23 June, 2009

The Making of a Mouse Pad

The nutty siblings are having an extended summer holiday break. Schools have been shut down two weeks ahead of schedule - all thanks to the many clusters of Swine Flu that are springing up all over HK - especially in schools.

Now both, Macademia and Pecan are being homeschooled - well, of sorts. Before heading off towards a teaching profession in all probability, we thought Mommy could well do with a couple of guinea pigs on whom to test her patience levels and teaching skills :DDD.

So, last week, with Father's Day just around the corner, we were trying to figure out what to "make" for Ze Daddy (in nutty siblingspeak). It had to be easy peasy, something that could be used and it definitely had to be something that would make Ze Daddy's cube in office look like a circus tent.

That was when Mommy remembered something she'd seen on the Internet eons ago - she'd seen a homemade Mouse Pad once and it looked cute enough to frame itself into Mommy's mind. Needless to say she'd conveniently forgotten to bookmark the same then (not surprising at all, given that she's so scatterbrained) - so the nutty siblings had to be content with the picture that remained in Mommy's mind.

So here's how we set about making a Mouse Pad at home for Ze Daddy.

It had to be of a material which would provide some grip for the mouse. Nothing slick or too smooth. So into play came foamboards. This is another material that we love to work with. Flexible yet sturdy and when some craftwork calls for neat, clean lines with a matt finish, foamboards are just the thing. And the fact that foamboards are sold in many different colors do help tremendously.

We chose to go with a brown for the body of the mouse. Not wanting to retain straight lines on the corners, we gave it a curve, an arc - so it looked something like this after the arc had been cut out. The slightly tapered end would be the head of the mouse and the broader end - the bottom.

Next came the head of the mouse. We decided to go in for a green - cos that would make a brighter contrast to the brown body. The shape of the head was pencilled onto the green foamboard. Once it was cut out and pasted onto the brown body of the mouse, it looked something like this. The basic body structure was ready.

Now, we got to the nitty gritty of the additional details - the more important ones being the nose, the eyes and the ears. Had we used black foamboard for the nose, eyes and ears, the mousepad would have been rather bumpy - because the foamboards are thicker than the normal craft materials.

Which was why we decided to bring felt into play. This is another material that we love to work with - simply because it is so very versatile and has a rather soft and shiny finish. Black felt it was - for the nose and the eyes. And once the black felt was cut and pasted onto the body of the mouse, it looked something like this.

Now onto the ears. We decided to go with two tones - the outer ear and the inner ear. The outer ear was a light peach felt and the inner ear was a light pink felt. The shapes were cut out. The outer ear pasted on first and then on went the inner ear.

Now with the nose, eyes and the ears all done, our mousepad looked like this.

What is missing ? queried Mommy.

"The tail and the whiskers" shouted the nutty siblings in unison, thoroughly tickled pink by this whole affair by now.

The tail had to be sturdy yet flexible - so that it could be molded into a wavy shape. More importantly, it had to retain that shape. Into play came the fuzz covered wires, which again are sold in many different colors. We chose to go with the black wire for the tail.

Many permutations and combinations were tried out, resulting in much laughter and mirth. A curly pig's tail, a bushy cow's tail and what have you and we finally ended up with a tail that looked just about right on a mouse :). And with much ado, the tail was taped onto the underside of the mouse's body. These wires somehow do not get glued down, they have to be taped up - so that's exactly what we did.

Now, all that remained were the whiskers. Felt would not work for the whiskers since it was too soft a material and would not hold up on its own. So the foamboard was brought back into use - this time the black foamboard. We cut out very thin strips of the foamboard and ended up with juliennes like these :).

These were then glued to the underside of the mouse's body and Ta Da !!! The mouse pad was all ready :).

This was the Mouse Pad that Ze Daddy's got on Father's Day :))))

Other Suggestions for making mousepads at home with foamboards and felt

1) Use Red Foamboard and black felt for a Ladybird.

2) Use Grey and Pink colors and you could make a Bunny Rabbit.

3) Use White/Grey/Brown and you could make a kitten or a puppy.

4) Use a whole range of colors and you could make a clown.

5) Use Green/Yellow/Brown and you could make a lovely sunflower.

6) Use Blue/White/Yellow and you could make a blue sky with puffy clouds and a smiley sun.

The possibilities are endless :)).

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5 voice(s) said so:

Altoid said...

Wow! That's a fantastic, useful idea G! Now, I've bookmarked this for future use :).

PS : Can I get one too? For Ze Aunty? :P

mnamma said...

Excellent Gauri!!! The mouse pad looks fantastic :) And what fun for the kids. Love your ideas.

choxbox said...

very nice :)

Suma said...

very nice!

i've bookmarked this...

dipali said...

Very cute mouse!