I’m a big fan of Hayao Miyazaki’s animations, especially My Neighbour Totoro. I remember when I was younger and a little less composed, I would gasp and squeal at the sight of this fat, fluffy, grey bundle of joy in every toy store. Totoro has been around since 1988 and is truly an unrivaled movie of its genre that reflects childhood innocence and genuine happiness.
I really enjoyed making this card and even had the Totoro soundtrack playing in the background during the whole card-making process!
Tonari no to-toro, to-toro ♪ To-toro, to-toro ♪
“DIY Totoro Stitch Card”
Tools & Materials
A 10cmx15xm blank card, colour of your choice (black recommended)
Pencil, ruler & eraser
Embroidery thread – white, grey, and green
Step 01 – Sketching
On the back of the card, sketch Totoro using a pencil. As a rough guide, it’s easier to start off with the round tummy, then paws and ears, and finally the leaf umbrella.
Alternatively, you may download the printable template here (right click and save image as).
For black / dark-coloured cards – Totoro Sketch (white outline)
For white / light-coloured cards – Totoro Sketch (black outline)
Step 02 – Etching
Using a needle, carefully poke holes along your sketch outline against a pair of old jeans or thick fabric. This will form a dotted outline of Totoro on the front card to guide your stitching.
Step 03 – Threading
Secure a tight knot using embroidery thread. You might need to tie around the knot several times so that it won’t slip through the holes of the card. Starting from the back (where the sketch is), weave onto the front card randomly in a criss-cross manner to fill the Totoro shape.
On the back card, weave along (not across) the sketch outline to create a Totoro silhouette. Alternatively you can repeat the criss-cross pattern. When you run out of thread, end the knot at the back card the same way you started – tie around the knot several times so that it won’t slip through.
Step 04 – Repeat
Repeat the stitching process until the Totoro and leaf shapes are clearly visible on the front card.
Behind the scenes.
Thread colour guide
Totoro body – Grey
Totoro belly – White
Leaf umbrella – Leafy green + lighter shade of green (optional)
☑ When using the needle to poke holes on the card, wear a thimble or wrap your finger with a thin cloth.
☑ Try to poke holes with equal spacing for a neater look.
☑ Make sure all threads knots begin and end at the back of the card.
☑ Secure your thread knots tightly and ensure that they cannot slip through the holes on the card. This can be done by tying around the same knot multiple times.
- Although I had initially sketched out the tiny boomerang shapes on Totoro’s belly (one of his trademarks), I didn’t end up stitching them. I changed my mind because 1) it wouldn’t have been visible against the white criss-cross pattern, and 2) it would’ve made the design look messy. Therefore if you’re sketching Totoro by hand, you don’t need to draw a ^^^ pattern on his belly. The printable template does not include this either.
- If you’re completely clueless as to how to draw Totoro but insist on trying anyway (I like you), do check out this tutorial as a basic guide! It teaches you how to draw a full-scale Totoro, however you can skip the details since you just need to sketch out a rough silhouette.
I hope the this tutorial was useful!
On another note, I have some exciting news to share ( ˘ ³˘)♡ My handmade Ice Cream Stitch Card will be featured in a UK craft magazine next summer (March 2015)! So thankful for this opportunity. This mini project has led to many new experiences for the past 2 weeks – I basically had to create a new tutorial and shoot high-resolution images using a DSLR. I also had a lot of fun dabbling with Photoshop and Illustrator which was initially daunting but very addictive nevertheless.
I have since then decided to create a Stitch Card collection, which will feature different illustrations based on things I like and my daily musings. Each post will include step-by-step tutorials as well as free printable card templates for you to work on! Do stay tuned for more ♫꒰･‿･๑꒱
*For those who have read my previous Ice Cream tutorial, I have added a printable card template, digitally drawn with love (and Illustrator) so if you’re not up for sketching, you can always print out the design to work on directly!
Have a great weekend ahead ♡