Jul 24

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Old to New: Taiko figurine

before after
don 01 web

don 03 web

The back of the figurine. The end of the starter is intentionally left visible.

Awhile ago, we had to replace an old-style fluorescent light starter in our bathroom. Niki mentioned that it looked a lot like the little Japanese drum character from the Taiko No Tatsujin rhythm games, as they’re both cylindrical with two “eyes” on one end. I kept the little starter, thinking I’d make it cute at some point, and then promptly forgot for many months until yesterday when it fell out of my craft closet.



Above: “Don” from Taiko No Tatsujin

It’s worth noting that at certain points in the game, Don’s eyes turn golden and sparkly, like the one in the centre here:


This was great, because it meant I wouldn’t have to paint the brass electrodes black.

This project was surprisingly quick and fun to do. I wonder where I can get a few more of these discarded starter plugs? :)


Click button below to see the tutorial.

don tut 01

First, I dove into my spectacular collection of felt scraps of dubious quality, and chose some colours to match Don’s colours. I didn’t end up using the red that I was going to use for an open mouth.


don tut 04

I traced the starter onto a piece of orange felt in order to make the inner part of the face. This orange felt is of unbelievably bad quality. Never buying cheap polyester felt again.


Anyway, I trimmed the orange circle to be slightly smaller than the surface of the starter plug, and traced a white piece of felt for the outside part of the face. Holding both pieces over the face, I used a pencil to mark where the two prongs are. Using very small scissors, I made two cuts in an “x” shape on each side of the face where the prongs/eyes should be, then popped them both over the prongs. It looked like this:

don tut 05

Then, I took some black thread and stitched on a mouth like the one in the game illustration. Then, white glue was applied to the underside of both orange and white pieces and put over the prongs.


Next, the entire body was lightly scraped with a craft knife to make sure things will stick properly. Marks were also made for where the limbs will be attached.

don tut 07

I debated how to make the legs, and failed miserably at first when I wrapped embroidery thread around a wire base. It just got very messy and embroidery thread is not my friend. Much simpler is using two Q-Tips/cotton swabs, trimmed short, with the paper stick part shaved down at an angle to help stick to the body later. I also dipped each of the cotton heads into white glue and let it dry. Roll the tips around between clean fingers when they’re about 80% dry to shape them.

don tut 08

The limbs were attached with hot glue. At first, the limbs were all parallel, which was boring. I pulled one of the front one off and re-attached it to be raised upward.

don tut 09

Felt body piece was held over the limbs and I guessed at where the limb holes should be. It worked out, and mistakes are easily hidden with the next layer anyway.

don tut 10

White body layer is sewn onto face, and also joined on the underside of the body. Both are done with blanket stitch.

don tut 11

Body process is repeated with the blue felt layer. Remember, the blue piece has to be slightly longer than the white one to accommodate for increased thickness!

don tut 13 web

Blue piece is then joined at the bottom of the body with blanket stitch.


And that’s it! Admire your work!

don 02 web



Permanent link to this article: http://project-aika.com/2014/07/old-to-new-taiko-figurine/

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