DIY Christmas Craft: Cute "Mouse Stuck in a Spool" Tree Decoration
Handmade ornaments are always a welcome addition to any holiday decorating. This cute mouse has got himself in a sticky situation, but will still brighten up your Christmas tree. This ornament requires some basic sewing skills, and some simple craft supplies, but can be made in just a few hours.
This project can be adapted for most sizes of spools. I've included my materials and measurements, but you might need to make adjustments for your spool.
- Spool - your spool can be wood or plastic, and almost any size (but not too heavy). My spool is 1 3/4 inches high, and I wouldn't go much smaller than that. Your spool can be empty or still have thread on it that you want to use.
- Felt fabric in gray, brown, or white for your mouse
- Pink felt (optional) for the insides of your mouse's ears
- Sewing needle and thread that matches your mouse body
- A piece of Christmas ribbon to wrap around your spool (or you can use yarn, twine, or thread already on the spool).
- Small bead for your mouse nose
- Brown or black embroidery thread and needle for mouse eyes
- Sturdy, bendable wire for your mouse tail (though there are other options)
- Hot glue gun and glue sticks
- Fiber fill or cotton balls to stuff your ornament
- Scissors, pen, and white craft glue
- Decorative trim to finish your ornament
These instructions are for a mouse to fit on a 1 3/4 inch spool. You may need to adjust the measurements listed below for your spool.
1. Draw a circle that is 5 inches in diameter on a scrap piece of paper. I traced a bowl from my kitchen to make my circle.
2. Cut out a section of the circle that is slightly bigger than a quarter of your shape (see photo above). Your two straight sides should each be 2 1/2 inches long.
3. Hold the two rounded corners of your paper template together (with a little overlap) to form a cone and position it on top of the end of your spool. The open end of your cone should be just a little bigger than the end of your spool. If it is too big, you can trim down your paper template. If it's too small, cut a bigger section from the remainder of your circle and try again.
4. Once you have a paper template that fits your spool, trace your quarter shape on to your felt fabric for your mouse head.
5. With the inside facing out (if there is one), put the two straight sides of your felt fabric together and sew up the seam to form a cone (see photo above). Do not sew too close to the edge of your fabric.
6. Next, turn your material so that the right side is showing. Hold your cone so that the seam is on the bottom, then sew your bead on the end of the cone for the nose. You can also use embroidery floss and some small stitches to sew a nose.
7. Stuff your cone firmly with fiber fill, leaving some space at the open end. You can use a pencil to push the filling into the nose area.
8. With a needle and thread, make a running stitch around the open end of your cone. Do not sew too close to your edge. Leave a long tail at the beginning and end of your sewing.
9. Pull both ends of your sewing to gather up your fabric and close up the end of your cone. Hold your mouse head on the end of your spool and make sure that your mouse head seems the proper size for your spool. If it's too big, you can pull out your running stitches, trim down the open end of your cone, and sew it again.
10. When your mouse head is the proper size, pull your stitches tight and make a few extra stitches to close off your cone. Then tie off your sewing and trim your ends.
Finishing Your Mouse Head
I used embroidery floss to sew my mouse's eyes, but you can use small beads or googly eyes instead. To sew the eyes:
1. Use 5 strands of embroidery floss doubled through an embroidery needle. Tie a large knot at the end.
2. Pierce your needle through the head at the place where you want your first eye. Then draw your thread through so that it exits in the place you want your other eye (see photo above).
3. Carefully tie another knot for the second eye close to your mouse head. Make your second knot the same size as your first so your eyes match.
4. Trim your excess threads. Use a drop of super glue or clear-drying craft glue on each knot so they don't untie. Put the head to the side and let dry.
5. Cut out two dime-sized circles from your mouse fabric for the ears. Trim one side of each circle slightly to make a flat edge.
6. (Optional) Cut two smaller circles from your pink felt for the inner ears.
7. Use some white craft glue or fabric glue to adhere a pink circle inside each mouse ear.
Making a Mouse Tail
1. Cut a piece of sturdy bendable wire that is about 4 inches long. I used 16 gauge wire but you can use whatever you have on hand.
2. Twist one end of your wire into a curl. I bent mine around a broom handle, but you can put whatever curve you want in your wire. Leave at least one inch of your wire straight.
3. Cut a strip from your mouse felt that is about 4 inches long and 1 and 1/4 inch wide.
4. Fold your strip in half lengthwise and pin your edge together (see photo above).
5. Using a needle and thread (or sewing machine) sew a thin tube out of your fabric that will fit your wire. Sew one end of your tube closed (see photo above).
6. Carefully trim the excess fabric from your tube. Cut as close to your sewing as you safely can.
7. Gently slide your felt tube over your twisted wire. This might take some patience, but you should be able to bunch it up at the beginning end, then slowly slide it around the curves in your wire. Be careful not to have your wire poke out the bottom end.
Other Ways to Make a Tail
There are other ways to make a tail for your mouse ornament:
- Use a 4 inch piece of matching pipe cleaner to form a tail. This will not have the same texture as your mouse head, but you can easily twist it into a curl.
- Cut a short, thin piece of felt from your mouse fabric to hang from the bottom of your spool. This will not have any curl to it, but will match the color and texture of your mouse head.
Decorating Your Spool
Now put all your mouse pieces to the side to dry and start to decorate your spool.
1. I painted the rim of the ends of my spool with gold paint, but this is optional.
2. Decide which end is the top and bottom of your spool. If your spool has a label, you may want to put it on the bottom where it will be seen. It will be covered with your mouse head if you put it on the top.
3. Make a loop of fishing line, yarn, or twine for hanging your ornament. Tie off the end of your loop.
4. Coat the middle of your spool with craft glue or Modge Podge. Hold the knot of your hanging loop at the top edge of your spool, but low enough to be stuck in your glue (see photo above). Begin wrapping your spool with your decorative ribbon, yarn, or twine. Overlap the ends of your ribbon enough to cover the whole center area of your spool. I left the upper edge of my ribbon hanging off the spool, but this is optional.
If you want to use the thread that came on your spool as your covering, paint the wound thread on the spool with Modge Podge or clear-drying craft glue and let dry completely.
Assembling Your Mouse Ornament
1. Place your spool top up, with your hanging loop in the back center. Place two drops of hot glue down to glue the mouse ears in position on the spool.
2. Put a generous amount of hot glue in the center of the top of your spool, overlapping a little bit on the bottom edges of your mouse ears.
3. Press your mouse head down firmly in the center of your spool, making sure that the ears tuck under the head. Push down in place while your head dries.
4. Holding your mouse sideways, put some hot glue down the hole at the bottom of your spool. Quickly insert your tail into the hole, making sure that the end of your felt tube tucks into the hole. Position your tail as you want it and hold until it is dry.
5. You can use some Christmas trim to fill in any gaps between your mouse head and spool as needed. I cut some small leaves out of some green paper and used a red bead to make some holly leaves for my mouse decoration. Then I tied off my spool with a twine ribbon for a finishing touch.
I hope this ornament makes your holidays a little brighter and happier!
© 2019 Donna Herron