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Chenille Cat by Stephie McCarthy

Wiley Cat: A paint-on-fabric ornament

This spur-of-the-moment cat ornament I made many years ago never fails to make me smile when he comes out of the storage box in December. Now I’ve updated the project and made a pattern you can download here.

Wily Cat original

My original wily cat ornament of velveteen and paint still
looks great after all these years!

Wily cat can be dressed up for Christmas with bows or jewels and used as an ornament, stocking stuffer, or package topper. I like to sew a jump ring on the back for hanging on the Christmas tree.

Two tabbies

Two tabbies using gray fleece painted with regular and dimensional acrylic colors.

Watch me paint this project on YouTube on my original channel:

Wily Cat Video Button

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Materials List:
For each cat prepare two squares of fuzzy fabric without too much stretch: felt, velveteen, velour, or fleece—approximately 8x8  I like natural cat colors: browns, black, gray, peach, or white, but of course unique colors are fun
Matching thread
Acrylic craft paint, both regular and dimensional.
You can do this whole project with just two colors:
Black and White
But you can also use these other colors:
Pink for noses
Blue, green and yellow for eyes
Rusty orange for ginger tabby stripes
any color of the rainbow—if you like to improvise!
Thin marker pen
Blunt tool, like chopstick or large crochet hook for turning fabric
Palette and small paintbrushes
Bits of straw for whiskers (I got mine from a whisk broom). If you are worried about a choking hazard, paint the whiskers on as shown on the black cat’s eyebrows.
Ribbon or jewelry for optional decorations
Small jump ring


Print and cut out cat pattern on outside dotted line.
Put fabric squares right sides together, pinning pattern flat to one side. Outline shape with a marker pen, remove pattern, re-pin fabric together.
Make sure to mark the lines of the under arms so you will stitch around them properly.
Stitch from point A to point B along solid line, leaving small opening between legs.Cut cat from fabric using pen outline for a guideline.
With scissors, cut under arms as indicated by blue dotted lines.
Use scissors to snip all curved edges, as indicated by short green lines, for ease in turning.
Turn cat inside out and gently push the ears, hands, and legs into place using a blunt tool.
Insert stuffing into arms, ears, face, belly, and lastly, each leg, squeezing and shaping the figure into a plump, smooth shape.
Whip stitch the opening, folding raw edges to inside, adding a bit of stuffing if necessary before closing hole entirely.





Here’s the fun part, decorating the cat:

The colors are your choice. I tend to use natural colors, especially black and white. Practicing on scrap fabric is a good idea.
Let your paint dry as you go, before adding new colors. Using dry-ish paintbrush seems to work best on fuzzy fabric.

See a time-lapse video of me painting one of the cats on YouTube here.


Just a little acrylic paint brushed into the fabric forms cat details.


The ginger cat is brown, peach, and white paint on pink felt. Gray tabbies can have pink or black noses, blue, green, or yellow eyes.

When flat designs are dry, use a bit of dimensional paint to hold the whiskers in place. When dry, form cheeks, eyes, noses, and chins with dimensional paint. You can sculpt this a bit with a small paintbrush and a bit of water, blending the edges into the fabric. Let the dimensional paint set up until firm and then add more, each time sculpting it a bit with a small wet brush. When dimensional paint is dry, I like to go back and add more acrylic paint details like white "eye shadow", freckles, and eye details.

Don’t like the results? Let dry, and paint over it! Some of my cats have been painted several times until I was very happy with the results.

See me painting one of the cats on YouTube here.


Each one is different! The tuxedo cat has painted eye whiskers.


The black cat versions are fun for Halloween!

Halloween owls by Stephie McCarthy


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