YES, as long as your seams will take it. I use wool noil to get it real firm. I also use orlon flock. I have used a product called wood wool in the tip of the nose to get it stiff, but only on an aged bear.
My technique in bear making is in transition mode at the moment. So what I use to do doesnt quite apply anymore. (for me that is) Sorry I was no help at all aye! :doh: Matilda :redface:
Like Melissa ..I always put woodwool in the nose...I can't even remember who to credit with this wonderful tip but it's completely changed how easy the nose is to sew.
I dampen the woodwool..(I run it under the tap ) with warm water...then I roll it up in an old towel to take out the wetness and leave it sitting for half an hour. Then I snip it up into tiny pieces which I then stuff the nose with...very, very hard. I hard stuff the head with a mix of cotton fibre and polyfibre..and if I find 'pockets' around the nose/cheek area I put in more woodwool. I then put a few pins around the nose as it hold it all in place as the woodwool dries. I leave it overnight to settle...fill any bits up that aren't quite hard..
The nose is so easy to sew through the woodwool when it's dry ...it's like going through butter... Don't put it in too wet though as it will distort the fabric.
Woodwool...or 'Excelsior'...no good to use it dry...but marvellous used damp.
No, I don't mix the polyfibre and cotton fibre before hand...I just use separate pieces which form a firmer stuffing...especially in key areas like the cheeks and behind the nose. The cotton fibre is not fluffy like kapok, and packs down extremely hard....but the polyfibre is great for bigger gaps
I just use regular old polyfil from WalMart to stuff everything. So long as I pack hard, hard, hard, using a stuffing tool, it's plenty hard enough to embroider a nice nose. I make sure to trim my seams near the nose very close, and to fraycheck just at that spot, to avoid fraying problems due to that close trim.
I've been wanting to use wood wool to stuff the whole bear recently - I tried once before and wasn't very pleased with the result - plus it was really hard going on the hands. When you say you chop it up into little pieces - how little are they? I'm feeling quite enthusiastic about giving this another go and thinking that chopping it all would be the answer to a better finish.
I mix cotton fibre and polyfibre. I take the "slippery" stuff and mix it with the cotton stuff and use that combo for the head. I found that the cotton stuffed to clumpy and not uniform, and the polyfiber wasn't hard enoght for me.... So that was my solution. Mix them beforehand..
Kirsten thanks exactly why I started doing it. The polyfibre just wasn't dense enough...and the cotton is lumpy on it's own. I can get some coarser ...heavier polyfibre...but till then this works fine for me.
Vicky... I snip the woodwool into tiny....tiny 1/4" pieces...which would not work on a whole bear. But if I were youI would snip it into 1"+ pieces. Then you can form it into small balls . The trick is to get it to the right level of dampness...spraying it doesn't soften it enough...hence why I run it under the tap...then dry it out again. I keep it in a plastic bag if I'm doing lots of stuffing and it stays damp for ages then. As it drys in the bear it becomes a more solid form than I could ever stuff into a nose.
The Bear-bits people mix it damp with poly-fibre and stuff their huge bears with it...they have a wonderfully solid, but still fluid form.
It's worth a try anyway....
Welll very interesting. I have excelsior but haven't used it.
I'm kind of in Shellis camp, mainly because I think I am a little lazier than the rest of you. I use the big boxes at Walmart too, and if I don't think it is hard enough I toss it to the hubs and let him finish it off. But I make sure not to make a big deal out of it, if he though I had ulterior motives, like getting him to start doing other things he'sv be outa here in a hurry and hiding under one of his project cars in the garage.
I do like kapok for the minis- but I have a hard time finding it, fortunetly it doesn't take much for someone only 2" tall....
Thanks for the lesson ladies, it is always interesting to hear how everyone does the different chores associated with our projects.
I'm still lost on coconut fiber......I hear that old Harry Belefonte song, 'Coconut woman"
The bird loves LOVES Harry.
Hi Fran...as far as I know there are different grades of polyfibre/fill/ flock...there are the luxury fluffy high loft ones that are useless because they won't pack down at all, there are regular ones like I have which are OK...but not awfully dense...then there are heavy duty ones which compact down and become very firm. The cotton is recycled, carded cotton threads...different to kapok...it's what they use in antique upholstery restoration..again, it stuffs really solid...
DILU - Spare Bear Parts sells Kapok. We talked about allergy issues with it though in some other thread...
Wood wool: We also talked about how that dries up over time. So, if a bear stuffed with wood wool needs repair once deemed an antique it will not be fun to do. The ankles and around the joints are the first to break. I've been on the repair end. :/
On a good note.... we won't be around when the new bear becomes an antique and needs repair!
Great pix, Matilda! Thanks!
Cocoanut fiber is sometimes called 'coir'. It's coarse and brown and scratchy. You might see it made into wecome mats or shoe scrapers or even brushes. I have no idea how it would work in noses.
I've been looking for a good source--it's the next best thing to horsehair for upholstery, and probably a lot cheaper.
There is a ton of good information in this thread.
Matilda, Number 4 in your picture is excelsior too, it is just a different grade/type.
I use a mix of Polyfill and Excelsior to stuff with. I also use copper and steel BBs for weight.
I stuff my heads firmly with Excelsior. I cut it into smaller chunks about 1/2" to 1/4" in length. I then roll it into a ball in my hand and stuff it into the head and work it around with my forceps and needles. I work on it until I have a smooth surface and it is firmly stuffed with no depressions. It is much easier to place and set my eyes and to put on the noses and mouths.
I also place excelsior in the feet and paws, I have found that this keeps them from turning in the wrong direction. I stuff the remainder of the limbs with a mix of BBs and excelsior. For the body I place a layer of polyfill all around the body and stuff the middle with excelsior and BBs, this gives a nice soft feel and there is still a firm bear to hold. Some time when I have the time I will draw and post a diagram.
There is no correct way to stuff a bear. Some people like their bears to be hard as rocks others want them to be soft and fluffy. I try to take a middle of the road approach. I don't want them to be so hard that people won't cuddle them and I don't want them to be so soft that they need to be restuffed in 10 years. I use to stuff everything as hard as I could but I found that my collectors didn't like it and it was hard on my hands. They would hurt all of the time. After I quit stuffing so hard my hand quit hurting. So think of your body too when stuffing your bears and hares.
I used kapok and it got into everything including my eyes, nose, and mouth. So I quit using it.
I buy my excelsior from my local Wal-Mart, they love to see us coming, actually I work there and the gals in the craft deparement know mw quite well, it can be easily cut. Mom uses a plant mister to lightly dampen the excelsior before cutting it. I have a hamper lined with a big plastic bag that I keep my excelsior in so when I cut it I just cut it inside the big bag in the hamper.
I discovered that by stuffing my noses firmly with excelsior it was easier to place my noses and not have to needle scuplt as much afterward. I still prefer to stuff my heads completely with excelsior.
Experiment to find what best works for you.
Nancy Tillberg has a good book out there that discusses different stuffing materials. 101 Bears to Make by Nancy Tillberg.
Hare & Bear Hugs,
One way to keep the stuffing in place when soft-stuffing a body is to stitch it in place through the outside of the body--keeping the stitches invisible, of course.
I discovered this technique when the dogs ripped up my daughter's Gund puppy. It was very soft and floppy, but had wonderful muscle definition. The stuffing had been 'sculpted' into shape with long stitches from the outside. Even before it was chewed to pieces, it had been played with for years, dragged through all sorts of adventures, and never lost its nice contours.
Great thread and wonderful info anf tips everyone!
I also like to use a combination of excelsior and polyfil and BB's and steel shot and glass pellets. I use these in combintaion for the look and feel I want in a particular bear. It changes with my mood with each bear.
I certainly agree with the stitching over an excelsior filled muzzle. I did not know Walmart carrie this? Is it in the craft area?
My favorite feel to a bear is one that is weighted with glass pellets. This feels silkly and sand-like and has a nice heft...if you use enough of it. Steel shot, of course gets my vote for the heaviest filling available. You can't get this from Walmart but rather from a sports/hunting supply store and it comes in very small pellets to BB-sized pellets and is heavier than BB's.