Testing techniques and methods for mite-making

Today we are testing the sewing and making methods in preparation for next week’s workshop when the children will be making mites and the game mat.

Each small (larvae) mite will have 6 legs, whilst the nymph, adult and pregnant female all have 8. Pipecleaners sewn on with yarn work well, and beads make great texture on their backs. yarn pulled through with a machine needle or run hook makes the fine ‘feelers’.

Feelerson mite

Hooked yarn ‘feelers’


Attaching the pipe cleaner legs

Competed mite

An example mite

Hours and hours spent editing drawings in Photoshop

the 50+ children’s drawings were scanned in and I have just completed editing them. Because they were pencil it’s been necessary to thicken and darken the lines and enhance the colours. They were on white backgrounds, so I have added pattern fills behind them so that the beam bags will be COLOURFUL. Yey! The children drew on A4 paper, but the drawings are to be digitally printed on cotton to be made into bean bags of a specific size, so re-sizing and some editing was needed. Despite being asked to put their name and on the front, not all have them. It may be tricky finding the owners.

I’m using PrintmePretty for the printing as our digi printer at University is busy at this time of year. A metre and a half will be enough for the 50+ beanbag outers, and I will have another length printed for display  when the animation is shown.


Lying on the floor is an Invitation for the dog to play

We have just spent a giggling 5minutes with me lying on the floor whilst Ross drew around my silhouette as a pattern for the person mat. 

Unfortunately Pepper thought it was a game. Only a few rips in the pattern paper resulted. Now it’s folded in half up the centre line and the outline firmed up.

Pattern and dog

The pattern with dog

Hand outline in paper

Close up of the hand

I luckily have two large curtains that are now spare, so those will make perfect backings for the mats. If they work OK  I may not make the vinyl mat  cloth is easier to fold away and transport.

Off to buy the felt tomorrow from good old Fabricland. £3.95 a metre, very good value.

Update: after all that, I’ve decided the ‘person’ is too complicated, and have reverted to a plain mat that the children will add mites in different sizes that will represent different scores in the bean bag game.

Testing out cool-melt glue-gun on vinyl tiles

Yes this seems to work. So I have taken the plunge and ordered two and a load of glue sticks for the workshop in two weeks time. I don’t think they get hot enough to hurt anyone, and the glue adheres really well, (and to me unfortunately). Whilst the fabric mat can be stuck with fabric glue, the glue guns will make the vinyl mat far easier to manage.

Fabric mites on mat

Trial mat

I will post a link to the instructions for making the legs once I have written them up.


Half the mites are stuffed – but not seamed up yet

My thumbs ache after stuffing the mites this afternoon. They can wait and be sewn up later on; stuffing them will allow the seams to ease a bit and take a better shape over time.  I used about 25% of the stuffing – and there are another 26-27 to go still that Stef is making. It will be lovely to see more fabric patterns – I am bored with mine already.

The more colours the better!

Stuffing and mite cut outs

Stuffing the mites – its amazing how much stuffing is needed.

I’ve checked out using a sewing machine to closeone of the pale pink ones in the picture, the other is hand closed. Machine stitching with a short stitch and narrow zig zag works fine.

pile of stuffed mites

All done and up to date


Cutting out scabies mites

mite patterns

Scabies mites patterns x 4

The patterns are in a series of sizes so that the finished mites can be arranged and stories told in ‘families’. Drawn up in Ilustrator, they have been saved as pdf files, and if printed as ‘ actual size’ setting, they can be used as patterns.


Cutting them out of ‘spare’ fabric and offcuts from my personal fabric stash saved on material costs, and is also a better sustainable option.

cutting out patterns



Designing the games mats

Its been great fun designing the mats.

The format for making the mats is as follows; there are two classes of 26 children each and they will swap half way throught the workshop. So each class will work for approximately 40 minutes on the mats. To make it easier for everyone to contribute, I have decided two mats will be necessary, although thats still 13 making each mat. Each group will have an adult helper.

When they swap, the new class will take over and complete the mats.

There are 53 children who will eventually play the games, albeit in shifts as there is also a free-standing bean bag game to play. When I started to think a bit more about how the mats will be used, I thought 4 mats would be ideal, but I can’t see that we would get 4 mats made in the time, and material costs are an issue here, so its going to be 2!

My son Ben came up with the suggestion that a person shape would be great, so that the bean bags score highest when thrown where it is most likely to find scabies on an elderly person’s body. We thought about just using colours, but felt this might be to complex to play with a large group, so have opted for colours and numbers.

Scabies game mat

The ‘person’ shaped mat


Scabies game mat 2

The square mat

The square mat is based on vinyl samples donated by Tapis, a local carpet shop. The 6 squares will be decorated (and transported) separately and put together so that the green, high scores are in the middle.

I just hope PVA glue works on vinyl – must test this out!


Workshop One, 28th March 2018

This workshop, held at Coldean Primary School introduced the children to scabies in an accessible manner.

A short visual presentation in the hall to all the children was followed by them drawing pictures of scabies mites, and anything else they remembered from the presentation. They were encouraged to make their drawings as colourful as possible, because these drawings will be transferred to fabric as digital prints from which they will make bean bags. I am planning to use PrintmePretty.co.uk to print the fabrics as our digital printer at University is in constant use at the moment printing lengths for the final year undergraduates.

children sitting down

Stef giving thechildren some information about scabies

close up of children listening

The children had lots of questions

They had the opportunity to try on the ‘experiential garment’ designed and made by Vikki that makes the wearer itch.


children in garment

Trying on the experiential garment

child with drawing

A lovely piece of work

children drawing

Creating the drawings was hard work, but fun

girl with drawing

It was great to see the drawings develop