Friday, March 14, 2014

Pipe Cleaner & Felt Leprechaun Family

Every St. Patrick's Day, my girls are so excited to create a Leprechaun Trap and try to catch one of those tricky little guys.  It's a tradition they started in school, but we've brought it home with us.

This is a Leprechaun Trap we made a couple of years ago.  We figured the leprechauns would make their way up the licorice rainbow to get to the Lucky Charms and the pot of gold.  Once they made it inside, they would be stuck there with no way out.  A good trap will have something to entice the leprechaun in and a way to keep him there once he is in.  The possibilities are endless and a great way to exercise your child's creativity and imagination. 

Despite our best efforts, so far those lucky Leprechauns have just been too elusive.  We came close once.  One little guy left behind this hat and boot as he escaped!  The girls were very excited that they got that close.  Still, they get so disappointed that they haven't seen one yet.  Maybe this is our year!

I searched all the stores for any kind of leprechaun doll.  I found a ceramic statue, but nothing that I thought would be good for my girls to trap.  I decided I would have to make my own.  I was inspired by a post by So Many Tables, and went to JoAnn's to buy felt, pipe cleaners, and wood beads for their heads.  I didn't want to just make one leprechaun, but a whole family. 

I made both a sew and no sew version.  Both start out the same.  Insert two body colored pipe cleaners into a wood bead.  I found ones that already had faces on them in the doll section.  Otherwise you can draw faces on later with a sharpie.  Add a dab of glue into the bead hole to keep your pipe cleaners in place.

To create your arms, wrap a third pipe cleaner around your first two, right under your head.  You can trim the extra length, making your arms to whatever length you would like. 

Now it is time to make your clothes.  I used a piece of paper to make a pattern so I could draw and redo it until I got it just right.  Use this pattern to cut out your pattern in the felt.  This is my dress pattern. 

Place the clothes onto your leprechaun.  Using a thread and needle, whip stitch them in place.  I made my seams noticeable.  I think it gives it a more authentic look.  If you don't want to sew, you could always glue the edges of your clothing.

Now the finishing details.  Wrap an orange pipe cleaner or two around the dolls head as hair.  Glue in place.  I used e6000 glue but you could use hot glue as well.  I folded the ends of the pipe cleaner arms in little loops to make hands and bent the legs up to make feet.

Next I wanted to make a Leprechaun boy!  He started out much the same way, but when I inserted the two body pipe cleaners, I also added a very short orange piece to the top of his head to create his hair.  The pieces were much shorter as well.  Instead of using two separate pipe cleaners, I folded one in half to make the body.  Glue all three in place in the bead.  Wrap a short piece around for your arms. 

Instead of sewing clothes, I made his clothes out of more pipe cleaners.  I simply wrapped green pipe cleaners around his arms and torso to make his shirt.  I wrapped brown pipe cleaners to make his shorts.  Easy no-sew option!

I think they both are quite cute and I loved how my family was coming along! 

Now it was time for Dad!  I made a shirt out of the same pattern I used for my dress, just making it shorter.  I also cut out a pair of pants.  I really just eye balled these, but I think making them out of paper first really helps so you can get it just how you want it. 

Place your clothing on your Leprechaun man and stitch in place, very much like you did your dress.  Slide your pants on and stitch up one side, stitch up and down the inseam, and then stitch closed the other side seam.  Once all sides are sewn up, slide the pants up under his shirt.  Add a drop of glue to the back side of the pants or the under side of the shirt to keep them in place.  We don't want Dad's pants falling down!

Our happy little Leprechaun Family is ready for St. Patrick's Day!  They are sneaky and quick, but hopefully this is the year we find them caught in our Leprechaun Trap!!  Happy St. Patrick's Day! 


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