June 13, 2014

DIY White Walker Plush

In the Game of Thrones, you craft or you die. Actually, that is sort of true since all the characters craft plots to win the Iron Throne... too much of a stretch? Bad jokes aside, the season four finale of Game of Thrones is two days away (sniffle), and I wanted something to get me through the long winter until season five. The only answer was to craft a White Walker plush and finger puppet.

Why a White Walker? Because it seemed like the easiest choice of all the characters, and we haven't seen enough of the spooky beings in the series. Follow along with my instructions to make your own cute-ugly plush - no sewing machine required! As always, click the pictures to embiggen.

Almost the same, right?

First, read through the entire tutorial and then gather supplies.

- Patterns (below)
- Cardstock for the patterns
- A fine tip marker like Micron or Sharpie
- Scissors
- Needle (plural if you're me and lose them and the sewing kind, not the Arya Stark sword kind)
- Fabric glue
- Felt: 2 sheets white, 1 sheet gray, 1 sheet tan, 1 sheet black
- Embroidery floss: black (310), white, gray (318), tan (437) or thread in the same colors as your felt
- Polyfill stuffing
- Chopsticks or skewer for stuffing in that stuffing
- Straight pins
- Ruler
- Aqua blue crystal rondelle beads that are 7mm or bigger, I used Darice brand similar to these

White Walker Plush instructions
- Print your patterns, cut them out, transfer them to cardstock or Bristol board, and cut those out.

Body pattern:
As you'll notice, one of the arms is a little lopsided. I didn't see this until after I started putting together my plush. It's easy to fix though! After you print the pattern, simply fold the body in half and trace whichever arm shape you want (the skinny or fat one) on the other side to make them symmetrical. Then you can transfer it to cardstock.

Hair, wrist gauntlets, and skirt:

- Once your pattern pieces are all transferred to cardstock, trace them onto the shiny side of the felt sheets with your fine tip marker - the sides that will be face down. You'll need the following: 2 bodies traced onto white felt, 1 hair on the gray felt, 2 skirts on the tan felt, and 4 wrist gauntlets on the tan felt. You'll cut out the eyebrows, mouth, and eyes later.

At this point, you could go ahead and sew the body together and then dress him, but I like to add clothes and hair before I do that.

- Time to dress your White Walker! Place your body pieces right side up (without the marker lines) before you proceed.

Start with the wrist gauntlets on the fronts and backs of each arm. I place mine near the ends of the arm, but you can put them wherever you'd like. Pin them into place with the shiny side of the felt that might have your marker lines face down. Use your tan embroidery floss or thread and attach the wrist gauntlets with a running stitch (video tutorial for a running stitch). It does not have to be pretty or perfect.

Next, move on to his armor skirt. I placed mine so it would barely cover up the tops of his legs. Pin the skirt (again, marker lines side down) into place so it's roughly in the same place on the front and back of the body. The side curving slightly inward is the top of the skirt on each side. When you're happy with how they're sitting, sew them into place with a running stitch along the top of of the skirt only. You want the sides and bottom to hang free like a loin cloth.

Finally, your White Walker needs hair! You'll be attaching it to the back of your plush only. Attach the hair piece marker lines side down and pin it into place almost .5" from the top of the head. Sew it on with a running stitch along the top only with gray embroidery floss or thread.

- Now that your Walker has clothes, turn both pieces of the body over and add dots of fabric glue to any knots you tied when sewing. I'm terrible at starting/finishing thread securely, so it makes me feel better. Let the glue dry completely.

- Now for my least favorite part: sewing the body together. Put your body pieces together with the finished sides facing each other (you could also leave them right side out if you wish, the stitches will just show a little more). Pin the two pieces together and tuck the hair and skirt pieces into the middle so you don't accidentally sew them down. Start on one side of the head and stitch the front and back together with a running stitch with white thread or embroidery floss. Work your way around almost the entire body but leave a gap big enough to add stuffing. 

Note: there could be and probably is a better way to stitch the pieces together, but this is the method I know.

- Turn your sewn together White Walker right side out slowly and carefully. Add stuffing a little at a time and start with the arms and legs. Gently push the stuffing into place with a chopstick or skewer.

- When he's good and stuffed, finish sewing him up. Then cut the back of his hair with a zigzag pattern or straggly chunks and cut some fringes into his skirt armor. Your White Walker should look something like this:

- Your new friend needs a face. I was just going to use aqua beads for his eyes, but they didn't look right so I decided to add them to a circle of black fabric. I couldn't find my black felt (doh) so I used a scrap of black pleather. You can use whatever you'd like. I used a plastic jewel to trace circles onto the black fabric and cut them out. Then I sewed the crystal beads onto the front of the black circles with gray thread and glued my knots on the back of the eyes. 

- I also decided the Walker needed angry eyebrows and a mouth to look appropriately intimidating. Cut two 1 inch long by almost .25 inches wide pieces of gray felt for the eyebrows. Cut the same size piece of black felt for the mouth. Place the pieces and eyes on the Walker's face and move them around until they look right to you. I like having the mouth at a slight angle. 

When the face elements are in the proper place, lift them up carefully and make a mark with your fine tip marker. Do this for each piece.

Put fabric glue on the back of the pieces one at a time and press them into place. When you've added everything, put the Walker in a safe place and let him dry overnight. Do not fuss with him until his face is dry.

- Behold, scary White Walker of the North! He's here to take your babies and do goodness knows what with them... or to sit on your dress and look cute-ugly and creepy. 

Good luck making your armies of White Walkers! Just remember to keep them in the North and away from the citizens of Westeros.

I'll share instructions for White Walker finger puppets soon.


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