Sunday, September 1, 2013

Meowlnir, the Hammer of Thor

Object may not be actual size.
It's time for us to pull the curtain back a little. Our stripey little friend who has been so helpful through many of our projects (Computer Wrist Rests, Paper Holiday Wreath) is named Thor. Apparently he was an energetic little cuss who was "as fast as lightning" at the shelter and was affectionately nicknamed before we took custody of him. We liked him, kept the name, and Thor became a member of the family. (As an aside, a member of my gaming group/regular reader of the site adopted a Loki the same week. Total coincidence.) He enjoys throwing his toys, and it occurred to me: I have a Thor who hurls objects down the hallway. Get this cat a hammer of the gods! Meowlnir would be forged here in Midgard!

You'll Need:
  • Felt. I used a heather gray and a brown.
  • Pipe cleaners. Mine are brown, but technically any color works.
  • Polyfill stuffing
  • Needle and thread. I used a light silvery gray.
  • Fabric glue
  • Graph paper
  • Marking and cutting implements

I started by searching out some version of Mjolnir that folks have built for cosplay purposes to get a sense of scale. Going from some existing numbers (6" x 10" head on an 18" handle) I sketched out a 1:5 size hammer out of paper and taped it all together. Much too tiny. Bumping it up to 1:4 was the right size. After drawing out my template, I cut everything out and got my materials together.

1/4" seam allowance, drawn on standard American graph paper.
Tracing the bits onto my gray felt meant I I cut off everything with ink on it. Cut carefully with scissors and you should get what you need pretty easily. Trim the little interior corners in a bit with scissors, being careful not to cut too far in, and go ahead and mark your sewing lines as well. I cut a strip of cardboard 1/4" wide by maybe 3" long and traced it to find my seam lines on the inside. From here on out, I knew the edge of the Sharpie line was always my mark.

Cut off everything that doesn't look like a hammer.
I added some details so it wasn't just a rectangle with a handle. The ends of the hammer taper slightly to the striking ends, so I cut those two squares at 1-1/4" for the striking surfaces to step in slightly. Those were sewn on either end of the hammer, with the "cap" circle lined up in the center and stitched down. Make sure if there's any marker lines that they face the interior of the unit. With the details sewn on, it was time to make the hammer head.

This is pretty much my first stuffed anything, so I made some of it up as I went along. I folded the head along a 45 degree angle and pinned the edges together so that I could stitch down each edge confident that I wasn't building a rhombus or something. Each side got sewn down, and then the bottom was stitched on, one side at a time, pinning and stitching. Before I did something silly like sew it completely shut inside out, I paused and worked on the handle.

The handle is a doubled length of pipe cleaner with an "eye" left open at the bend. After twisting it together, I snipped it to length with wire clippers. Two quarter inch strips of felt a foot long made up my wrapping for the hilt. I borrowed the look from Blind Squirrel Props' Mjolnir. It took a bit of doing, figuring out which bits went over what, but in the end I had braided the felt down the length of the handle. I didn't bother doing the whole thing since an inch and a half was inside the hammer. I opened the end of the wire, pulled the ends of the felt through, and twisted it tight to hold them. Once the handle was made, it got stitched through both layers of the hammer, body and circular cap part. This keeps the handle from pulling through the single layer of felt on the top of the hammer.

With the handle attached, cut a small X in the center of the bottom of the hammer and turn everything inside out. Pull the handle through the X and stuff the hammer with a few pinches of polyfill, careful to pack it tightly but evenly. If you want to add catnip to the fluff to guarantee that you just made their favorite toy, you certainly can. I chose not to since I've seen the heartbreak of catnip addiction, but hey, maybe your cat can stop anytime s/he wants. Tuck the remaining seam allowance into the hammer, pin it into place, and carefully blindstitch the hole you turned through.

I was going to just dip the end of the handle in glue to hold everything together, but decided that something more was needed. Using some of the bits remaining from wrapping the handle, I looped one end up and over to the other side of the handle and wrapped a second strip around the loop. Satisfied everything would reach, everything got a healthy coat of glue and put into place. I wrapped the handle with some thread to keep the pieces in place while everything dried.

This is prior to the thread being applied. Note how it seems like it needs it.
Once everything is good and dry, carefully remove the thread from the glued handle and swing it around with sound effects. However you normally introduce a new toy, go about it. We took turns bopping him with a hammer to get his attention and then throwing it down the hallway. Sometimes, he'll even pose for photo.

Unamused Cat is... Well, you can see.
Let us know if your cat likes their own hammer of the gods, and feel free to suggest additional toys for us to build. Who knows, maybe he'll get an entire arsenal. Happy Labor Day, everyone!


  1. I have a great desire to make a Tesseract for Loki.

  2. Oh good Lord...I thought the hammer itself was awesome (I know a couple of cats that need these) but Derek, PLEASE, come back here with a link to your own Tesseract!!!! :)

  3. That has to be the coolest cat toy ever!!!

  4. Excellent and very cool idea and the subject at the top of magnificence and I am happy to this post..Interesting post! Thanks for writing it.

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