If you’re like most cat owners you’ve probably got a couple of catnip mice lying around the house (and an unknown number stashed away in places that you’ll probably never discover unless you pack up to move). Wouldn’t it be more pleasant to have colorful leaves, vegetables and flowers scattered around the house than small rodents? Here’s a change of pace from the typical cat toys – garden-themed toys! They’re super easy to make and already cat tested and approved!
Printout of patterns
Parachute chord – green
Dried, crushed catnip – 1-2 tablespoons per toy
Optional: Rick rack, ribbon, yarn
1. Print out pattern and cut out shapes. Click here for a printer-friendly PDF with the shape template:
2. Cut two squares of felt large enough for the pattern of the toy you want to make. If you are making a leaf or the flower, cut a four-inch piece of parachute chord. If you are making a carrot or turnip, cut three leaf shapes for the foliage and three, four-inch pieces of ribbon.
3. Lay the pattern on top of the felt. Holding all three pieces together, cut around the pattern.
4. Thread needle with a double strand of standard sewing or embroidery thread. If making a leaf, stitch the leaf veins on one side of the leaf. Use a running stitch for the middle vein and a single, straight stitch for the side veins.
5. Place the two felt shapes together and insert the needle between the layers, about an eighth of an inch from the edge of the fabric. Pull the needle up through. This will result in the starting knot being on the inside of the toy.
6. Stitch around the outside edge using a simple whip stitch. Stop when there is about an inch left to close. Do not cut the thread yet.
7. Using a teaspoon, scoop the dried catnip into the toy to fill. Be sure to leave enough room to stitch the remainder of the edge closed. (If you don’t have homegrown catnip, store-bought works just fine.)
8. If making the leaf or flower, take a piece of the parachute chord (about four inches long) and place an end about a half-inch into the toy, right next to where you made the very first stitch. The cord creates the stem.
Pro Tip: If making the turnip or carrot, layer all of the foliage strips and arrange them exactly how you want them. Run several straight stitches through all of the layers to hold them in place. This will make stitching the bundle to the toy much easier.
9. Finish stitching the edge closed. When you get to the cord (or bundle of foliage, depending on the toy you are making) stitch through it a couple of times to secure it.
10. Knot the thread at the backside of the toy then run the needle through the
middle of the toy and out the other side. Trim thread close to fabric. Pinch
and fluff the completed toy to evenly distribute the catnip.
Now that you know how easy these catnip toys are to make, you’ll want to stock some up for your cats. They also make a great gift for your favorite “crazy cat lover”. You can use whatever colors of felt, thread or other ornamentation you want. Add a bell, make the foliage extra-long, try strings of yarn for the foliage. Have fun with it! (Your cats won’t judge.) This is a great way to use up small pieces of felt. Fabrics that don’t fray easily such as canvas, denim and fleece are all good choices as well.
Show us your catnip creations by sharing a photo to the My Garden Life Facebook page.