I am not at all sure how we got on the subject, but a day or so after Isobel received her Pikachu backpack in the mail, Isobel decided that I was going to make her a Pichu toy. She had never heard of Pichu before, and since it’s not part of Pokemon’s standard 151 Pokemon, I naturally view it as an aberration of nature. If you stayed with me this long and don’t know what the hell a Pichu is either, god bless you, and let me sum up.
Isobel adores Pikachu, a magical electrical rodent creature from a game-turned-cartoon show called Pokemon. It looks like this, but without the baby inside. It is very cute and speaks in an adorable made-up language consisting of saying its own name over and over again. Despite the fact that I made it sound very terrible, it’s actually quite adorable, and in my younger days I actually loved Pikachu quite a bit and bought various yellow-and-black merchandise myself. I was younger, yes, but I was still technically a grown-ass adult. It was a different time.
Pichu here is the lesser-evolved, sort of ‘baby’ version of the Pikachu. Isobel had a few Pikachu toys, a Raichu plushy (the more evolved, ‘big brother’ Pikachu) and now wanted the Pichu to complete the set. And she had decided that I would make it for her. Being a generally foolhardy sort of person given to impulse, I said yes. Later I realized I had no idea how to do this. What, I wondered, did I get myself into?
Felt was purchased, the glue gun was warmed up, and I found a Pichu picture online and printed it to the size of about 4.5 inches tall. The sheet of felt its laying on in the above photo is about the size of a standard piece of paper. I set to work, first cutting out the printed image, taping it to a stiff piece of yellow felt, and then cutting it out. I used a combination of stiff and soft felt so the toy would be plush but not be too soft and floppy.
The stiff felt was easy to cut in precise lines and took no time at all. The more difficult part was duplicating this with the soft felt I used for the front of the toy. I recommend using very sharp shears for this. It took longer and made my hand sore so I had to rest it a bit after before moving on.
Next I needed some precise shapes for the ears, eyes and cheeks. At this point I cannibalized the pattern and cut out the tips of his ears to use as a guide to give me identical results for the ear parts.
To create the face I first laid the Pichu pattern on top of the felt and then I used an ink pen to poke holes through the pattern. From there I was able to connect the dots and draw the face on Pichu. This would let me know where to place the felt pieces. I again cut up the face of Pichu to get exact sizes for eye and cheek circles and the same for the collar.
While I was hard at work making her toy, Isobel was hard at work making things herself. For example, the made this for Elias, which she later told me was a diaper.
I glued the details to the top layer of felt and then glued the soft felt layer to the stiff one, leaving room to add some stuffing in between.
While we waited for Pichu to dry (the hardest part by far for Isobel) we made some other Pokemon-related crafts: a thrifted red plastic ball pit ball was transformed into a Pokeball via a black sharpie, and thunderbolt attacks were made using sparkly glitter cardstock that I had actually picked up for a separate project.
Finally, Pichu was done. I free handed the white spots inside of his eyes and drew on fingers, toes, his nose and mouth with a felt-tipped pen.
Isobel thinks I’m a wizard. Really, I’m just a woman with a glue gun, some scissors and felt, and access to the internet. She’s trying to convince me to open a toy shop on Etsy called “The Kids’ Aisle” where we make and sell handmade toys together.
She insisted I take a photo of her with all her forms of Pikachu. “A family photo!” she said.
This project took about two hours and cost me maybe two or three dollars. The felt was around thirty cents a sheet, and I already had the glue gun, glue, scissors, and printer paper. I am not interested in making toys for the world at large, but I will gladly make toys for her all day.