I created my first Flutter Wands years ago for a series of interactive artwork. I decided to alter the design slightly to come up with a fun toy for our cats. Back then, wire hangers were very easy to come by. Hopefully you will be able to find one without too much trouble so you can create your own Flutter Wand.
Materials you’ll need:
• 1 wire clothes hanger
• 1 piece of strong fabric approximately 14” x 7”
• 14” strands of yarn (optional)
• 14” of nylon webbing, twill tape, or other binding material
• 1 piece of fabric approximately 5” square (remnants or repurposed fabric is perfect here)
stuffing material (fiberfill works, but I love reusing cotton stuffing from vitamin bottles)
needle and thread
• scissors and/or rotary cutter
How to make your Cat Flutter Wand:
1. Cut 7 strips of sturdy fabric in 1-inch x 14-inch pieces. I use a fabric similar to upholstery polypropylene cambric. Experiment. This fabric needs to withstand claws and teeth but remain safe for your cats if accidentally ingested. You can also use odd-sized remnants if desired.
2. Cut a few 14-inch strands of yarn and knot each end near the ends (optional)
3. Layer the strips of fabric with the yarn lengthwise and stitch down the center (across the short width) several times to form the flutter pack. This can be accomplished quickly with a machine if preferred. Set aside.
4. Untwist hanger. Bend the hook back on itself at the angle of the neck and wrap the end around as shown. Create a double circle from the other end (also as shown).
5. Wrap and sew binding tape around the circles.
6. Tuck the flutter pack in-between the the tape-covered circles and stitch in place by running thread through pack and tape several times. Test for sturdiness by tugging on the pack—trying to remove it. Trust me, your cats will play tug o’ war every single time you play with them. It’s best to be sturdy from the outset.
7. Cut a piece of fabric for the handle. I took this opportunity to repurpose a pair of my husband’s discarded boxers—they’re both soft and stretchy. Sew, right sides together, along the bottom and up most of the side. Leave enough unsewn to be able to easily slip the fabric around the wire handle and stuff it. You can choose to wrap stuffing around the wire and then slip it into the handle fabric, or you can slip it into the pocket and then stuff. Either way, once in place, complete stitching until the handle is fully enclosed.
8. Straighten the other angles of hanger so you have a straight wand with a handle for you at one end and a flutter pack for the kitties at the other.
Your Flutter Wand is now ready for play!
If you prefer to follow pictorial step-by-step instructions, visit this page. Below you will find a link to some of our kitties in action with the Flutter Wand created in this blog. Watch the video to see the comparison between their newest and oldest wands.
Remember to be kind to your cats. They are attracted to the flutter noise. Don’t whack them with the wand. Mind their teeth and nails as they grab the wand—don’t pull it away too quickly. Don’t get them too dizzy while chasing. Take care if they are perched precariously on the edge of a table. Be sure to let them catch their prey every so often. Most cats like the flight movement while others prefer to play on the ground as though with a mouse. You might want to remove breakables and spillables from nearby in case anybody gets out of hand with your play.
Blythe Pelham is an artist that aims to enable others to find their grounding through energy work. She is in the midst of writing a cookbook and will occasionally share bits in her blogging here. She writes, gardens and cooks in Ohio. Find her online at Humings and Being Blythe, and read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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