My husband and I are book hoarders - there, I said it. On the scale of things-to-hoard, though, I feel like books is at the top of the "socially acceptable" section. Needless to say, Hazel has a lot of books. I'm not even ashamed! But, her bookcase drives me nuts because the books are always sliding around since I don't want to put heavy, not-baby-friendly bookends in her room! I did a quick search on pinterest for some baby-safe book end ideas and there were surprisingly few options - and none that fit the cuteness bill for me! So, I decided to design an easily adaptable animal bookend that can definitely be played with! No sharp edges, and it is only a teeny bit heavy, so even falling on a little one won't cause any major strife.
Here's my tutorial for the unicorn version - Just change up the ears and the face to make a multitude of different animals! I've included pictures of the cat and bunny versions I made at the end as well.
For a finished book-end size of approximately 4 x 6 inches, these are the pieces you need!:
-6 x 10 inch rectangle
-4 inch diameter circle
-2 approx. 2 x 4 inch scraps coordinating or matching fabric
Nose and horn:
-coordinating felt - nose oval approx. 1.25 x 2.5 inches and horn shape approx. 1.25 inches tall
We’ll start by making the ears! Fold your fabric in half, right sides together.
Draw your ear shape on the folded fabric, with the top of the ear towards the fold.
Once you have both ears drawn, sew carefully around the ear shape, through both layers. Make sure you leave the bottom open!
Your wars should look something like this, after you trim the extra fabric! Now flip them inside out!
Ta-da! Two little unicorn ears. (Try making triangles for a cat, or long ears for a bunny or a dog!)
Let’s make the main “body”! Fold the body fabric (right sides together) so that the short ends are lined up. Sew these ends together to make a tube.
okay, quick note for this section - my pictures are horrible because the lighting in my living room isn’t very nice and I also didn’t realize my camera was focusing on my carpet instead of the project in a couple of the pictures... well you win some, you lose some...right? Haha so just bear with me please.
This next step is hard to communicate with pictures, but basically we’re sewing the circle piece to one end of the tube, so we need to pin the edges of the tube to the circle, keeping the right sides together.
Heres a side view of what my tube looks like with the end pinned on.
View from the inside of the tube before sewing.
Side view of my half cylinder after sewing! I also trimmed the edges to be a little more even.
Its okay if your bottom isn’t perfectly circular, just try to keep your shape smooth with no sharp corners or jagged bits!
Alrighty, turn your tube inside out.
Almost ready to fill it up, we just need to stitch the nose. (If you’re making a different animal or just don’t want to do this step, you can paint on your entire face instead of just the eyes, like I show later!)
Now onto the nose! Using matching or contrasting thread, make two knots for little nostrils.
We’re going to stitch the nose on before we fill the tube! I like to put the seam in the back, so you should make sure it’s where you want it before you stitch!
I centered my nose about three inches up from the bottom seam. This will give enough space to close off the top and still paint on eyes!
I used a simple straight stitch to sew the nose onto the front layer of my fabric.
I filled my unicorn about 2/3 with barley. It ended up being just shy of 3 cups. You can use a multitude of other things to fill yours, I find that plain old beans don’t end up being quite heavy enough, but they might work just fine for you! Rice, plastic doll beads, and other grains are all good options!
This is about how high the barely comes up. I like putting polyfil in the top tiny bit of these so that sewing the top closed is easier. If it’s full to the brim with your beans/barley, it’s very difficult to keep them out of the way while sewing.
Leave about 1/2 inch free fabric after your poly fill tops off your filling. Using poly fill also keeps the shape of your animal from sagging, in addition to making sewing a million times easier!
Hard to show with one hand while taking pictures, but we’re basically going to fold down the entire top edge of your tube about 1/4 inch all the way around.
With the rim folded down, line up the edges into a flat seam.
Fold the corners inward at the edges to make the top a kind of trapezoid shape.
Make sure the edge is smooth and lying flat!
Place the ear where you like it in between the folds (I like to pretty much center the ears on the corner made by the folds) and pin in place!
Make sure the two edge corners are the same and the ears are where you want them.
Pin the horn in the center, between the folds. Now we have to carefully sew along the folded edge, making sure your ears and horn stay in place as you sew.
Done!! All that is left is to paint on eyes! Although I think it looks kinda cute without:..
Plain old arylic paint works great on fabric! All I did was use this tiny brush to paint simple closed-eye shapes above the nose.
I had to add lashes, of course!
All done! And the best part is that you can whip up different animals pretty easily, and using different fabric can make these match any room theme!
Here are the bunny and cat versions I made!
Cute AND functional! Hazel loves carrying these guys around the house by the ears. It’s a win in the toddler’s book!
Let me know if you have any questions or comments!
Hey there! My name is Kirstie. I'm here to jot down what it's like for us to make our way in the world - having fun on a budget, refashioning and DIY-ing our hearts out, pursuing business ventures, and raising a sweet babe in this crazy world. Join me for a slightly haphazard journaling of my little family and our pursuits and adventures!