Dr. Seuss Horton the Elephant Hat Tutorial

Last week Friday, the kids kicked off their reading month with a dress up day. The assignment – dress up like one of Dr. Seuss’ characters. My youngest went as Thing One decked out in a yarn wig. My oldest son wanted to to be Horton the Elephant. Not asking much, was he?!??!?! Especially considering it was Wednesday night, so that gave me one day to get it together!

Well, step one is to always consult my number one idea  girl – Sally. This would be Sally the Smartie – my computer. Yes, I just named my computer. I think I am a little delirious from lack of sleep. My husband got me up at 4:30 and needed help pulling a calf out in the hoop barn. This consists of getting dressed in coveralls (snowpants for you city gals!), coat, hat, gloves and boots. Running out to the barn, grabbing chains and hooks and being the assistant – “Chain, please”, “Hook, please”, “Chain, please”, “Hook, please” – “PULL”. Followed by tickling the calf’s nose and trying to carry a slimy, slippery, kicking calf to a clean pen, putting the mother with him, filling out paperwork and cleaning up the tools. After all that, it is rather difficult to fall back to sleep, so that was pretty much the end of my sleep. I guess I should’ve gotten to bed before midnight.

Sooooo – anyway, now my computer will have the dubious distinction of being named Sally. Don’t know where it came from, just the first thing that popped up. I do spend quite a bit of time with her and we have gotten to know each other pretty well.

Back to Horton – I got online and found a few different ideas for doing an elephant costume. I actually ended up using a couple different ideas and combining them. Mostly because it made it easier for my son to remove all the parts at one time during classes.

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Sorry for the horrible flash glare in the picture!

This started out as a regular billed hat. We have a ton of these lying around. It seems like all the elevators etc. that we do business with on the farm hand out hats each year. That adds up to WAAAAAYYYYY too many hats. I was rather glad to ‘sacrifice’ one for this project!

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First my husband helped me connect the dryer vent piping to the bill of the hat. We drilled 4 holes through the bill and used plastic zip ties to hold it together making sure we caught the wire in the venting. This became the trunk. I saw one site that used this idea but put elastic on it so it could be worn over the nose and mouth, but then you would have a couple different things to deal with and I didn’t think that would be real great throughout the school day!

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I found some gray material and just used hot glue to attach it to the top of the hat. I left the adjuster in the back out so that it could be worn be anyone over the years. You never know when you’ll need something like this!

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Next came the ears. I found a picture of Horton and just tried to loosely follow they looked like. I made sure that the part that would be attached to the hat would be the same height as the side of the hat. I traced a paper, cut 2 pieces sewed them together partially, inserted cardboard and finished sewing by hand. I then attached them to the hat, sewing by hand once again.

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So that left covering the trunk. I cut a piece that was a little wider than the circumference of the piping and made it plenty long. I tapered it out to a little wider to help cover the bill which was wider than the piping.

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I decided that I wanted to keep the top of the trunk curved up, so I took some yarn and tied the ribs together on the top side. I used an awl to punch holes in the foil of the piping to run the yarn through.

Then I slide the tube over it and used hot glue to attach it to the rest of the hat.

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I sewed the end loosely and wrapped it around the end wire of the piping to keep it in place.

I also added a little yarn hair pom-pom to the top with hot glue.

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The final steps included adding some white felt for eyes. I just used a sharpie marker to draw on the outline and eyelashes and eyebrows.

My son was so excited to wear this to school and he had a great day!

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Thing One Quick Yarn Wig and Shirt Tutorial

Our school kicked off the reading month with a day to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday. So, a couple days before I started working on something for the kids to dress up as a Dr. Seuss character. I was not going to get anywhere to buy a blue wig for Thing One so I needed to come up with something with things that I had one hand.

Thus the Stocking-Hat-Turned-Yarn-Wig was born!

We keep a lot of inexpensive stocking hats around because my youngest son tends to plant them wherever he goes. So using one of them as the base, along with some bright blue yarn I had, this is what I came up with.

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It was rather quick and dirty, but it serves it’s purpose!

This is what I used to make the wig.

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I just grabbed some thin foam core but cardboard would work also. This is not something that lasts a long time – you need to be careful with it but it will get you through this project. This is about 6” by 9” or so. The measurement will determine how big the loops on the wig are. I cut the edge off two of the corners to make it remove. There is also a slit at the top on the left hand side and a cut through the left side. I’ll explain the purposes of these things as I go along.

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Here you can see that the slit at the top is holding the yarn and as I began wrapping, I made sure to hold the cut edge together. Then you can start wrapping.

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Make sure that you do not stretch the yarn or wrap too tightly. It will make it very difficult to remove later and it will also break the foam core frame (ask me how I know!).

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I wrapped mine a total of 50 times and then cut the yarn.

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I then too it to the sewing machine, lifting the presser foot over the foam core and started to sew a straight stitch through the center of the yarn loops.

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Make sure that you use your fingers to press the yarn through trying to keep it feeding evenly. I also backstitched at the beginning and the end to hold it more secure.

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Then remove the frame and yarn from the sewing machine. Above you can see the seam through the center – perfection is not required!

Now for the tricky part…

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Push the yarn as far toward the side with the cut corners and the cut side as you can and slowly slide off one side – make sure that you release the starting yarn from the slit.

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Once you have all the yarn off the one side, part your frame slightly allowing the yarn to slide and release from the frame.

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Then you are left with just one side on the frame.

Slide the remaining yarn through the cut side – again, try not to bend your frame too much or it will break!

And this is what you will be left with!

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I think I made around 12 or so for the wig. It could’ve used more, but I was out of yarn so there were a few spots that showed the dark stocking hat through but not too bad. Ideally you would find a matching hat that would not be noticeable.

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I started sewing each yarn strip on to the hat trying to follow the way that hair would fall and that would hide most of the stocking hat. You just need to sew along the same seam that you did to make each yarn strip to attach it to the hat.

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As the hat gets fuller, it is more tricky to keep all the loops from hooking on the sewing machine!

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I think I put three strips over the top and then added a couple strips down each side. Then I added 2 strips in the 4 quarters left. If I had extra left at the bottom of the hat, I just curved it toward an empty spot.

Like I said, not perfect by any stretch, but it turned out pretty cute!

I also added a Thing One emblem on the front of a red t-shirt we had to complete the costume.

I cut a circle out of white knit (non-raveling) and added interfacing to it. I used a pencil and traced out where I wanted to paint the sign. I freehanded it using a picture I found online.

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I then mixed black craft paint with a fabric medium and filled in the letters and number. I also added a border.

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After letting it dry I ironed it to heat set it and stitched it to the front of the shirt.

We didn’t have any red sweats but my son had an old pajama pants that sort of went with the red t-shirt…

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He was really excited to wear it to school this morning!

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Teacher Gifts for Christmas

I waited until the last minute this year to make teacher gifts because I was wrapped up in the whole play production – which I will be posting more details on later!

These were very easy to make but they did require a visit to a local metal shop to have the metal cut. Each piece only cost a couple dollars though so very economical gift.

I’ll show the photos and then give a few details!

Magnetic pink

Magnetic blue

I wanted the area for posting pictures, etc. to end up at 5×7 so I added an extra 1/2” to account for the slot sawed in the 2×4.

I tipped the table saw blade to 10 degrees and turned the blade down so that it only cut 1/2” deep into the 2×4. I am not sure how close it was to the front, but there is quite a bit more board left in the back to help hold the weight of the steel up.

I ended up using 16 gauge metal which is a thicker, more heavy-weight sheet. I think I could’ve gotten away with lighter yet though tin was too thin (ask me how I know!) It was not a stainless so it didn’t have a nice silver finish so I had to cover it.

After spray painting the edge a matching beige, I used ModPodge to adhere the scrapbook paper to the metal. I also covered the backs with matching paper since that is the side that will most likely face the classroom from their desks! After attaching the magnets too early and having it rip some of the paper, I found it was not difficult to scrape off the paper with a razer blade. Hopefully it wears well, but if not, they can always change it out to something else!

I didn’t use any fancy boards – just some 2×4 off of pallets that I tore down. They are 8” wide. I painted the boards, added the lettering by pencil tranfer and a brown fine point sharpie, sanded and stained the edges and sealed with ModPodge. If I were to do it again, I would use a less shiny finish for the wood, but I didn’t have a matte finish at the time – and this was last minute!

I also made another one at the same time, but I had to give that one away the day before these so I didn’t have a chance to take a picture of it! I am the room mother for the 3rd and 4th graders so it was rather hectic getting ready for the classroom party the next day!

This was a really easy and quick project. I don’t know what I would do with the inspiration of the internet and all the creative people out there!

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