Thursday, May 24, 2018

Making A Little Narwhal Plush Nursery Rug

Narwhals, narwhals swimming in the ocean...who doesn't love the unicorn of the sea, aka the narwhal?  I think they are so fun and are a favorite animal with the kids right now.  Even though our new baby's nursery isn't themed, I thought a fun rug with this sweet sea creature would be a good addition.  Enter my Little Narwhal Plush Rug

It's sized to go in front of the crib so this tired mom can be comfy while leaning over to tend to our new little guy.  It also doubles as a play mat/place to diaper change on the floor. Narwhal hugs!!  

The interior is foam to make it cushioned & supportive. The envelope exterior design means I can easily remove and machine wash the plush outer - unlike most rugs that can only be spot-cleaned.  In a baby or kid's room, machine washing is a necessity!  It's also inexpensive compared to most fanciful store bought rugs and because it's DIY-ed, it's even custom colored to match our space.

I used minky as my main rug fabric.  It wears well and is so cuddly and plush.  Perfect for a baby's room!  

For the narwhal's horn I used this silver foil flecked white fleece to add a bit of magic sparkle:

I even made the horn 3-dimensional so it would have the spiral look of the real thing:

Here's how I made ours
- Minky fabric 1 1/2yds main, 1/4yd grey for narwhal
- Fleece fabric scraps
- 1yd 24 inch wide, 1 inch thick craft foam
- Paper for pattern making
- High loft batting, handful of polyfil
- Fabric adhesive spray
- Walking foot, heavy duty needle, disappearing fabric marker

I freehand drew a narwhal on paper & cut it out.  My drawing skills are usually awful but I think I got this one right.  I always use a paper roll from Ikea kid's department for big patterns like this.  My paper curled a bit from being rolled after cutting it out, so I used my notions to flatten it:

I cut my one inch thick foam to the final rug size of 36in wide by 24in high (my fabric measurements allowed for the thickness of the foam).  I started the rug by cutting my front & back pieces.  Making sure the nap was going in the same direction on all pieces was key.  

One main front piece was 38in wide by 26 1/2in high. For the back I cut two pieces,  a 14in wide by 26 1/2 high and a 31in wide by 26 1/2in high.  I folded the narrow & wide back pieces two inches toward the wrong side, used spray adhesive to hold them in place, then stitched them down.

I decided how I wanted the narwhal to be placed on the rug and traced the paper pattern with a disappearing marker:

After cutting out my narwhal from grey minky, 

I traced on the face:

Then stitched on the eye & smile I'd cut from some dark grey fleece scraps:

I cut a second narwhal from my high loft batting, but trimmed an inch off around it so it would be encased when I sewed the appliqué on.  

I used fabric adhesive spray to attach my batting to the appliqué fabric on the wrong side so I could be sure to have the right placement & no shifting while sewing.  Then I sprayed the joined narwhals on the other side of the batting, stuck them in the outline on the rug front and topstitched.

Next I stitched the horn in place, leaving a one inch gap and then stuffed that with some polyfil using a chopstick and stitched the gap closed.  Less is more with stuffing or it will make the fabric underneath pucker a bit.

Time for the swirl!  I drew some angled lines for the horn's swirl effect:

And stitched over them using my walking foot since it was bulky:

To finish the rug I laid the smaller end of the back face down over the front, pinned the matching 3 sides and stitched:

Then I placed the wider back piece on, lining up its top, bottom and side with the front's, pinned & stitched.  This created the envelope overlap of a few inches for the back opening:

I turned it right side out and stuffed in my foam piece:

The rug has worked great.  It's soft underfoot, adds some fun decoration to the room and washes great.  I'm not 100% in love with the angle of the horn though.  I thought it would fit better on the fabric tipped a bit higher than I originally drew it, but now I wish I'd left it alone...but since it sewed up easily, I could always pull it off the foam and make another if the perfectionist in me can't live with it.  I'm also debating adding a few more details to it, but for now, we're enjoying this special guy with our special guy.


  1. The rug is awesome, so is the tutorial, but your MODEL is so peaceful and cute.

    1. Thank you so much. We've really been blessed with an easy baby this time around!

  2. Hi Cheryl,
    Oh my, look at that baby laying on that soft plush rug. I just want to pick him up!! There'd be no need for a rug if I were around . . . but since I'm not, this looks fabulous. Thank you for the tutorial. You make it sound so easy to make this.
    Happy Tuesday! ~smile~ Roseanne

    1. I just saw this Roseanne and it made me smile! It's surprising simple to make - definitely need to do some more (but he spends most of his time getting cuddled by us or his besotted big brothers & sister!).

  3. Goofy little narwhal. So very cute!

    1. Narwhals make everyone happy. Thanks Sally:)

  4. This is so precious! Love that it can be used for so many different things and that it's machine washable!

    1. Many thanks & being washable and versatile makes it so handy. Doesn't hurt that it feels so comfy when standing on it too;)

  5. Brilliant, just brilliant. And that photo with the model - awhhh, it's just too lovely!
    This will be one of the features over at Handmade Monday when it goes live tomorrow :-)

    1. I saw the feature when you posted it Julie, but only just saw your comment (crazy Blogger is no longer notifying me about comments!). Thanks again for the sweet compliments.

  6. What an adorable rug and a great tutorial! Thanks so much for sharing at Linky Tuesday!


Getting your comments brightens my day. I'd love if you left one:)


Related Posts with Thumbnails