Friday, July 23, 2021

Friday Smiles: Adorable DIY Soot Sprites!

S'up, fam? Happy Friday!

To celebrate surviving another week, I have a new cute craft for you. Ready?


Even if you're not a huge Miyazaki fan, I bet you like Soot Sprites. They're small, they're cute, they go great with pastel stars... what's not to love?

You can see them in Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro.

So hey, let's make some!

These fluffy cuties are infinitely customizable, which makes them great for group crafts. Here's a batch from my Friday night group: 

I love all the different expressions, from curious to crabby to gleefully stealing things, ha. This isn't all of them, either; I'll show you more as we go!

Of course you could make easy Soot Sprites from pom-poms and googly-eyes, but our version is bigger and sturdier. Best of all, they fit PERFECTLY in the plastic cloches from Dollar Tree, which makes them look more like high-end collectibles.

In fact you can find most of what you need for these at Dollar Tree, let me show you:


From Dollar Tree:

- Plastic Cloche
- Styrofoam Balls
- Something for eyes: Pearl buttons, googly eyes, clay, painted beans, you get the idea
- Moss Rocks (not pictured, comes in packs of 4)
- Tiny flowers/gems for decorations

From Somewhere Else:

- Black craft wire, easy to bend
- Black yarn, preferably made with natural fiber like wool
- star beads (optional)

You'll also need hot glue and matte black craft paint.

First things first, cut two wire legs and jam them in your Styrofoam ball:

Hot glue those in place, and you've got a handy handle for painting:

Pounce on your black paint from all different directions to get in all the nooks and crannies. Don't overload it with paint, though, or it'll take forever to dry. (Guess how I know.) Don't sweat it if you still see little specks of white; we'll be coating this with fuzz next.

And where do we get the fuzz? Well, you could brush a black cat... (not gonna lie, I was tempted), OR, for a more hygienic approach, pull apart your yarn into fuzzy clumps:

The yarn we used was a blend of wool and acrylic, so I had to painstakingly separate the two in order to get this nice fluffy fiber. It took forever, so try to find a better yarn than we did, k?

At this point I got distracted chatting with friends and forgot to take a photo, but pounce white craft glue all over your sprite ball, then carefully wrap/tap the fuzzy fiber around it. Be sparing; you don't need much. And be careful not to touch the glue, or your hands will end up a sticky fuzzy mess.

Oh, and hot glue the arms before adding the fuzz.  Just easier that way.

Keep tapping down the fiber, and you'll end up with something like this. If your friends are anything like mine, you'll also have plenty of "fuzzy ball" jokes to share/inflict on each other.

Ah, but where did that grassy base come from?

That's one of the moss rocks from Dollar Tree, which make perfect little grassy knolls:

One pack of 4 will cover at least 6 sprite domes: just cut the 2 largest sizes in half, like I did here.

Hot glue the hillside to your base, jam your sprite's legs into the foam, and, aww, who wants a hug?

Err on the side of long arms; you can trim them later.

Hot-glue the eyeballs in place (most of ours I made with clay), and now it's time to accessorize.

Fabulous, dahling

As luck would have it I had pastel star beads in my stash, purchased years ago for my candy shaker charms:

Remember these?

Took some finagling, but I strung the star beads on a thinner wire, then hot-glued them to the sprite's "hands":

Keep testing the fit inside your dome; there's not much elbow room in there!

Final step is to decorate the base with gems, tiny flowers, stars, etc.

Here's another batch from my craft group:

Karen painted her eyes on the right to be smiley squints, so cute! We ran out of moss rocks, so her base is insulation foam covered with actual moss.

I like her piles of stars, too.

Greg's sprite makes me laugh every time, but, LANGUAGE WARNING.

Scroll quickly past this next photo if curse words aren't your thing.

It looks so worried and matter-of-fact, bahaha. Just a total Mood right here.

On the opposite end of the spectrum we have John's Disco Sprite:

John made the tile floor out of craft foam and silver Rub n' Buff, then doused his sprite in glitter. It is SO SPARKLY, I'll put a video in my Story today so you can see.

Then the cherry on top:

John glued a tinfoil disco ball to the dome itself. 

Not the best pics since these were all taken at night, but let's take a closer look at the first batch of sprites:

Luis made a big ball of stars for his sprite to hold up:

You can almost hear it going, "OooOOOOoooooh."

Robin made an Instagram sprite, complete with tiny foam camera:

Then Bianca's is straight stealing someone's jewelry, haha:

Arielle made her's adorably irate, with comic strip style swears:

Angry eyes!

And finally my second sprite is channeling my inner 7-year-old:


I do like my first sprite best for sheer cuteness, though:

Together these two feel like a meme:

"We all have THAT ONE friend."

I hope these sprites spread a little sooty cheer to your Friday, and maybe gave you a new project idea for the weekend! This is another DIY I highly recommend doing in groups, both since the materials mostly come in packs, and because it's extra fun seeing what everyone comes up with.

May you have a delicious, exhilarating, restful weekend, gang. Love y'all.


Oh! Speaking of restful, I've been meaning to link this for a while now:

See this weird looking gizmo? It's a shoulder massager, and since I bought one over a month ago every friend who's tried it has turned into a puddle of goo and refused to move 'til it shut off, ha. You know all our Disney puppeteer friends? People using and wrecking muscles most of us don't even know we have? Yeah, those folks are LOVING it, I've already bought two more as gifts. This can actually bruise if you're not careful; it's got serious power for even rock-hard knots, and with a little contorting you can reach your entire back. (I hold it diagonally to get below the shoulder blades.)

I'm one of those weirdos who doesn't like massages, which is why I bought this: my hand numbness (caused by tight neck/shoulder muscles) was getting out of control, and I didn't want the expense or awkwardness of regular trips to a massage therapist. For only $35 I figured it was worth a try, and the first time I used it - just 3 days after a "real" massage - I knew I was never going back. When I remember to use it every night - and combined with some stretching - it definitely helps keep the numbness at bay. So hey, if you're in a similar boat, or just looking for a nice at-home massage without the awkward, give this a try!


  1. 1. Those are adorable, and I really want to come to your house to make crafts!

    2. Thanks for the link to the massager--I was able to get it as a lightning deal just now! My husband has tons of back problems, so it's definitely worth a try.

    1. Oh sweet! Let me know how he likes it, I hope it helps. <3

    2. So far so good!!

  2. I just saw that massager on a YouTube video last night! I think the universe is trying to tell mee to buy it.
    LOVE the soot sooooo much!

  3. Everything about this post is awesome, from the Ghibli soot sprite to the massager. I'm really super uncomfortable with strangers touching me, so I will definitely be giving that massager a try. Plus, your Dollar Tree must be way more amazing than any I've stepped into. Hopefully I can cobble together what I need, because I really want an army of cursing soot sprites.

    1. Re: Dollar Tree, John brought me to a different store across town and they had EVERYTHING, all the stuff my local store never stocks, like those plastic cloches, the ceramic whale planters, & all the storage bins and shelving my little heart could desire. :D So if your store is one of the bare ones, try the next closest locations; apparently it can really vary.

    2. Also I reeeeeally want to see your cursing soot sprite army when it's done, please and thank you. :D

  4. If you keep your wrists straight while you sleep, it helps with the numbness. It took me a little longer to fall asleep the first few nights, but then I got used to the slightly new positions, and I no longer wake during the night due to my hands/arms going numb.

    1. Good tip! I remember discovering this back before I switched to an ergonomic keyboard; I was getting carpal tunnel pains & sleeping with my wrists all scrunched up, which made it so much worse. I even wore wrist braces for a while to sleep in - and they definitely helped.

      My issue now is called thoracic outlet syndrome: basically the muscles in my neck & collarbone are so tight they constrict the nerves and cause arm/hand numbness. It's strange to be able to poke myself in the neck and get the feeling in my fingers to come back, but reassuring to know that's the cause, at least. :p

  5. This craft project is ADORBS and so fun!

  6. I love the FARTS one! And also the cursing one. Oh, let's be honest, they're all adorable!! Thanks so much for sharing.

  7. I not only love your crafts (these are SO cute!) but that you post PICTURES of your supplies, and where to get them (loving the Dollar Tree vibe). That just makes shopping for all the bits easier, and what to look for instead if my store doesn't have what I need. I wish I had a group of people to craft with. Actually, I wish I could be part of YOUR craft group, but then, don't we all?

  8. I've just bought some Ghibli stuff to jazz up our bathroom (am 55yo going on 10) and I reckon a soot srite or 2 would top it off!

  9. I know that my Dollar Tree doesn't have mossy rocks, but there is every size and shape of floral foam and 3 kinds of moss. I also know that EVERY TIME you show a craft that you can make from Dollar Tree items, my dollar tree sells out of them, so good bye plastic cloches.

    1. Mine too. I'm trying to decide if I want to run around to all the ones in my area or just order a case of 24 from Dollar Tree's website. Probably going with the case as I'm planning a crafting day with friends and we'll figure something out for the extras.

  10. These are too cute! And oooooh, thanks for the massager recommendation. I'm basically a mass of rock-hard knots in a skin suit, so I look for any help I can get. :)

  11. I have a massager like that one and love it! I also have one without the arm holders that has taken years of knots out of my lower back. BEST THINGS EVER!!!

  12. In the "group shot" with the unsafe language sproot (that's the right contraction of Soot Sprite, right?) it almost looks like that one is holding up a tiny boom box and looking up. I was getting serious Lloyd Dobler vibes...just needs a little trench coat.

  13. I love this craft! I bet my 8 & 6 year old would too.

  14. Thank you so much for the massager recommendation! I'm always trying different things to try to help with those same issues and that thing is *amazing*. I've since recommended it to another artist friend and she also says thank you, it's AMAZING, A+


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