Monday, July 1, 2013

#ReadItMD13 Theme Week - "Getting Crafty with Children's Books" - Time for a book-themed make...!

Tweet! FC in his rather groovy antigrav cage

We're huge fans of Metaphrog's fabulous "Louis" series and Charlotte is a particular fan of Louis' chirpy little pet pal, the wonderful FC. 

(FC stands for Formulaic Companion, just in case you were wondering). 

Here's a pic of the original FC in his fabulous cage (which seems to be made of loops suspended in some sort of weird antigrav field). 

How on earth would you even begin to make something like that? We set out this weekend to find out!

For the cage we used: 

1 cake tub lid (or something circular, a Dairylea container would also be ideal if weighed down with something inside)
2 sheets of orange craft foam (available from most craft / art stores)
1 sheet of blue craft foam (for the circular base)
2 lolly sticks
Double sided sticky tape 
Cotton and needle (better still, if you have nylon thread like the stuff for bead / necklace making, this would be better). 
PVA or Fabric Glue
Blob of modelling clay or Air Drying Clay (we found modelling clay was better as air drying clay didn't stay put on the base!)

For FC: 

1 large blue pom-pom
1 small blue pom-pom
Stick on googly eyes
3 scraps of blue craft foam (for FC's wings and beak)
2 blue pipe cleaners

First, cut some long even strips from the orange craft foam (approximately 1 1/2 cm wide and about 50cm long, depending on the diameter of your cake tub lid / Dairylea box)

Use the strips (join two together if necessary) to form the loops of FC's cage (like in the picture, try to make them different sizes / circumferences to look a bit more cage-like). Stick the ends of the strips together with double-sided sticky tape (or cheat like we did with staples :)

Next, cut a circle of the craft foam from one of the blue strips to glue on the lid / base of your cage. 

Next, glue the two lolly sticks together, end on end with about 3cm overlap so that they form one long flat stick) and leave to dry thoroughly. 

Get a piece of modelling clay and stick this on one edge of the base, and then stick the lollysticks vertically into the clay. 

Start to stick the looped orange craft foam to the lollystick "spine" with double sided sticky tape. The loops will sag a bit, but don't worry, you'll fix that later on in the make. 

Awww already cute!

Now let's start making FC himself. Glue the small pompom to the large pompom with some fabric glue (as shown above). 

Next, trim the pipe cleaners - you'll want two 10cm lengths and also two 4cm lengths for FC's legs and feet. Twist the shorter lengths around the longer lengths to form a foot-like V: 

(As always with sharp scissors, if your children are doing the make, supervise this bit and make sure they cut well away from fingers and faces!)

FC's legs and feet should look a bit like this: 

Hey ladies!
As you can see in the photo, we've also glued on FC's googly eyes and beak / wing shapes cut from the craft foam (Our beak flattened out a bit, poo!) Leave FC to dry thoroughly before bending his legs into a slightly more bird-like shape so he can perch in his cage. 

Now to finish the cage. For the top of the cage you'll want a shape a bit like a circle with a thin strip coming out of the middle of it - with the thin strip glued to the lollystick top, and the circular bit as the apex of the cage. 

Into the circle, cut two slots to slot in another piece of the orange craft foam like so: 

The retainer at the top of the cage showing the shape you'll need to cut
By this stage your cage is probably looking a little saggy and wobbly. Never fear, a thin piece of cotton or nylon beading thread is just the ticket here to make the cage still look like the rings are 'floating'. Sew a cross shape into the top retainer ring of the cage, then thread the needle through each of the rings in turn, pulling them back into line. Sew another button-stitch cross shape into the lowest ring so that the cage 'hangs' together nicely. 

Still a bit wobbly at this stage. Time for a needle and thread!
Not bad for mark one! I'm currently trying to think of more suitable materials to make the cage rings out of, as the foam didn't retain its shape too well. The FC make was ace though (and that was largely down to Charlotte who is a bit of a whizz with her pompom kit!)

The final product!


1 comment:

Playing by the book said...

Ahhhh, a post after my own heart! Love it!