When an old friend suggested that I purchase a chocolate Easter Bunny for my grandson who is 8 months old, I had to laugh to myself, but that gave me the idea for these two “chocolate bunnies” made from some left over fabric and repurposing those plastic shopping bags that we have too many of and don’t know what to do with!
Drop in a few jingle bells left over from that Christmas project you made, and this becomes a soft, crinkly, jingly, washable toy for a sweet little boy or girl who isn’t quite ready for a real chocolate bunny.
Materials and Tools
- sewing machine
- Print-out of a chocolate Easter Bunny, your choice of style and size
- brown flannel, corduroy or other chocolate colored, washable material (you can use felt if you don’t plan on washing)
- brown thread; pink, black, white and brown embroidery thread
- scrap ribbon
- tiny pink pom-poms
- ½” white pom-poms
- jingle bells, various sizes
- small black beads
- plastic shopping bags, fiber-fill, old stockings, or other repurposed material for stuffing bunnies.
Making the Stuffed “Chocolate” Bunnies
1. After printing a picture of your favorite chocolate Easter bunny from your computer (I went to Google Images, found the bunnies that I wanted, copied them into a Word document, sized to 4-6” and printed)—cut out and place on brown fabric, double thickness, right sides together.
2. Pin to fabric and cut out leaving at least 1/4” around the outside of the bunny. Right sides of the material should be together so that you’re ready to sew the two pieces together.
3. Leave the paper pattern right on the material and sew closely around the edges of the pattern, leaving the bottom of the bunny open for stuffing. After straight stitching go back around the outside of the pattern using a zig-zag stitch. Remove paper pattern.
4. Turn material right side out, making sure to turn out the ears and other angles fully.
5. Stuff bunny using shredded plastic bags, fiber-fill, or old stockings. I used plastic bags to create a crinkly sound when the bunny is played with, but I did find it difficult to sew through when doing the hand sculpting. I used scissors to push stuffing into the bunny’s ears, nose, and other detailed edges. I also randomly dropped in jingle bells so that the bunny would rattle when shook by baby. Once the bunny is fully stuffed, sew up the bottom of the bunny, tipping edges under and whip-stitching by hand.
6. Using brown embroidery thread, follow the paper pattern to create sculpted ears, head legs, feet, etc. Push needle through both sides of bunny, making sure that the needle comes out of the opposite side of the bunny in approximately the same place on each side of the bunny. Work back and forth, using small running stitches, pulling tightly to sculpt the bunny. (TIP: This work is a little difficult if using the plastic bags, especially if stuffed tightly.)
7. You’ll also have to work jingle bells into positions that won’t affect the sculpting. I used a thimble to push the needle through the bunny and a pair of pliers to finish pulling the needle through when it was difficult to get through. This part of the project is great to do while watching American Idol, since it will take a little time.
8. Finishing touches: I used small black beads for eyes, scraps of ribbon to make a bow, pink embroidery thread for nose and ears of one bunny and a tiny pink pom-pom for the nose of the other and ½” white pom-poms for the tail.
I sewed on all details VERY securely, knotted and hid knot by pulling tail of thread through the body to an outer edge and cutting thread so that there would be no loose ends, and no worry of baby pulling off the small pieces and swallowing.
NOTE: these bunnies would also be cute as decorations for years to come, even after Baby can enjoy real chocolate bunnies!
written by: Bonnie Arena