Calling all Wild Space Kitties! Here’s a costume that is purrrrrfect for you.
(This was supposed to appear as a DIY costume craft on alphamom.com but it turns out that Space Kitty is a beer company and not appropriate for a parenting site but guess what? I can totally post it here! Beer, schemer. Let’s make Wild Space Kitties a thing!)
First off a warning: This costume is ridiculously easy and ridiculously difficult at the same time. If you’ve never sewed with faux fur then this would be a great project to start with because guess what? You CAN do it! It was my first time sewing fur and I did it! Go me! But it’s also ridiculously messy, so check your OCD at the door.
Here is what you’ll need:
- 2 yards or more of faux fur
- thread (color doesn’t matter because it does not show up in this wild mess of fur)
- a sewing machine
- fabric scissors
- a wire coat hanger
- a large dowel or broom handle to wrap your coat hanger wire around (This was Payam’s brilliant idea.)
- ribbon or long skinny piece of t-shirt fabric (leftover fabric from this craft works great)
Lay out your fabric fur-side down. You can create a pattern from a paper bag or some paper or you can free-hand it. Your pieces need to roughly look like the drawing below: 2 head pieces, two paws (one piece each) and two tail pieces.
Faux fur is such a mess when you cut it. The loose fur floats all over the place. Just accept that it’s going to make a mess and make the best of it. Think of it as magical dust floating all around you making everything pretty and fuzzy. Sew somewhere that is easy to vacuum later and keep some packing tape on hand. You can even tape down where you are going to cut first and control some of the mess that way. (If you have any OCD tendencies I would definitely recommend using tape to control the fuzz.)
Okay, now that we have that out of the way let’s just get in there and make a mess. It’s worth it.
Cut your pieces. Then lay them out how you are going to sew them.
Fold the paw pieces in half. Lay the front of the cat head (fur facing in) on top of the back of the cat head (fur to fur). Lay your tail pieces together, fur to fur. Pin. (Or don’t. I lived on the wild side and didn’t pin. My fur slightly crept askew as I sewed but I found it didn’t really matter that much. I just trimmed the uneven parts at the end and it didn’t show anyway. Fur is very forgiving.)
Now get ready to sew! Set machine to a zig zag stitch and get in there!
Sew the outer edges of the cat head together like you were creating a cat-head pillow while leaving the inside head-hole un-finished. Fur doesn’t need a finishing seam. Win!
Sew your tail together, leaving the butt-end open. This is where you will insert your wire later.
Sew around one side of your paws, leaving the bottom open to insert hands into.
After you are done sewing, cut your threads and trim off any excess fur that might be sticking out. This will make it easier to turn inside-out later. Snip your rounded corners with a small snip, being careful not to snip over your stitches of course.
Then turn everything inside out.
Remove any lose fur. Shake it out. Do a little dance. Fur everywhere!
Next is a really important step that was thought up by Payam and I failed to photograph it because he did it in the garage for me while I was sewing. Take your coat hanger hanger and un-bend it. (Pliers will help.) Then carefully wrap it around a thick dowel or broom handle to create a long spring-like coil. This is the magical wire that will make your space kitty tail pliable and yet stiff and not pokey and sharp like normal wire would be. Thank you Payam!
After you’ve turned your tail inside out, insert this coil into your tail. Then close up the end and sew your ribbon or t-shirt string over the closed ending. This tie will make it so you can tie your tail around your waist like so. Wear a big hoodie over top (Because hoodies are a very important Space Kitty wardrobe piece. I will make this a thing, I swear.) and you’ll never know it was just tied on and not actually attached.
Then put on your hat and fur mittens, draw on a kitty nose and whiskers with white eye-liner pencil and you are now a space kitty! Light-up blinky space boots optional.
A lot of you watched this all go down on Instagram stories. It was quite the saga. I originally set out to make a fall-leaf sun catcher as a craft for alphamom but it quickly became apparent that this wasn’t a project for kids or the crafter-lite™. No this was a serious commitment for seriously demented crafters like me. But you know what? It was a total blast! I will definitely do this again and again. And I’m going to share it all here for other serious deep-dive crafters like me.
What’s the secret to this wondrous project? Epoxy. Epoxy is magic! You can make so many things with it! Payam has been a fan for a long time but I’ve always been a bit afraid of it. #1 It smells toxic (However I did find a brand that isn’t so bad. See below). #2 It’s sticky. #3 It has a limited time window that you can work within. If you don’t get it right within that time frame you are out of luck. SOL! No pressure or anything!
So here is what you need:
- epoxy (I bought this brand – no respirator needed!)
- a silicone pan* (I went with a circle because I was singing Harvest Moon the whole time.)
- a silicone mat*
- fall leaves
- waxed string
- popsicle sticks
- latex gloves
- translucent beads in fall colors
- gold dust glitter
I thought I’d have trouble finding fall leaves in Southern California since we are “seasonally challenged” but I was amazed at all the pretty red eucalyptus leaves I found. They aren’t the bright reds and yellows that you find back east but I like to think they are just more subtle with their beauty.
So pretty right? I’m going to have to keep doing more crafts with these gifts from nature. They are beautiful and they are FREE!
Next I tied them to a bunch of strings. I had Bug act as a hand model because I am embarrassed of my motley grandma hands.
After a few hours of stressing out about the mystical magical epoxy and reading all the small print I finally got up the guts to mix up my epoxy potion. It turns out it isn’t that stressful after all. You just empty one bottle and then the next one into your container. No measuring required. The trick is to mix thoroughly for a full three minutes. I may have only mixed my mixture for two point something minutes because the edges of my circle disc didn’t cure 100% and Payam had to come to my rescue with another coat from his shop stash of epoxy. But we’ll get into that later. Anyway, mix, mix, mix! Make sure you get that popsicle stick all over the place, especially the edges.
Now the fun part: dipping! This was so exciting. The leaf goes into the epoxy mixture dull and comes out looking like a wet shiny jewel. It is truly amazing. I could do this step all day! It’s a bit messy though. It’s important to wear gloves because you get epoxy all over your hands and it doesn’t wash off that easily. In fact, you have better luck just wiping your fingers off with a paper towel and letting the rest wear off naturally. I know. Probably toxic and all that.
After I dipped them I let the excess epoxy drip off onto a silicone mat. I added glitter at this point. Glitter was definitely not necessary, the leaves glittered just fine by themselves but who’s gonna stop the glitter-fairy? Not me!
After all the leaves were dipped and set out to dry, I put some remaining leaves into the pan I was dipping in because that would be the round disc base for my sun catcher. I added glitter to that too, of course.
After an hour or so of dripping onto the mat, the leaves started to get tacky so I lifted them gently off the mat and hung them on my hand dandy Daiso laundry hanger from their strings. A regular clothing line would work too. Just make sure you have some cardboard or paper below to catch any extra drips. You don’t really want to have to scrape epoxy off your floor. But if you do get some drips on your floor or table (like we did) just use a paint scraper and it will come off most surfaces.
Now the waiting part. Curing took about two days. It was painful. I kept touching it and then instantly regretting touching it because it was still sticky and now I had sticky residue on my hand again that doesn’t wash off easily. But the end result is so worth the wait. I kept looking at how cool and wet it looked and found myself day-dreaming about all the other things I could possibly make. Dreamy!
This is also about when Payam put another layer of epoxy on for me because I had some sticky patches that just wouldn’t dry. Payam has industrial-strength (smelly) epoxy that sets up in way less time. I think it only takes a day to completely cure. I don’t really know the exact particulars on what he used but it was a lot more fussy with measuring 5 parts epoxy to 1 part hardener etc etc… You can ask him. At the end of the day I had a nice hard disc that was nearly perfect. He sanded off the rough edges for me and then drilled holes where I asked him to.
You can see that the disc was still a tiny bit flexible. I was actually thankful it was because I was worried it might shatter when it was drilled but Payam, who knows all things epoxy, assured me that it was easy to drill and wouldn’t crack or break at all. I’m still a newbie at this and was skeptical.
But it worked and now it was time to assemble! Waxy string holder for the top. Waxy string leaf danglers for the bottoms with beads added for extra prettiness…. all good!
I took it out to a tree to take photos and I thought about leaving it as an outdoor decoration but I was worried that the waxed string wouldn’t hold up to the weather long term so I moved it inside to my kitchen window. Yes, my windows are dirty. Payam is such a wonderful loving person that he actually went out and cleaned them for me but they still look dirty because we have hard water and the lyme residue would take hours to remove. I’m just not a perfectionist about stuff like that.
I prefer to dwell on other things, like my pretty sun catcher!
If you make one too drop me a line! I’d love to see what other people come up with. I’m thinking I might have to make a few for Christmas gifts…
*notates that you probably won’t want to use this for anything else besides non-food related crafts so invest accordingly.