DIY

A Miniature Stuffed Bunny Craft Project

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PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
Even discarded scraps of material can be put to good use if you're resourceful and use your imagination.

MOTHER’s Children: It’s fun to sew your own stuffed bunnies.

Miniature Stuffed Bunny Craft Project

I decided to try to make miniature rabbits after seeing
various small stuffed animals at craft sales. I borrowed
some ideas from what I’d seen, added some of my own, and
came up with stuffed bunny designs for mother and baby rabbits. (See the image gallery for the bunny craft pattern).

When I first started making stuffed bunnies, I gave them as gifts to
friends and relatives. They liked the rabbits so much I
decided to try selling them. So far I’ve sold about 16 sets
for $6.50 each. I figured out it costs about $1 to make
each set. So all together I’ve earned about $88. I’ve also
taught my cousin to make them, and she has sold as many
sets as I have.

It takes me about two and a half hours to make each pair of
bunnies. Whenever possible I try to recycle materials. The
cotton I use comes from vitamin bottles. The baby rabbit’s
bed is half of a walnut shell. And I buy my small scraps of
fabrics, and odds and ends of ribbons and lace, at garage
sales and swap meets for almost nothing.

If you decide to make these rabbits, you’ll find that it’s
hard work, and you’ll probably make some mistakes at first.
(You may want to ask an adult to help you understand the
sewing instructions.) But the results are rewarding. I’ve
done well selling miniature rabbits, and I think you can,
too.

Stuffed Bunny Craft Directions

Materials: Unbleached muslin, fabric with
a miniature print, white felt, 1/4 inch and 1/8 inch ribbon,
pregathered lace (or you can gather it yourself), black
seed beads, walnut shell halves, heavy black thread (for
whiskers), miniature flowers, pink crayon, cotton (for
stuffing).

Body: Draw the pattern — to
scale — on 1/4 inch graph paper. Label the pieces and cut
them out. Using a pencil, trace the rabbit body twice onto
muslin. Cut the pieces out, and pin them right sides
together. Stitch the two body pieces together 3/16 inches in from
the edge, but leave the bottom open. Turn the body inside
(right side) out. Mark the locations of the eyes and nose.
Stuff the rabbit with cotton. Cut the circular base from
felt, and, tucking under the raw edges of the muslin,
stitch it to the bottom of the rabbit.

Cut two felt ears and slipstitch them to the head. Sew
black seed-bead eyes on. As you push the needle through the
head, pull the thread a bit tight to indent the eye area.
Sew heavy, doubled black thread through the nose: Push the
needle through the stuffing, bring it around and push it
through the same place again, this time pulling a little to
point the nose. Clip the ends to make whiskers. Apply some
color to the nose, ears, and cheeks with a pink crayon.

Dress: Fold the printed fabric right sides
together, and pin the dress pattern along the fold as
indicated. Cut it out, and — still with the wrong sides
out — stitch the sides together with 3/8 inch seams. Turn
right sides out, press, and trim the bottom raw edges with
lace. Run a basting stitch 1/2 inches in from the top, and pull
it to make gathers to fit the rabbit’s neck. Tack the dress
to the rabbit in a couple of places.

Cut two sleeve pieces. Press all their raw edges in 1/8 inches
with an iron. Then fold each sleeve — right side
out — in three (like a letter about to be mailed), and
slipstitch closed. Trim the bottom edge with lace. Tack the
top of each sleeve to the dress at the rabbit’s shoulders.
Bend the sleeves a bit and tack the lace to look like
hands. For a cheerful note, attach a flower to one of the
hands.

With 1/4 inch ribbon, tie a bow around the rabbit’s neck over
the gathers. Make another bow from 1/4 inch ribbon, and tack it
to the dress at the center back, right above the lace.

Baby: From fabric that matches the
mother’s dress, cut a piece a little larger than the
opening of your walnut shell. Stuff the walnut half with
cotton. Fold under all the raw edges of the fabric, and
glue the pieces to the walnut.

Cut two baby’s head pieces from felt. Glue the front half
of the baby’s face together, but leave the back half open.
Sew on heavy thread whiskers. Spread open the back of the
head and glue it to one end of the walnut. Glue on black
bead eyes. Cut and glue on ears. Make a small bow from 1/8 inch
ribbon, and glue it to the walnut at the opposite end from
the head. Gather lace for the baby’s bonnet, sew its ends
together to make a circle, and glue it to the walnut behind
the baby’s head.