Hello Kawaii JapanLovers!
Our resident Kawaii Illustratior Little Miss Paintbrush has prepared this easy & fun tutorial for all My Neighbor Totoro & Spirited Away fans!
A pair of googly eyes + ball of black yarn =
What is a Soot Sprite?
Susuwatari (Japanese ススワタリ; “wandering soot”), also called Makkuro kurosuke (真っ黒黒助; “pitch-black assistant”), is the name of a fictitious yōkai which was devised by Hayao Miyazaki, drawn by Ghibli studios and known from the famous anime-productions My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away where, in the former, they are identified as “black soots” in early subtitles and “soot sprites” or gremlins in the later English dubbed version. (source)
- 2-3 inches circle-shaped object that you can trace around
- Scissors (and a cutter knife, not pictured)
- Wide-eyed needle
- Googly eyes
- Black knitting yarn
- Hot Glue/Glue gun and glue stick (not pictured)
1. Trace a circle on the cardboard using a round object (I used a lens cap ^^) and a pencil. You will need two (2) circles.
2. Cut the 2 circle shapes with your scissors.
3. Draw another circle inside the 2 circles. If you want your soot sprite to be fluffier, make the inner circles a little bit bigger.
4. Cut out the smaller circle with a cutter knife. This will leave you with two donut-shaped cardboard cut-outs.
5. Put the two donut-shapes on top of each other.
6. Thread the wide-eyed needle with the knitting yarn. If you are having a hard time threading, put a small piece of scotch tape around the end of the yarn before putting it through the needle’s eye.
7. Cut the yarn at 4 feet.
8. Tie the non-needle end of the yarn through the 2 donut shapes and secure with a knot.
9. Start weaving in, through, and out of the donut shapes with your needle and yarn.
10. Keep on doing this until you can’t push the needle through the donut hole.
11. Cut away the excess yarn.
12. Slightly part the weaved yarn on the donut hole until you can see the cardboard beneath.
13. With the donut’s edge facing towards you, Put one blade of the scissors in between the two donuts.
14. Start cutting the yarn that is on the gap between the two donuts.
15. When you have finished cutting the yarn all the way around the donuts, you now have a bundle of yarn pieces held together by the 2 donut shapes.
16. Cut another new piece of yarn around 8 inches in length.
17. Secure the new piece of yarn between the two donuts.
18. Tie a tight knot around the bundle of yarn between the two donuts. It is essential that you tie it very tightly so the yarn bundle won’t fall apart after the donut-shaped cardboard pieces are removed!
19. Carefully cut the donut shapes away from the bundle of yarn pieces.
20. Now you have what we call a small “pom pom”! It’s the basic shape of soot sprites. :3 But it still looks weird, so we need to “groom” it. ^^ (Note: There are other ways to make yarn pom poms, but the donut method is the one that is familiar to me ^^)
21. Trim the yarn strands that are poking out of the pom pom. DO NOT cut the excess yarn that you used to tie the bundle together. It is obviously the longest yarn on your pompom, so it won’t be hard to recognize it and keep it from getting cut.
22. Keep trimming until you get an even, fluffy, round shape. ^^
23. Tada~ Now you have a fluffy little pom pom soot sprite!.. But it’s still missing some eyes..
24. So let’s take out the googly eyes! ^^ <3
25. Put the googly eyes on the pom pom with a bit of hot glue. (Careful! ^^)
26. Tie a knot with the excess yarn that you avoided to cut in the “grooming” part. ^^ Place the knot at around 1 inch above the pom pom. This will make it easy for you to hang it anywhere you wish. :3
27. Tadaa~ your soot sprite is ready!
Don’t forget to share to us your own fluffy soot sprites! We’d love to see your fuzzy work!