A man 3D-printed 24 tiny hats for his backyard squirrels and now spends afternoons photographing the furry friends

Tiny hat squirrel
spent quarantine designing 3D-printed hats for his neighborhood squirrels. Sham Othman
  • While working from home, Sham Othman befriended two backyard squirrels: Sandy and Ms. Winky.
  • For fun, he plopped a tiny hat from a children’s toy on one of the squirrels and snapped a picture.
  • He then 3D-printed a series of miniature accessories for his backyard squirrels to wear.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Squirrels have seemed to live their best lives while humans have spent more time in their homes and backyards in the past year.

Some squirrels seemingly got after eating fermented pears, and one person made elaborate mini picnic tables for squirrels.

The fun continued in Washington state-based Hisham “Sham” Othman’s backyard, where his neighborhood squirrels play dress-up with a slew of tiny hats.

Quarantine left Othman searching for fun

Bike
Ms. Winky wears a bright blue bicycle hat. Sham Othman

Othman, a dad of two, told Insider that he first began to befriend squirrels in his backyard in 2019.

Over the course of a few months, some squirrels grew comfortable around him. One squirrel that he nicknamed Sandy seemed to grow comfortable around Othman and his other family members. At one point, Sandy was even eating peanuts from Othman’s mouth.

“I was wondering how far that I could push it, so I got a really long peanut and placed it in my mouth,” Othman said.

Sham othman 1
spent last summer befriending squirrels. Sham Othman

During the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in spring 2020, Othman started working from home, he joked that his friendship with two squirrels – one nicknamed Sandy, and a one-eyed squirrel who he named Ms. Winky – grew especially strong.

“It was a distraction from everything going on,” he said. “It was just something you could look forward to.”

One day, Othman and his wife came across one of their children’s toy hats and realized it was the perfect size for a squirrel.

The next time Sandy came looking for treats, Othman plopped a tiny blue hat onto Sandy’s head and snapped a few pictures.

Othman turned to his 3D printer to make more tiny accessories

Untitled design   2021 04 21T110612.603
The squirrels wore everything from Mickey ears to Mario hats. Sham Othman

Once the Othman family had exhausted their collection of toy-sized hats, Othman turned to his 3D printer and started creating his own accessories.

From cowboy hats to Mickey Mouse ears, Othman adorned the squirrels in about two dozen 3D-printed caps.

He used a light-adhesive painter’s tape to stick them to the squirrels, and gently removed the tape and hats when the photo shoot was done.

Othman said the squirrels didn’t seem to mind the accessories and loved the treats he left behind.

Othman said his family loved their hat-wearing squirrels. Othman’s son even brought an image of Ms. Winky wearing a Luigi hat from “Mario Brothers” for his kindergarten show-and-tell.

Earlier this week, Othman’s photograph of Ms. Winky wearing a Dr. Suess top hat earned him a mention in The Washington Post’s “Squirrel Week” photography contest.

For now, the squirrels have disappeared, but Othman said he hopes to see Ms. Winky or Sandy this summer or start bonding with some new squirrels since they were such a highlight of the past year.

“It’s how I made it through the pandemic,” he said. “It’s making people smile and I always enjoy doing that.”