Every plush piece that I make has some kind of internal structure. Something that holds it in place and helps to keep it’s shape. Most plush are just filled with fiberfill which is awesome and makes things very huggable. But when you start to add skinny legs, or tree branches or masts, then you need something more. I was thinking of this today when I said to myself, “hmmm, where am I going to find six foot long pipe cleaners for this snail’s shell?” Where indeed.
These are some of the basic tools I use.
Pipe cleaners are cheap, plentiful and super easy to use. I use them in small pieces, especially those that just need a little something more than filler. Robots, small snails, and cheese come to mind.
Floral stems are something new I’ve been using. I like the stronger ones because they do keep their shape and don’t add a lot of bulk. The lighter (white) ones are excellent for stitching into the seam of something to make it flexible.
Wire in all gauges is a standard tool. I recently discovered plastic coated wire and I love it – no more dirty hands when manipulating wire that then gets transferred to the fabric. This is my absolute favorite for armature especially skinny legs. I buy it at a super exclusive craft store… Ace Hardware. It never occurred to me to buy specific “armature wire” at an art store until right this minute when I looked it up.
And six foot long giant pipe cleaners. Why yes, I found them at Michael’s today in their pipe cleaner aisle for $2.99. Awesome. You can buy these giant puffy pipe cleaners in all colors and some are really expensive. I’m glad to see they are coming down in price because they are armature and fill all in one. I needed this one for a snail’s shell… It will make sense when I post a picture of the finished piece. Or I hope it will.