something like this:

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Finished Tail

Now grab your mouse body, and we’ll attach it at the ‘spine’ seam.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Attaching the Tail

I find it easier to flip him upside down.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Tail - Line Up Tail w Base - Tail Pointing to Head

And now your tail is attached. Here’s the bonus to all that tail stitching – it gives it enough structure to bend and shape the tail any way you want, which gives your mouse more personality. You can thank me later. So now you’re ears and tail are on. Congratulations! You’re almost finished.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Almost There

Let’s move on to arms. I think the arms are what makes these mice so adorable. And versatile. A mouse with arms can do just about anything. More on that later. For now, grab an arm piece and we’ll stitch it up just like we did the tail – starting at the flat end. Stop when you get to the part where the palm flares, and secure with a strong knot. I like to run the thread back down through the arm before I cut it so the knot doesn’t show.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Tuck the Thread Tail Down Into Arm

Here’s where I just get crazy stupid excited. I LOVE making these arms and hands. It adds so much personality to your mouse. And it’s seriously fun. Grab your scissors, and let’s start cutting fingers for your mouse.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Hand - Cutting the First Finger

Using sharp scissors, remove little curved triangles to form 4 fingers.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Hands - Trim Triangles Out to form Fingers

Gah! Isn’t that adorable? I just love these little mouse hands.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Finished Arm

When both hands are done, we’re ready to stitch the arms on. I like to attach them both at the same time by pinching them together on the ‘spine’ seam.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Arms - Attaching to Body at the Spine

I really stitch these down well, so I’ll go over it twice before I knot it off. Here’s what I mean when I say arms give these mice such character.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - One Body Down - One Face To Go

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Yo - Can a Mouse Get a Face Here

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Papa Can You See Me

See? They don’t even have faces yet, and they’re starting to come to life. This must be what being an animator feels like. Please say you’re just as crazy about this as I am so I don’t feel like a total craft geek. Please.

Maybe we should just move on to faces. Every mouse needs whiskers. For this, I use all 6 strands of the embroidery thread. Tying a knot about 1″ from the end, I pull the needle through the end of the snout (about 1/4″ from the tip). The knot stops the whiskers from pulling all the way through.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Sewing Whiskers Onto Snout

Once it’s through, cut the second side to the same length as the first (1″). To secure them, I use a toothpick and apply a small dab of clear craft glue at the base of both sides of the whiskers. Tip: just as wax is used by men to keep handlebar mustaches in line, so goes Chapstick for wee little mousetaches – keeps those whiskers separated & stylish.

Next, we’ll place the eyes. If I’m not sure where I want to put them, I grab a few straight pins with the balls on the end. I just keep jabbing the mouse in the head until I like how it looks. If you need to, mark the spot with a pencil.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Testing Eye Placement With Pins

I buy shiny round beads for the eyes and tiny pompoms for noses. (They love me at Hobby Lobby.) Once I sew them down, I hit them with a dab of clear craft glue just to make sure they’re securely attached.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Beady Eyes & PomPom Nose

You’re done! Now you’re free to embellish your mouse any way you see fit. For this one, I created a flower from an antique button. I thought it would be sweet to have her holding a flower, since she’s making new friends here.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Finished Mouse - Hello Cutie

It almost looks like a bridal bouquet. Which is an insight into how my mind works. Now that I’ve seen her and thought ‘bridal bouquet’, there’s a good chance I’ll end up making a wedding dress and veil for her. Because in my mind, more is more; and more is better.

And that brings me to The One That Got Away from Sister #4.

My Big Sister and I started this mouse project separately, but there came a time during the summer when Mom decided to visit and Big Sis decided to join us. At that time, we committed to combining the mouse tribes into one big happy family and finish it together so we could tag them and box them up in one tidy bundle. We made the last few mice together while sipping cocktails and chatting around the living room coffee table.

And that’s where Grandpa FisherMouse came to life. He was the very last mouse I crafted, and I fell so head-over-heels for him, I told the girls I wasn’t sure I could turn loose of him. I mean… could you?

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Grandpa FisherMouse - Basket Side

I just love him. He has a fishing net with a few small fish in it. And a fishing pole with one on the hook (and there’s a bobber on the line). He even has a fishing vest with teeny tiny buttons and a trout basket.

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Grandpa FisherMouse - Vest Close-Up

This is where that anal retentive attention to detail comes into play. Sometimes I can’t stop myself. He has a little print bandana, a black felt hat, and I even braided a band to go around the hat. He reminds me of the movie ‘A River Runs Through It’ – which may be why I’m obsessed with him. There’s a slight chance it might be tied to my deep and abiding love of Robert Redford, Brad Pitt and the great state of Montana. Maybe-ish. Whatever – he’s mine (my preciousss).

Felt Mouse Tutorial - Grandpa FisherMouse

Sorry, Sister #4. I love ya’ and all, but you’re not getting this one. :)
Maybe I should make him a canoe out of toothpicks & popsicle sticks…

44 Comments

Filed under Craft Projects, Family Stuff

44 responses to “Photo Tutorial: How to Make Felt Mice and The One That Got Away

  1. Darling & Cute – thanks for sharing! Happy Monday:)

  2. OMG! These mice are so adorable! What a fabulous tutorial. I love that you, your Mom and your sister are making these together. Grampa Fisherman is absolutely wonderful and I love your attention to detail. I’m glad that he was able to stay behind with you. Do post should you build him a boat :)

    • Hahaha….thanks, Paula. I’m leaning towards finding him a toy boat already built but if it comes down to it, I’m not beyond building one myself. I’ll keep you posted. :D

  3. Grandpa Fisherman is by far my favorite! I’m glad he scurried into a hidey-hole so he could live out his days with you. Your attention to detail is unparalleled! Given that, I think it’d only be right Grandpa Fisherman definitely needs a boat with which to fish.

  4. Big Sis

    Great job with the tutorial!! Grandpa mouse needs a shade tree to stand under!! :)

    • Great… now I’m thinking I need to find an old aquarium and build an entire diorama around him. I could use pebbles to build a creek bed, drop in a few trees & bushes, maybe a little log cabin with a rocking chair. Good grief! I might not ever finish this!

      • Craftiest #4

        So, If you’re going to do a diorama, maybe you could get Ken to fix you up with a “matte” painting, like in the old movies, for a back drop. He could create “A River Runs Through It” themed pic. If you’re lucky he may even throw in a young, shirtless Brad Pitt. Just saying….. it may be worth asking for =)

      • Wow! I would love that! We should look for a wooden box or crate when we’re all there in March so I could leave it with him. How cool would that be? Awesome suggestion. Now you’ll have to give me hints on what I can bribe him with. Paint brushes? Tubes of paint? Sketch pads? Baked goodies? Sheet music? What does your Renaissance Man need?

  5. Claudia

    Oh, Grandpa FisherMouse’s ear that is slightly topsy turvy… that is just too cute! :-)

  6. My comment went and deleted itself, but what I wanted to say was…WOW! I am so impressed after seeing how much work, love, and attention goes into each and every mouse! Thank you so much for the tutorial. I might actually be able to do this craft, which would impress the world. Grandpa FisherMouse is adorable with his little fisher hat!

  7. Pingback: OKMH – It’s baaaack! | Inside NanaBread's Head

  8. AK

    How do you make the other felt mouse pattern, like the hippie mice? It looks a bit easier, and I would like to make one for “son #4″ A.K.A my littlest brother.

  9. Pingback: The Mouse Project | Inside NanaBread's Head

  10. Pingback: The Mouse Project | Comfortably Domestic

  11. Pingback: On Mousing OR That One Time Where I Crafted. | Tenaciously Yours,

  12. sally

    Did you end up making the viel for your first mouse? I am going to try and make my own bride and groom for our cheese wedding cake!

    • No, Sally. I didn’t make the bridal veil. Instead, I ended up making a skirt with tuille overlay and dressed her like a princess for a friend of mine. She just ran the Paris marathon and is a royal watcher. I dressed the mouse in formal attire with a jeweled crown and a small Eiffel Tower. She was part of our bi-monthly One Kitchen Many Heart boxes. If you want to see how she turned out, we’ll be posting stories at the end of the month.

      I’m so excited you’re making mice for your cheese wedding cake! That’s awesome! If you need any help, please let me know. Best of luck – with the mice AND the upcoming wedding. Congratulations! -jeanne

  13. Pingback: Topino in pannolenci | Littlehats&Co.

  14. Pingback: OKMH – The Spring Edition | Inside NanaBread's Head

  15. Pingback: From Mice Sweet Heart

  16. Garden Mouse and I wanted to thank you for sharing this lovely tutorial with us. I had so much fun crafting Garden Mouse, and am looking forward to more mouse creations joining the family. You can see her in all her bossy-ness at my blog here:
    http://turtledovecoo.blogspot.com/2013/06/garden-mouse.html

    • You are so very welcome, Marjorie, and THANK YOU for coming back to comment. I’m so happy you did. I loved your post on Garden Mouse. She is absolutely lovely. I can’t wait to see what other friends might join her. I can’t tell you how much fun it is for me to see my felt mouse tutorial come to life! -j

  17. Tammy

    I am so very glad to find this!!!! My daughter wants a “make a mouse” party instead of going to Build A Bear. She has a stuffed little mouse my mom gave her before she died and she carries it everywhere! She thinks everyone she knows needs a mouse! So we are having a mouse style birthday! This will be prefect! Thanks for posting!

    • Tammy! You just made my WEEK!
      I’m so happy you enjoyed my felt mouse tutorial, and am thrilled to pieces to hear about your “Make A Mouse” party. That’s so awesome! You’ll have to let me know how it went and send me a photo. Have a fabulous party and a very Happy Birthday to your sweet girl. -jeanne

  18. Ria Smits

    thank you so very much for the tutorial and I fal for grandpa he is adorable.
    Greatings Ria

    • Dank je wel, Ria!
      So happy you liked the post and my Grandpa Fisher Mouse. Thank you for visiting and commenting.
      PS – I noticed you are from one of my favorite places on earth – The Netherlands. #LoveIt

  19. Joan gray

    Wonderfully clear instructions, clear photos, and adorable mouse. Thank you so much for sharing!

  20. Linda A.

    Thanks for the instructions for the mice……looking to make some and place in hammock …hang on Christmas tree gifts for Grandchildren….Thanks again!!! – Linda

  21. Judy Talley

    Joan, I made a mouse for my granddaughter, Mei, who is 6 years old. She, the mouse, was medium gray with pink inside her ears. I put a pink scarf around her neck to finish her look. However, I took it a step further. I bought a cardboard, decorated, lunchbox thingy from Hobby Lobby at 50% off. (Sales are good!) Then I constructed a bed in the bottom half of the lunchbox and on the inside lid, I made a window with three dimensional curtains. This became, “Mei’s Mouse House.” The title was on the front lid with glitter stickers. I gave it to her for Christmas and she couldn’t keep from hugging me and saying, “Thank you, Grammy!” Today, I’m making two more. One for myself and one for my sister…just for fun! Thanks for a wonderful pattern and instructions. Very clear, concise and easy to follow. I love all the mice your friends made for you. What a wonderful surprise. I know you were thrilled. It was exciting reading your tale about the experience. Thanks again. Judy (Columbus, GA)

    • Judy,
      That is SO COOL! Thank you so much for coming back and leaving a comment to let me know. Mei’s mouse & Mouse House sound fabulous. I’m sure she’ll treasure it because it was handmade by her Grammy. It made my day to hear that you loved the tutorial and are having so much fun making your own mouse friends. Thanks again & hugs to you & Mei. -j

  22. Richard Brochu-Williams

    Thanks for sharing! :) Just what I have been looking for, will give this a go…fingers crossed. X

  23. Pingback: Photo Tutorial: How to Make Felt Mice | Felting | CraftGossip.com

  24. onel

    These are the cutest mice I’ve ever seen! I went awww when I saw the little mouse with a flower bouquet! Love love love all the details!

  25. Laetitia

    Hi,

    I don’t know if you have already answered this somewhere and I’m just a bit blind this morning but I’m wondering if you let people sell the toys they make from your patterns. At the moment I’m thinking of fundraisers / fêtes where people have handicraft stalls (among others).

    And I really enjoyed your writing style and the little side-tracks. Right now it’s winter and very dry where I live so that combined with extra hand-washing due to a new pet means I have very cracked skin that catches on my threads. I’ve taken to slathering my hands with sorbolene and wearing gloves all the time. The gloves are fingerless when I need my fingertips free for craft or typing.

    • Hello, Laetitia!
      I have no problem with someone making mice from my pattern and selling them. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t reprint the pattern and sell it, but you are free to make as many mice from it as you like. If you can earn money for your fundraisers with them, I’d be tickled pink. I’d love to see a picture of the mice you create, if you would be willing to e-mail a photo when they’re done. (My e-mail address is on my ‘About’ page.)

      Sorry to hear about your dry skin. I’m sure your new pet is worth it, but it can’t be easy to work with felt and thread. I keep a can of bag balm (used by dairy farmers to treat dry cow udders) for my dry skin in the winter. Unfortunately, that’s not an issue for us right now. It’s summer, and we’re dealing with 98F (37C) with 90% humidity. It’s jungle hot in Houston right now.

      Happy stitching! -Jeanne

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s