Scroll down to “Step 1” if you want to just skip my intro story and get to the good stuff 😉
Let me tell you the quick story of how this idea came about. Me and a fellow rescue friend decided we would get together in her art studio (she’s an artist), and sew dog sweaters to sell and help raise funds for all the rescue dogs and cats that we had at the time to feed, treat, and nurse back to health. It was wintertime, and the sweaters were a success. We ended up with a lot of scraps though that we didn’t want to throw away, and we decided we were going to do something with them.
I think we made several different toys (bones, fish, etc.) before agreeing that the mouse toy was the easiest, most profitable, and cutest to make. We had used fleece and cotton fabric for the sweaters, so that’s what we had and used. I think you could use just about any fabric, but personally, fleece is just so strong and forgiving. If you’re not a confident sewer, you could even hot glue fleece and it’ll look no different than if sewn.
So, we ended up getting together with another friend to sew dozens of these mice while chatting away in her adorable studio with some bottle fed rescue kittens running around that either me or her had at the time. Can’t remember now lol We were selling donated items at the local flea market on the weekends, and so we added the mice to our table, and they sold pretty well.
We sold them for $0.50 I think…I know it’s not a lot, but better than throwing the fabric away and making nothing. Also, remember we are based in Mexico, so that’s actually a good profit, 10 pesos, give or take. In the U.S., you could probably get away with $1 each or a pack of several for a couple of bucks, given that it’s for a good cause, and they’re cute!
Anywho, here are the instructions for making these DIY mouse toys to sell and fundraise or even just for your own critters that you’ve got at home:
Step 1: Prepare Supplies
I prefer using polar fleece because it is very forgiving, doesn’t fray (come undone at the ends), and is very easy to both sew and hot glue. And yes, as long as you’re using a fabric like polar fleece, if you don’t know how to sew or don’t have the time, this can also be done with hot glue following the same instructions but just replacing sewing with the glue. I’m using felt and cotton here because those are the scraps that I had, but felt comes apart easily, so I wouldn’t use normally felt.
So, you’ll need some scrap fabric, any will do if you’re sewing, scissors, paper to draw your pattern, needle and thread (or sewing machine), and if you have some lying around, some catnip to stuff the mice with. Cats already like these, so the catnip is just a little extra something. Trust me, people will be like, wow, my cat really loves that toy. I wonder why!? 😉
Step 2: Cut Out Your Pieces
I went ahead and took a shot at making some primitive, but useful patterns of the body and ears. You’ll need to cut out two for the sides, one for the bottom, two ears, and a tail. I didn’t make a pattern for the tail because I think it’s fun to kind of play around with making different ones. You can just cut out a basic tail, like I did, or you can try making a feathered one where you cut a long-ish rectangle, then cut it on each side diagonally as if you were making a feather. I know, mice don’t have fluffy tails, but the cats love it lol My friend liked making hers with some yarn she had lying around, and they really liked that too.
Step 3: Sew or Glue
Okay, we’ve gotten to the sewing or gluing part. You’ll want to start by putting your two sides together (rights facing each other) and inserting the tail on the end that you want it, letting a bit poke out so that it doesn’t come off easily. Next, sew or glue all the way around the top curve of the two sides.
Next, tuck your tail all the way inside of the mouse, take your bottom piece and place it with the right side facing down and pin it in place. You’ll want to sew almost all the way around, leaving about a 1-inch gap without sewing/gluing, preferably near the tail so that any imperfections aren’t that noticeable.
Turn the mouse inside out and stuff it with other scraps, or cotton, if you feel scraps might be a safety concern. Then use the invisible stitch to finish sewing the 1-inch hole. If you are unfamiliar with the invisible stitch, you can watch the video below to learn how it is done. If you are gluing, it is basically the same idea, you’ll want to sort of fold a bit of the top and bottom fabric inward a little, then glue them together. Since it’s such a small space, you might want to use a toothpick or something to apply a bit of glue at a time and seal it as you go.
Lastly, you’ll want to glue down the ears. I don’t sew them because it’s so much easier to glue them and they stay on pretty well. Just sort of fold them at the bottom and play around with positioning, then glue when you’ve got them where you want them. That’s it! I don’t add a nose or eyes because cats don’t really care, but it could be a nice extra touch if you want your clients to think it’s even cuter 🙂
Happy day, and please feel free to share your creations!