written by:
June 28, 2011

You’d be hard pressed to find someone—in this or any other galaxy, no matter how far, far away—who is not a fan of Star Wars, and the insta-classic from 1977 is now a franchise that clearly needs no introduction. Bonnie Burton is an aficionado of the highest order and, as a lucky Lucasfilm employee, keeper of the StarWars.com kids section. Since 2004, she’s been posting regular craft projects bringing beloved characters—and Jar Jar Binks—to googly-eyed life, and recently released The Star Wars Craft Book, the very first published collection of Star-Wars-themed how-tos.

Here's the little guy, all finished.
Here's the little guy, all finished.
1 / 21
Materials! Here's what you'll need to make it happen:<br /><ul>
<li>• 1/3 yard green fabric. I used a light cotton twill, but Bonnie used fleece in the book. Anything goes!</li><br />
<li>• 1/4 yard tan fabric</li><br />
<li>• Orange, black
Materials! Here's what you'll need to make it happen: • 1/3 yard green fabric. I used a light cotton twill, but Bonnie used fleece in the book. Anything goes! • 1/4 yard tan fabric • Orange, black, and tan felt. I bought a square of each, but you don't use much! • Embroidery floss in green, black, orange, and tan • Scissors • Straight pins • Chalk or white charcoal pencil (optional) • Sewing machine (optional)
2 / 21
Fold the green fabric in half, width-wise, and draw out your Jabba shape in chalk.
Fold the green fabric in half, width-wise, and draw out your Jabba shape in chalk.
3 / 21
Cut out Jabba (you'll have two identical pieces of fabric).
Cut out Jabba (you'll have two identical pieces of fabric).
4 / 21
Lay the tan fabric on top of the green, and cut out a piece that will be Jabba's face and belly. It doesn't have to be perfect! You can freehand this part, or draw your shape with chalk and then cut it out. Pin this to one layer of the green fabric.
Lay the tan fabric on top of the green, and cut out a piece that will be Jabba's face and belly. It doesn't have to be perfect! You can freehand this part, or draw your shape with chalk and then cut it out. Pin this to one layer of the green fabric.
5 / 21
Sew the tan fabric onto one of the green pieces. I tucked a teensy bit under for a little hem and used a sewing machine, but you could just as easily hand stitch this part.
Sew the tan fabric onto one of the green pieces. I tucked a teensy bit under for a little hem and used a sewing machine, but you could just as easily hand stitch this part.
6 / 21
Close up of the sewing machine stitches.
Close up of the sewing machine stitches.
7 / 21
Jabba's facial features are pretty straightforward. You'll need: four tan half-circles for his eyelids; two black almonds for his pupils; two orange circles for his eyes; two watermelon seed shapes for his nostrils; and a mouth. (I cut this mouth out but
Jabba's facial features are pretty straightforward. You'll need: four tan half-circles for his eyelids; two black almonds for his pupils; two orange circles for his eyes; two watermelon seed shapes for his nostrils; and a mouth. (I cut this mouth out but I was doing this project in the backyard and it blew away, so eagle-eyed readers will notice he ends up with a different smirk)
8 / 21
Lay out his face the way you want it.
Lay out his face the way you want it.
9 / 21
Pin his features into place, then hand-stitch them on, matching the embroidery floss to the feature.
Pin his features into place, then hand-stitch them on, matching the embroidery floss to the feature.
10 / 21
Here's how my Jabba's eyes look up close.
Here's how my Jabba's eyes look up close.
11 / 21
And his funny face.
And his funny face.
12 / 21
Pin the right sides of the two green pieces together (Jabba's face will be on the inside). Once they're secure, sew around the outside edge, leaving a few inches open and un-stitched. When you've finished, turn Jabba inside out. At this point he's a pillo
Pin the right sides of the two green pieces together (Jabba's face will be on the inside). Once they're secure, sew around the outside edge, leaving a few inches open and un-stitched. When you've finished, turn Jabba inside out. At this point he's a pillowcase.
13 / 21
Stuff Jabba through the small, unstitched hole you left.
Stuff Jabba through the small, unstitched hole you left.
14 / 21
When he feels the right fluffiness, stitch the opening up with the green embroidery thread.
When he feels the right fluffiness, stitch the opening up with the green embroidery thread.
15 / 21
I have to admit, arms were an afterthought for me. Were I doing this again, I'd cut them out, stuff them, then stick them in before step 12, so they'd be part of the seam. It still worked this way, though. Double up the green fabric, then draw, and cut ou
I have to admit, arms were an afterthought for me. Were I doing this again, I'd cut them out, stuff them, then stick them in before step 12, so they'd be part of the seam. It still worked this way, though. Double up the green fabric, then draw, and cut out, two little arms.
16 / 21
Stuff the arms, leaving some space and empty fabric up towards the open end.
Stuff the arms, leaving some space and empty fabric up towards the open end.
17 / 21
I hand stitched these on where the seam hit on the sides. Hahaha, lookit this guy! What a goof!
I hand stitched these on where the seam hit on the sides. Hahaha, lookit this guy! What a goof!
18 / 21
And here's Jabba, just chilling with his new pillow pals in his new home, my sofa. I have to admit, just looking at him makes me laugh, and he's actually a comfy addition to the living room scene.
And here's Jabba, just chilling with his new pillow pals in his new home, my sofa. I have to admit, just looking at him makes me laugh, and he's actually a comfy addition to the living room scene.
19 / 21
Here's Bonnie proudly posing with her Acklay head and Jabba the Hutt body pillow.
Here's Bonnie proudly posing with her Acklay head and Jabba the Hutt body pillow.
20 / 21
And the book! Guaranteed good times inside!
And the book! Guaranteed good times inside!
21 / 21
Here's the little guy, all finished.
Here's the little guy, all finished.

I actually fell into Star Wars by default. My older brother is, and always has been, a massive, huge, gigantic Star Wars devotee (who also now works at Lucasfilm). We spent many a youthful family vacation trolling antique stores for original action figures, he spent many an evening watching the movies, and, though I initially absorbed the series more than actively sought it out, I now see the obvious appeal.

And the book! Guaranteed good times inside!
And the book! Guaranteed good times inside!
After paging through Bonnie’s book (and much, much consideration), I settled upon sharing this plush Jabba the Hutt with you all. She envisioned it as a body pillow, so the step-by-step that follows is a bit modified, but you should absolutely check out the book for the original, as well as soon-to-be-classics such as the Admiral Sackbar paper bag puppet, holiday Mistle-TIE Fighter, and Han Solo in Soaponite.

Here's Bonnie proudly posing with her Acklay head and Jabba the Hutt body pillow.
Here's Bonnie proudly posing with her Acklay head and Jabba the Hutt body pillow.
I recently caught up with Bonnie—a woman whose love of all-things-geeky seems rivaled only by her love of making all-things-geeky—to talk finding common ground with Luke Skywalker, Ewok love, and the fruitful destiny of socks who’ve lost their mates.

 

You’re a font of geeky knowledge, but your adoration had to start somewhere. Can you remember your earliest brush with Star Wars?
I was a farm kid growing up in Kansas when I first saw Star Wars, at a drive-in double feature with Smokey and the Bandit (for the longest time I got the characters confused, thinking Burt Reynolds was Han Solo). I totally identified with Luke Skywalker, because he was also stuck on a farm. At home, I used to pretend that the combines in the distance were AT-ATs.
And when did you start to synthesize that with crafting?
I really like the aspect of creativity that was around during the 70s and 80s, whereas now that DIY sensibility is often overshadowed by gaming and more high-tech options. I try to tweak as many retro-type crafts as I can with a geeky twist, like painted rocks, or bean art, where literally you’re just gluing beans on a piece of board or wood to make a picture. I learned how to do that in 4H, and made a portrait of a poodle out of limas from a pattern. At that time, I think I would have rather made a portrait of Duran Duran.
Now that sounds like a good idea.
[Laughs] I may still do that. I should do a Simon Le Bon portrait. Simon Le Bean!
I think you just gave us a nice glimpse into how these projects come to be.
One day I was sitting in front of a pile of laundry—procrastinating—and thought, that sock looks just like Momaw Nadon (a “Hammerhead” from the Mos Eisley Cantina scene in A New Hope). His species is Ithorian, and they’ve got these weird shaped heads that already like the foot of a sock staring at you. Three or four hours later there were no clean clothes, but I had made a doll. We all lose socks, and, to me, if you lose one of a pair it means your other is destined to be a doll or a puppet. I mean, come on. Your sock sacrificed itself for years to keep your foot warm, and you can pay it back by giving it life.
Do folks need any particular skill sets to get going on the projects in your book?
I wanted the majority of the crafts be easy; if a kid can do them then anyone can do them. But there are some that are more challenging—like the R2D2 crochet beanie or Mounted Acklay Head—for experienced crafters.
Any controversial projects make the cut?
I’m really glad that the Jar Jar Binks mind trick doll got into the book. Jar Jar is like the Jerry Lewis of Star Wars—He’s got this slapstick goofiness that French people and small children like. People love him or hate him.
Which side are you on?
I don’t like the prequels Jar Jar but I love Clone Wars Jar Jar; our animated T.V. series won me over.
Good to know there’s hope for the haters.
Well, no matter what the franchise is, there’s always something that fans are going to dislike. When I was growing up, there were very few people who liked Ewoks. I was very pro-Ewok, and I still am. I think they’re great. And they’re deadlier than people give them credit for—Like really vicious teddy bears with spears. Lets face it, they weren’t keeping Han Solo over the fire to keep him warm. He was the equivalent of an Ewok Hot Pocket. They were going to eat him, if it wasn’t for C3PO.
What craft are you working on now?
A dog bed that looks like the Sarlacc Pit. It has all these weird soft spikes, with a little Boba Fett helmet in there too.
I hope Simon Le Bean is next.
It is. It definitely is. I’m such a sucker for a good pun.

Check out these beyond-fun galleries that Bonnie compiled of young Jedis having a blast with felt, glitter, and googly eyes, making Yoda at Maker Faire and paper bag puppets at WonderCon.

And click through to see the slideshow on how to make your very own Jabba the Hutt pillow!

 

Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

W House living room
Our best reader reactions this week.
April 29, 2016
Vineyard house illuminated at night
Rammed-earth construction fuses this Portuguese house to the environment.
April 29, 2016
vintage Scandinavian furniture Kathryn Tyler
In southwest England, interior designer Kathryn Tyler built her home around her ever-expanding furniture collection.
April 29, 2016
steel facade home Seattle
On the sandy shores of Fauntleroy Cove in Seattle, renowned firm Olson Kundig Architects crafts a subtle home with striking steel accents.
April 29, 2016
seperate piece renovated guesthouse eames storage unit cork floor tiles living room
An architect and an interior designer put the tools to the test for this impressive renovation.
April 29, 2016
Ceramics by WrenLab
Manhattan doesn’t get to have all the fun during NYCxDesign. Brooklyn is set for the return of BKLYN DESIGNS at the Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint from May 6-8, 2016. Here are just a few exhibitors we are excited to see this year.
April 29, 2016
n0a6974 dxo
Architect Diego Revollo refreshes an apartment with a standout kitchen.
April 29, 2016
img 8652 1
The city of San Francisco has been eagerly awaiting the reopening of SFMOMA for years—and as the May 14th opening approaches closer everyday, the anticipation continues to build for art enthusiasts both near and far. This morning, we were given the opportunity to explore the newly expanded space before the crowds roll in. After a series of speeches, remarks, and tours, we left the grounds feeling thoroughly inspired and excited to share what we discovered.
April 28, 2016
Renovation of 1967 Hamburg apartment with Vipp kitchen.
In our April issue, we showcased an apartment in Hamburg, Germany, with a striking, matte-black kitchen from Vipp. The 77-year-old company became famous for its iconic pedal trash can before venturing into kitchens and other tools for the home. This isn't the first time that the Danish company's products have graced our pages, and here we've gathered additional examples from our archive that show how the brand's minimalist black kitchens are always a win in modern interiors.
April 28, 2016
Zafra residence living room.
A man and his wife make an emotional return to an apartment building he loved as a kid.
April 28, 2016
the garden inside concrete dining pavilion indoor outdoor custom cabinets thermador dishwasher refrigerator
A skylit conservatory doubles as a verdant dining parlor in Sonoma County, California.
April 28, 2016
Details of the Calico collection.
Calico Wallpaper founders Nick and Rachel Cope showed us through their home in our March Issue, now step inside their studio.
April 28, 2016
william krisel pow 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
April 27, 2016
Dwell on Design and designjunction at ArtBeam
It's all part of Dwell on Design + designjunction's three-day event, featuring a program of talks chock-full of leading figures in design, architecture, urbanism, and beyond—coming up May 13-15 at ArtBeam in New York.
April 27, 2016
seattles mariners floating house prefab facade exterior fiber cement panels
A prefabricated floating home drops anchor in the Pacific Northwest.
April 27, 2016
royan treatment living room stone fireplace vintage new furnishings
French designer Florence Deau effortlessly mixes the old with the new.
April 27, 2016
modern netherlands 13 noordeinde schoolhouse parquet herringbone floors stove
Take a lesson from this school-turned-home.
April 27, 2016
The sidewalks of Copacabana in Rio De Janero, Brazil, designed by Roberto Burle Marx
The Jewish Museum in New York City takes it outside with a celebration of the Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx.
April 26, 2016
Waterfront home in Belvedere, California
A 1960s home infested with powderpost beetles had to be sacrificed before this this Zen-inspired house could happen.
April 26, 2016
dialogue house
At the base of Echo Mountain in Phoenix, a geometric home by Wendell Burnette opens up to the surrounding desert landscape.
April 26, 2016
street smarts kitchen full view
A creative couple transforms an old Toronto storefront in Dundas West into a home and studio.
April 26, 2016
hald strand
This architect thinks of everything for his summer escape, pizza oven included.
April 26, 2016
gans turin residence living room
Thanks to a contemporary interior that she’s been updating for a decade, modern architect Abigail Turin has learned to love her traditional 1925 San Francisco home.
April 25, 2016
131
Johannesburg-based design studio Counterspace was founded in 2014 by young architecture graduates Sumayya Vally, Sarah de Villiers, and Amina Kaskar. Their projects are collaborative, research-led investigations into possible futures and ideas of otherness in Johannesburg.
April 25, 2016
through living room
A second-story addition and a new indoor-outdoor focus revive a nondescript house in L.A.
April 25, 2016
Modern living room with Flexform sofa and Jens Fager candelabra
An Antwerp home blurs the boundaries between art and design.
April 25, 2016
hillside haven  1
This backyard is its own modern retreat in the Berkeley Hills.
April 25, 2016
Two studios flanks a central volume at this home in Mexico
Art and life meet in the middle at a family retreat in Central Mexico.
April 24, 2016
natural instinct swedish family home kitchen table unfold pendants muuto lilla aland chairs stolab
With Alvar Aalto in mind, a renowned Swedish architect crafts a serene home on a long-held family plot.
April 24, 2016
clearing the table coffee tables boxinbox philippe starck glas italia storage
A half-century later, furniture designers are catching up to painter Yves Klein’s visionary Table Bleue.
April 23, 2016