NOTE: I had this tutorial up on tumblr before, but I think it disappeared when I deleted my blog. It will look a bit different because I am going to format it differently and change my advice a bit now that I have had more practice making cuttlefish. Also, all the pictures were taken with a webcam because I didn’t have a camera, so they aren’t super, but I hope they are still clear.
STATS FOR THIS PROJECT:
**Time: Depending on your skill level, I think it could take up to 2 hours for one cuttlefish. If you sew quickly it could take an hour or less. If you have a sewing machine and know how to use it, I’d estimate a max of 30 minutes, excluding time you might have to take to rip out stitches.
**Skill: I really truly believe this is an easy project! I think I have made it fairly simple and I hope you will be able to follow it regardless of your skill level. I would suggest this to someone who is just starting out and would like to make something fun to make themself feel accomplished.
**Cost: If you have a glue gun already, you’re great. If you have stuffing, you’re even better. The thread, buttons, and felt for this cost me maybe $5? Stuffing can be a little more expensive (I think I bought a small bag for about $8, but I didn’t count that for this project because I always have stuffing on hand), but you could also try using wadded up tissues or cloth, which could be a lot cheaper! It will look lumpier if you do this, though.
Materials and Instructions are under the cut!
1. Glue gun and glue sticks. Typical disclaimer: If you are too young to be using a glue gun safely, please don’t! Get an adult/expendable friend to help you.
2. Thread: I would get black for the eyes and then another color to match the colors of your cuttlefish’s body.
3. Needle or Sewing Machine.
4. Scissors: If you have them, use sewing scissors. I was stranded in my dorm room and I only had crap paper scissors, so that’s the scissors in the picture look crappy. They are.
5. Fabric: I recommended using felt or fleece in two colors or patterns. You can use as many colors/patterns as you want, but you will only see two in this tutorial. Felt is cheaper (I bought two felt patches that were like 9”x12” for about 49 cents each) but fleece feels nicer.
6. Buttons: These are just for the eyes, so if you’re making a baby toy or something, you might forego the eyes. If not, I suggest ones with two holes in them so you can sew on the pupil and make it look realistic.
7. Stuffing: You can buy large (or small) bags of cotton stuffing for making stuffed animals, but sometimes it can be kind of expensive, so you may want to try using tissues or wadded up pieces of cloth. It will look slightly lumpy if you do this, though.
These are the pieces you will need to cut out. If you want to print out a pattern on 8.5”x11” printer paper, I made one. There should be two files here, and if that link doesn’t work, the two files are separate here and here. If the links don’t work, let me know!
This is also the most awkward part, so it gets clearer (and easier, I hope) from here.
Take the CONCAVE edge of the Piece 3 and pin BETWEEN the two CONVEX edges of Piece 2. You will have to sandwich it between the two body pieces. This picture just shows that you have to pin the purple fin awkwardly.
So for clarification, pin the dotted edges shown in the picture above WITHOUT FLIPPING ANYTHING. Also, don’t forget to put the second Piece 2 on top!
This is what it looks like when it’s completely pinned. Depending on how you cut your pieces, the Piece 3s may overlap, touch, or have a gap between them. I think all are okay! It’s not like it’s an incredibly anatomically correct cuttlefish anyway.
Sew it like this, either by hand or with a straight stitch on a machine.
Get this when you turn it right side out! If you want to, you can clip Piece 3 near the opening and at the top to make the fins rounder.
Take Piece 4 and sew along the edge indicated by the red dotted line.
Turn it right side-out.
I should have taken more pictures for this part, but unfortunately I did not.
Take Piece 1 and pin it about a half inch up the body/Piece 2, starting it right on the edge of Piece 3.
When you get to the other Piece 3, cut through Piece 1 completely.
I STRONGLY RECOMMEND YOU WAIT UNTIL YOU HAVE IT COMPLETELY PINNED TO ONE SIDE BEFORE CUTTING. While you are sewing, the fabric will shift, and the edges may not line up exactly, and that is why I recommend you wait.
Repeat the pinning process on the other side.
Sew along the edge of Piece 1. If you are doing this by hand, I suggest starting your needle on the INSIDE of the body so the knot isn’t outside being all gross and knotty.
ALSO: instead of sewing OVER the other Piece 3, when you get to it, sew under it!
Sorry for the blurry picture. I know I just had you cut one side, but now you’re going to sew some of it up again. Just sew up 1 or 2 inches. Otherwise there will be an awkward gap when you attach the other side of the body and some stuffing might come out.
Do NOT sew up the entire side! Piece 1 will become the tentacles on the front of the cuttlefish, and they are separated!
Sew on your eyes! I gave this cuttlefish vertical pupils on accident. Cuttlefish have HORIZONTAL pupils, so if your buttons have two holes, you could sew them on horizontally and it would look like real eyes!
Time to stuff! Take the body piece and fill it PARTIALLY with stuffing.
(At this point, you might want to plug in your glue gun to give it a chance to warm up.)
I filled mine about up to the line shown.
Stuff the head of the cuttlefish as well. Leave about an inch of space un-stuffed.
Fit the head piece of the cuttlefish INSIDE the body piece. You can take it out and pull out/put in stuffing as necessary before the step becomes permanent.
Make sure your glue gun is heated properly by testing it on a piece of scrap fabric, or something similar. Push the glue gun into the space between Piece 1 and the head. Glue all the way around. You don’t have to have a solid line all the way around, as long as you get most of it. Your cuttlefish won’t fall apart.
You’re almost done! Now you have to cut out the tentacles. Again, use nice scissors if you can.
All the cuttlefish I have made so far only have 8 tentacles, but real cuttlefish have 10 (I didn’t do this on purpose, oops). If you want, cut the top and bottom of Piece 1 FOUR TIMES EACH to make them “anatomically” correct. It is easier, however, to just cut them into fourths (in half, and then each of those in half again; 3 cuts per side).
Don’t cut all the way through, though. Remember, your cuttlefish’s head is attached by glue, not thread.
Taper the edges and you’re done!