Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dementors or Owls?

What do you call an owl with a sore throat?
A bird that doesn't give a hoot!

Thank you Laffy Taffy. 

Dara sent us an owl Pinstrosity she encountered while trying to decorate for her daughter's owl and pinwheel themed birthday party. Through the wonders of Pinterest she had found these adorable owls made with tissue paper, a Styrofoam ball and a little bit of felt. 

The Original Pin
tissue pom owls tutorial
Aren't those cute? Dara said, "I have made about a million tissue paper poms before so when I saw this pin, I figured it would be no problem." 

The Pinstrosity
 That was about as far as Dara got. She told us that "[her] husband pointed out that they kind of look like dementors (from Harry Potter)." They decided not to use these for the party in the end.

Don't know what a Dementor looks like? 
NECA Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Series 2 Action Figure Dementor
Now you do. 

Dara explained what she thought the problem was: "I think it was the dimensions in the pin that were all off, because clearly that head is way too big!  And they were supposed to be mini, but they were huge!" So I decided to start by taking a look at the dimensions and then we could expand from there if needed.

My first initial query with her owls was if adding the finishing touches (mostly the face) would help turn the Dementors into owls. So I opened up my photo editing program, cut the eyes out off of the original owl picture and stuck them on Dara's owl. 

Looks slightly more like an owl...but not enough to solve the issue. So then I took a look at the dimensions issue that Dara mentioned. 

 I opened up the tutorial on Little Sprout Creations and scoured the process. In all fairness to Little Sprout Creations, they don't actually tote these as being mini...that was probably a caption that someone added when they pinned this project on Pinterest. They list a 5" Styrofoam ball as one of the supplies, so you know there that these are going to be decent sized little buddies. So there's the mini myth debunked. 

So then what about the head to body ratio? That's a 5 inch head for 20" of fluffed "feathers" for the body. Granted, the 20" of feathers are not going to be sticking straight out. Little Sprout Creations says to "Squish it together to make it more oblong, and less round.  You’re aiming for an owl-like body shape." So let's say you turn the body into a're going to have roughly a 6" diameter sphere of tissue paper (there you answer to the math student's "When am I ever going to use this in real life?" question. Using the length of the tissue paper to calculate how big of a ball it would roughly make. Math in a craft post...who knew?). Now I know you squish the tissue ball into an oblong shape, but for simplicity, let's just work with that ratio of a 5" head and a 6" body. Is that just too big? Let's take a look at an actual owl

File:Athene noctua (cropped).jpg
That guys head is wider than his body! And his body is only about one and a half times longer than his head. So...owls heads are large compared to their body. What would these proportions look like on a human? 

Wow...glad I'm not an owl so I don't have to look like that every day. owl heads are big. So my next thought was that maybe Dara's owl's bodies were a little big for their heads. So I tweaked Dara's picture again to see how that would look. 

Much more like an owl! If you then just mold the tissue paper body more down rather than sticking out I think you've got yourself a tissue pom owl! 

So with making these, if the head just seems too small trim up the body feathers until they are more the right size (or go buy a larger Styrofoam ball...but trimming the feathers will be quicker and easier). Then, shape the body first into a ball shape, and then squish it a little so it is a little taller than it is wide. These two things will help to ensure that you have little owls at your part and soul sucking Dementors. 

Well...I guess this is it so "owl" be seeing you later. 


  1. I think the other thing too is most owls don't have a round head. I think even with all your tweaking it still just looks like a bird to me. Perhaps flattening the top of the head a bit? I think that would be the final tweak to really make the little guys look like owls. Cute idea for a project otherwise. :)

  2. The ear tufts in the original also go a long way in creating a more owl-like look.

  3. I don't think she was so far off--just trim down the bodies and add the "ears", and they'd pretty much look like the original post. Not very "-strosity", really.

  4. It's the neck- owls don't have necks. Look at the original pin and you'll see that the first owl has the "feathers" essentially touching its head, the second one doesn't, and it looks less owl-like.

  5. They are cute little guys either way. I thought they were little pinatas, that would be fun! Except with stryofoam heads you can't fill them with candy :(

    1. You could make papier-mache heads. Use small balloons or something. Mini pinatas would be awesome!


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