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Unread 11-27-2012, 12:28 PM   #5
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Based on Google Image search, they did make a commercial Strawberry Bell toy. It looks pretty good, so if you can find one that doesn't cost an arm an a leg, that might be the best way to go.

To make one, I'd sew a plush tube (fuzzy fabric + polyester fiberfil) with a twisted up brass coathanger wire going through the center. You might need to hangers. You twist them by locking one end in a vise, and twisting them with pliers until they form a nice double helix. Use a file to round the ends of the wires, and then wrap them with a couple twists of electrical tape.

For the bell, ideally, use a real brass bell. Particularly at Christmas time, you can find them in craft stores.

For the gem, you might be able to find something of the right shape and color in the beading section of the craft store. It might be a little small. Alternatively, you can cast it using casting-craft resin. For this you need to sculpt the gem from clay, then make a mold by brushing on liquid latex, reinforcing the mold with something like air-dry clay or plaster bandage, and then pouring the resin, optionally tinted pink. A third choice is to grind one out of a piece of acrylic plastic (aka plexiglass). A Dremel rotary tool helps to rough out the shape. You need sandpaper going all the way up to 2000 grit to make the surface shiney again. Paint the clear plastic with translucent paint, or permanent marker (diluted with a bit of isopropyl alcohol if the marker is too opaque). Sculpey and Fimo both sell "transparent" clays. They're a bit cloudy, but could work for this too.

For the bow and crown thingy, you can carve it from a block of basswood (available at the hobby store) or you can sculpt it from Polymer clay (sculpey). With wood, sand the surface smooth, seal the pores of the wood with sanding-sealer or gesso (multiple coats). Optionally, paint it with a red primer (red is a recommended basecoat when painting things gold) Paint the bow gold with either spray-paint or rub-n-buff. Paint the crown thing green. Give it a day to dry before mounting the heart & bell.

If you go with polymer clay, be careful how you mount the heart and bell to the bow; under too much stress, the clay will crack and tear. Maybe do something like terminate each end of the wire with loops, pre-drill holes in the sides of the bow piece, and use wood screws to screw the loops securely in place. Then pull the fabric up around the mount and tack it down with hot-glue or carefully applied super-glue (it ruins fuzzy fabric if applied in excess).
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