An absolutely Fun and Adorable embelishment
Oh, the curls take a plush cutie to a whole new level! They are time consuming and a little tedious to make, but worth it. This step is done prior to applying the yarn to your plush. Acrylic yarn must be used for this, I used Caron Simply Soft. The curls will relax a little over time and will generally hold their curl quite well. Pictured here on my Nutty Nag Plush Horse Doll…however, there are many others you can apply this to. They would look fantastic on a stick horse…but you will need A LOT more curls and will need to make them longer than what I describe here.
Preheat your oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
You will need:
- Acrylic Yarn (1-2 skeins…depending on how many curls you need for your project) I use Caron Simply Soft
- 12+ 1/4 inch diameter dowels cut to 12-15 inches in length
- 12+ clothes pins
- Baking sheet
- Ruler/Measuring Tape
- Sewing machine (optional)
Step 1: Wrap acrylic yarn tightly around ¼ inch or smaller dowels. I cut the dowels for this project to about 12-15 inches in length, you want them to fit inside the pan you’ll be using in the oven. You can easily secure the yarn at the end using a wooden clothes pin. I used 12 dowels for the mane and forelock and 10 dowels for the tail, this will vary depending on the length of your dowels, weight of the yarn, how tightly you wrap it, how long you want your curls and the size of what you’re making.
Step 2: Wet the wrapped dowels so the yarn is damp, no need to soak them.
Step 3: Place the wrapped dowels on a cookie sheet and put them in the preheated oven. (I use an oven heated with propane…however, use your own precautions and judgement.)
Step 4: Bake them for about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool COMPLETELY before you do anything else with them. Cooling sets the curl.
Step 5: Gently pull the yarn from the dowels. If you can slide it off, go that route. If it is too difficult to slide the yarn off the dowel you can gently pull the yarn straight off the dowel. You will be stretching the yarn in the process but don’t worry, if you allowed them to completely cool they will maintain their curl once you let go.
Step 6: Gently stretch the yarn only a little to your desired length and cut. The yarn will coil back up a little, however, gravity will give them a little stretch. You will need to cut each individual length of yarn. Cut enough to create several bundles for your plush….use your judgement based on the size and style of the plush you’re making.
For my Nutty Nag project I cut my mane and forelock to about 7 inches and used 20 strands in each bundle. I cut my tail to about 13 inches and used about 75 strands for the bundle. Ultimately how thick you want to make the mane, forelock and tail (or whatever you’re making) are up to you and I have only offered my suggestion as a guide. Because they are curls, it is totally acceptable to have your lengths slightly varied.
Step 7: Gather each bundle and find the middle of the length. Sew directly over the middle to bind the yarn. Fold the yarn in half at the stitch and stitch over the top of the entire bundle about 1/8 inch from the original binding stitch (pictured in the golden straight yarn). It is now ready to apply to your plush!
Step 8: Lay the bundles along the edge of the fabric piece you’re attaching it to and sandwich it in between the two sides, such as the head sides of a horse plush. Make sure the folded end of the yarn bundle is sticking slightly above the fabric edge. Pin in place. This will be bulky. Sew along the curved edge using a ¼ inch seam allowance.
When your project is complete don’t be afraid to trimand shape the curles to your desired look.