Sew along Rudolph – faux taxidermy head pattern & tutorial

I have had my eye on a faux taxidermy head for ages. I love the kitschness of them and a festive Rudolph version seemed like the perfect project. So, when I finally got round to thinking about making one, the first thing I did was get onto Pinterest to look for a pattern. I couldn’t believe that there was nothing at all available to download, so I have made my own and put a tutorial together for you as well. Here’s how you do it:rudolph-3

You will need:

  • Wadding (or scrap fabric)
  • A few odd blocks of wood and a couple of nails. I raided our log and kindling pile for mine.
  • Wall hook
  • Fabric (plain) for the main head. I have used a heavy wool felt but any robust farbic will be fine.
  • Fabric (patterned) for the inner ear and nose. This can be a lighter weight or silky finish if you like.
  • Electrical tape or string
  • Branches for antlers (mine came from our local woods)

Making the pattern was the hardest part of the project for me and luckily for you I’ve already done it – rudolph-1-lighterhere is it to download! The rest is pretty easy.

There are a couple of pattern pieces that span 2 pages. You will need to stick these together and cut them out to begin with. Here is a layout to show how they go together. There is also the missing end of the muzzle to stick to the main head shape.layout

Once you have you pattern pieces, cut your fabric, 2 head sides (mirror images don’t forget), a top of head A and top of head B, an underside of neck, 2 ears, 2 upper and lower eyebrows and a back panel in your plain fabric. Cut a second set of ears and 2 nose halves from your patterned fabric.layout-2

You will need to support the inside of your rudolph head. You don’t have to do anything flash – believe me, I’m no woodworker (you’ll see when you take a look at these bits I’ve hammered together.) Any rough combination of 3 blocks that achieves this kind of shape (see diagram) will be fine. You can measure it by sitting it on top of your cut fabric like this – see below. It needs to sit flat against the wall and and reach up to the top of the head so you can attach your antlers to it. Attach your hook onto the back now, before the fabric goes on. The hook needs to sit as high up as possible to balance the weight. I’ve marked it blockson the diagram in pink!

wood-on-headSew the under side of the neck to the top of head B to form the centre panel (The join looks like a mouth – it would be great to have a cheeky tongue sticking out here.)  Starting at the bottom, sew one of the fabric head sides to the this centre panel and then to the other side. There will be an opening at the top of the head where the antlers are to come through.

You will see that on my Rudolph that I have left the seams on the outside of the head for effect. I would only recommend doing this if you are using felt like I have. It has a lovely clean cut edge, whereas most fabric will fray along a raw edge. So, should you be using anything other than felt, turn your head inside out so the seams are inside.

Machine sew the 2 parts of each eyebrow together along the pink lines. Pin and then hand stitch them onto your head along the top and bottom where marked. Pin and hand stitch  on the eyes. Machine sew together the 2 parts of the nose and then hand stitch onto your head leaving a little opening in order to stuff with a little spare wadding. Finish by hand.ear-fold
With right sides together machine stitch each ear to the ear lining and then turn right way out. Fold in the bottom of each ear like this. If your ears are too floppy to stand upright you can support them by tacking in a cocktail stick between the 2 layers of fabric. Pin the ears into the top of the head seam where marked.

You need a couple of matching branches for antlers. I think that a curved branch works well. I have used mine au naturel but I think they would look great if you covered them in PVA glue and added a bit of glitter. The glue, once dried, will add a gloss to them as well.wire-and-antlers

Bind your branches to the interior support with some thick wire,  heavy electrical  tape or string.putting-antler-in

Carefully cut holes in the fabric around the branches to allow them to fit through the top. Stitch up the top of the head by hand.

sewing-up-headPlace your wooden support inside the head shape and, starting with muzzle, pack wadding around it until the head is fully stuffed. Wadding is ideal as it is so light but you could also use fabrics scraps.

back-panelrudolph-2Stitch the back fabric panel into place covering the flat wooden back. My hook sticks out of the top of the back panel but if yours is a little lower down, cut a little hole in the fabric to allow the wall hook to come through. (Don’t worry if it not that neat – none of it shows anyway.) Then hang your Rudolph in pride of place and have a fabulous Christmas!