Make Your Own Plush Toys

Or rather, make toys for your kids. I’ve written before about our paper toys, but we have also branched out into toys of the 3D variety.

It all started when Max made an “Ugli Doll” for our favorite homeschool craft class. It was the perfect starter sewing project, ’cause you seriously can’t go wrong. I mean, the dolls are supposed to turn out ugly!

His name is “Greenie”, and he has special moves like “thunder wing”.

Once Max realized how simple the process was, he started getting ideas for all kinds of toys we could make. So, I told him if he did the drawing, cutting, and stuffing, I would be willing to do all the sewing for him. (He hates sewing with a fiery passion.)

The next toy we made was Mr. Tickle from the Mr. Men and Little Miss book series.

I will admit that I had a little bit of a hard time at first not perfecting his design, or tweaking little things like one eye being bigger than the other, or a round shape not being perfectly round (it’s my control freak/perfectionist tendencies), but once I decided that it would all add to the charm, it became easy to just let him do his job, and me do mine.

We also made Mr. Bump from the same series.

The Process:

It might be self-explanatory for some, but then I thought I’d better add this brief tutorial, just in case anyone needs it.

1. Check your perfection at the door. There’s no room for it in this project, especially if you are working with a kid.

2. Trace the general outer shape onto your fabric. Anti-pill fleece works great. Have any old fleece sweatshirts? (Old Navy, anyone?) Those would make for a great upcycle.

3. Trace another line around the shape, making it about half an inch bigger. This is your seam allowance. So, you’ll be cutting it out about half an inch bigger than you want it to be when finished.

4. Cut it out. (I see Joey from Full House anytime I hear or read that line.) Make sure you cut through 2 layers of fabric! You’ll be sewing them together later.

5. Draw and cut out any face pieces or embellishments (like gloves, etc.). Felt works great for this part. (See pic below.) Make the pieces the exact size you want them, and hand sew the pieces on wherever you want them to go. This does not, by any means need to be neat or perfect.

6. Put the two main pieces of fleece together, right side in. That means you want your toy’s face to be touching the other piece of fabric.

7. Sew around the edges (I use a 1/4 inch seam allowance), and leave an inch or two on the side open for stuffing. I use a machine, but you could easily hand sew it.

8. Turn it out so that the face is now on the outside, and stuff it nice and full with pillow stuffing. Stitch up the open spot, and you’re done! You’ve got a brand new toy!

This is an “Ugli” dog that I was making as a gift for my 3 yr old. You can see that I added the face pieces to the front before sewing the main shape together.

Green penguin.

Green “puffle”. He’s a big Club Penguin fan. As with the others, Max did all the designing, but he was perplexed on the hair. He wanted to be able to change the hairstyle, so we tried yarn, and it worked great!

I’d love to see pictures of any stuffed toys you’ve made with your kids. If you haven’t made any yet, and you like this sort of thing (or your kid likes it), then give it a shot! It’s a great project to do together.


4 thoughts on “Make Your Own Plush Toys

  1. I made the kids a bunch of angry birds last fall. I used an applique method to put their faces on. Basically you just sew (with your machine! yay!) the shape of the eye or whatever onto the base piece and trim around it. Sometimes it is easier to do the cutting after the sewing instead of before, especially with little pieces like eye pupils or whatever. Your son’s cuddly toys look great!

    • Oh yeah, I remember seeing pics of those! They were great. Oliver (my 3 yr old) is obsessed with Angry Birds. I might have to do that for him this year.

      Thanks for the tip on appliqueing the little pieces. I never in a million years would have thought to trim after, but that sounds like it would be better on really small pieces.

      Thank you!


  2. Ola! Sunnyd,
    This question may be a little off-topic, I was wondering if anyone knew how to preserve a plush toy? I plan on buying two, one for playing with and decorating my room, one for cherishing and keeping in mint condition. Over time my other stuffed toys got all wooly, dusty, smelly and ultimately crappy. How can I preserve one in mint condition?

    • Ola!

      For long term preservation, I would recommend one of those air tight storage bags wit a vacuum seal. I don’t know for sure if that is best, but that is what I would probably do.

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