Submitted by Ingrid of California
"Christmas Mouse Ornament"
I enjoy making ornaments but especially when I can use natural materials. It’s fun to hear people say "Oh! I have these in my yard and never thought to do anything with them." They see the components in a whole new light. It’s also a great way to keep costs low. As I gather materials for a project like this, I find other varieties that inspire new ideas to try as well and it keeps on going.
Mini low-temperature glue gun
Tweezers (fine tips are best)
Scissors and small clippers
Sandpaper or emery board
Liquid amber pods (also known as sweet gum, depending on where you live)
Acorns (you can substitute filberts or other nuts as you prefer - I chose the acorn because the little nib looks like a nose - acorns aren’t always available but there are many alternatives from which to choose and each will give your mouse a different look)
Wiggle eyes (I used 7mm size)
1/8” ribbon for bow and hanger
Dark brown chenille stem
I start by clipping off some of the pod ‘spikes’ to create a small space for the head of the mouse to fit. If the pod has a stem, you’ll want to clip that off too. Using the sandpaper or emery board, lightly sand the area of the nut that will make contact with the pod. Roughing it up this way will enable the glue to adhere better.
Hot glue the sanded side of the nut to the space you created on the pod. Sand a small spot on the top of the nut where the ears will sit. Cut a length of ribbon for the hanger, fold it in half, and glue it with two acorn caps together (with the ribbon in the middle). Apply hot glue to the bottom of the caps and attach to the top of the head on the sanded area. Using the tweezers, position the wiggle eyes (with a drop of glue on each) over the caps where they sit on the nut. The eyes will do a good job of covering up the glue so it won’t be so noticeable.
Clip a small piece of the chenille stem and form it into a curve to create a tail. Apply a small dab of glue to one end of the stem and insert into one of the holes on the back of the pod (already provided by Mother Nature... how thoughtful of her).
Make a small bow out of the ribbon. If you wish, you can also cut a piece of ribbon to create a neck band to cover the visible glue where the head is attached to the body. The tweezers are helpful for positioning it between the nut and pod spikes. A tiny dab of glue is all that is needed to secure it and then glue the little bow to the front.
I intended these to hang as ornaments or adorn packages but you might choose to have them sitting about as part of a display or for some other purpose. In that case, you could skip the hanger loop altogether. I made a lot of them and decided that gluing the caps to the hanger ribbon was the trickiest part. After some practice, it got easier so don’t be discouraged! :)
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