The next stop on the Custom Yoka Show tour by DKE Toys is the Screaming Sky Gallery in Portland, OR. From May 26th-June 26th, you’ll be able to view this little guy and his tiny, ursine cousins. For purchase information, please contact the gallery directly.
Do you live in the Bay Area? Would you like to learn how to design and make your own plush toys? You’re in luck, because I’m teaching an Intro to Plush class on Monday night at Workshop SF! Just in time for Valentine’s Day, learn how to make a unique gift for your sweetie. Hey, it’s how the Uglydolls got started….
Update: this class just got moved to the week of the 2/15. More details when I have them….
I know I didn’t post a separate thing for yesterday but that’s because I spent both days this weekend (and many others beforehand) finishing up my Yoka bear for the DKE traveling Custom Yoka show. I made new things for it each day, so I think it still falls within the bounds of my commitment. If you’ll recall, my initial string-art-turned-embroidery idea didn’t quite work out because the toy was too small to puncture or sew, so I sketched up a feathered griffin idea instead:
I basically stuck to this plan but I turned his arms into the wings and changed the colors a bit. Here’s how he turned out:
I’ll take better photos when I have some time during daylight hours (I started a part-time day-job so that’s been tough) but I wanted to give you a sense of the process in the meantime. First I made him a polymer clay beak and little claws (I used gold). After baking I attached them with a two-part super glue for plastics from Loctite which worked extremely well.
Next I made him two polymer clay eyes (using white clay), which I fired, glued and painted in three colors using acrylics. He looks cute and doe-eyed here, but watch out!
Next I used more polymer clay to make angry eyelids. They flattened out a bit when I baked them, but they were so thin that I was able to bend them back into shape while gluing them.
While I was waiting for his eyelids to cook, I wrapped his arms in wire to make bendable wireframe wings.
I glued some felt on top of the wire so the feathers would have a base. When it was dry I trimmed the excess (not pictured).
Next I cut out a million tiny felt feathers. Mostly I used a teardrop-shaped hole punch that works on fabric — sort of. It punched through the felt most of the way but every piece was still attached by a little piece at the bottom that I had to snip off with fabric scissors.
One by one I glued the feathers on his body. I started with his feet and his belly.
I also glued little felt pads for the bottom of his feet. They look white here because I overexposed the shot, but they’re really the same blue as the feathers on his belly.
I also added a tail, which is just 22-gauge wire wrapped in felt. I poked a hole in his backside for it but I didn’t glue it in until the end, after I’d trimmed it. By the end of the day on Saturday, his body was finished. I cut a few feathers in half for the tufts on his “ears.”
Sunday was mostly spent on his wings. The long feathers I cut out by hand. I cut a bunch of skinny triangles from one long strip of felt, then rounded off the ends with my fabric scissors. Ta-da!
I made everything so that his joints all still move. His wings are also bendable so you can fold them at his sides, make him take off, or have him swoop in for a landing.
Your instruction for today is: customize a small toy to make it way cooler than the original. You can customize a blank vinyl toy (or even a roll-on deodorant), pick up an action figure at the thrift store, or turn that old carnival teddy bear into something way more bad-ass.
Your inspiration for today comes from a few of the other artists in the traveling Yoka show. Some people painted…
Some people felted…
…some people sculpted…
…and some people covered.
Some people had more ideas than time.