Stuffed animal drawing easy

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How to Make a Stuffed Toy From a Child's Drawing

Claudia has been writing about crafts online for many years. She is an avid crafter who has been creating for most of her life.

Turning a Doodle Into a Stuffed Animal or Plush Toy

My daughter is a doodler. She loves to draw little characters and give them to me as mementos. Over the years, I have accumulated quite a few and they are quite special to me.

As a quilter and I've often thought it would be fun to turn one of her doodles into a stuffed toy, so I decided to give it a try. It turned out to be a fun and simple project that anyone with some basic sewing skills can do.

Follow these step by step instructions, and you too can turn a drawing into a stuffed toy. You'll be amazed at the results.

Step 1 - Pick out a drawing

Whether it is large or small, black and white or full of color, choose the drawing you want for your stuffed toy. Use care as some drawings are going to be more difficult to put together than others. For example, "Pricles" on the bottom left of the photo, with all of his sharp points, would be difficult to do.


  • Choose a drawing that is relatively simple.
  • Unless you are an expert seamstress, do not choose a doodle with lots of sharp edges and/or curves.
  • Unless you like adding lots of embellishments, do not choose a doodle with lots of eyeballs, arms, hair and other things.
1. Using a copier, enlarge the drawing as much as possible. The original doodle is about 3 inches high.
1. Using a copier, enlarge the drawing as much as possible. The original doodle is about 3 inches high.
2. Using tracing paper, trace the copy version, making it even larger if desired.

1. Using a copier, enlarge the drawing as much as possible. The original doodle is about 3 inches high.

Step 2 - Enlarge and trace the doodle

Chances are high that the original doodle is too small to make into a toy. That means you will have to enlarge the drawing.

  1. Use a copier and make the drawing as large as you would like it to be.
  2. Trace the large version of the drawing onto tracing paper. If you want the toy to be larger than the copier version, and as shown in the second photo above, make the tracing larger than the copier version. This takes a little time to get right, but it is worth it.

Step 3 - Create the pattern pieces and pin them to the fabric

  1. Using tracing paper, trace the individual pieces that will be made out of fabric. Do not cut out the pieces from the original tracing. You never know if you will need to retrace a piece.
  2. If needed, add some simple guidelines to help match up the body with other pieces. In the photo, the guidelines show where the felt hair will be placed.
  3. Label the pattern pieces.
  4. Pin all of the pattern pieces on the fabric(s) of your choice.
1. Cut out all of the individual pattern pieces.
1. Cut out all of the individual pattern pieces.
2. Leave paper patterns pinned to their respective fabric pieces. This helps when positioning them.
3. Pin the pattern pieces to the right side of the toy body. Note the hash mark at the top of the nose that matches up with the bottom of the eyeglasses.

1. Cut out all of the individual pattern pieces.

Step 4 - Cut out the pattern pieces and pin them in place

  1. Cut all fabric pattern pieces out, using the tracings as your guide. Do not remove the paper pattern until you are ready to sew.
  2. With the exception of any legs, arms or other items that will be sticking out from the body, pin the pieces into place on the main body of the toy. Any pieces that will be sticking out of the body will be placed on later.
  3. Use your markings to help position items in the right place.

Step 5 - Sew pieces onto body of toy

Fabric embellishments, like a nose or eyes, can be added by hand sewing them or by sewing them on with a machine. Sewing them on by machine will ensure that the toy is more durable and there is less of a chance that they will get torn or fall off.

With very few exceptions, remove the tracing paper pattern pieces before sewing. If you need guidelines, like the teeth in the photos above, sew through the pattern and then remove it.

Tracing paper can be removed fairly easily. Use care so the stitching does not pull out. If small paper pieces remain, use tweezers to remove them.


  • Use a different color thread to add definition or other interest to the toy.
  • Always begin and end with 2 - 3 backstitches. This will help ensure that the sewing does not pull out.
Add hair that will be sticking out of the top of the head.
Add hair that will be sticking out of the top of the head.
Add arms and legs that will be sticking out of the sides of the body.

Add hair that will be sticking out of the top of the head.

Step 6 - Add external parts

Adding parts, like arms and legs, that will be sticking out of the body of the toy is handled differently than adding embellishments to the toy body.

For any part of the toy that is sticking out, it needs to pinned facing the inside of the body so that when the pieces are sewn together, they stick out when the toy is flipped inside out.

Using the hash marks you drew earlier, pin the pieces to the inside of the body as shown.

Tip:To make sure that they will be in the correct position when the sewing is done, test them by flipping them up.

Pin the pieces in place.

Step 7 - Sew the front of the toy body to the back

  1. With right sides together, pin the front to the back, using your markings as guides.
  2. Wherever there is a piece that will be sticking out, like a leg or hair, use mini pins to mark where it is.
  3. Determine where the opening for the stuffing will be.
  4. Sew the pattern together, using at least a 1/4" seam. Begin and end with back stitching. Whenever you come to a place where there is an extremity, back stitch for extra security.
1. Flip the toy inside out. Note how the extremities are correctly placed.
1. Flip the toy inside out. Note how the extremities are correctly placed.
2. Stuff the toy with fiberfill.
3. Use your judgement to determine how much filling to use.

1. Flip the toy inside out. Note how the extremities are correctly placed.

Step 8 - Turn the toy inside out and then stuff

  1. Flip the toy inside out and lay flat.
  2. Using the stuffing of your choice, stuff the toy.
  3. Fill until you are happy with the look.


  • Before stuffing, run your finger around the inside seam to make sure it has been smoothed out.
  • Use an adequate amount of stuffing. Too little and the toy will be floppy and lay flat. Too much and it will be extremely difficult to sew closed.
  • Use the eraser end of a pencil to get stuffing into small nooks and crannies.

We all had our fantastic childhood friends that we liked to imagine, draw, or even talk to. How cool would it have been if someone took those fantasy animals and realized them for us? That’s exactly what Vancouver-based artist Wendy Tsao does – she turns kid’s drawings into real-life plush toys.

Tsao began in by creating a plush version of a self-portrait that her 4-year-old son kept drawing. After seeing how excited he got at recognizing the creation as one inspired by his own work, Tsao started a business by accepting other kids’ drawings as well. She takes their drawings, contacts them to confirm the details of the drawing, and then reimagines their artwork as stuffed animals.

Since then, Tsao has created over plushies and has more requests for kids’ toys than she can handle. “In the beginning, I treated it as a business, which is fine. But the thing is, I realized that Child’s Own Studio is not just a business for me; it’s really a craft. On some days, when I’m good, it’s an art form. And that’s where I want to be. Making good art.”


Spencer, age 10

Francis, age 7

Evelyn, age 5 and Torbin, age 3

Fabricio, age 6

Maja, age 4

Orin, age 5

Dillon, age 6

Maja, age 4

Anson, age 5

Ryan, age 6

Artist Turns Kids' Drawings Into Real-Life Plush Toys (30 Pics)

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Stuffed toy

Toy with outer fabric sewn from a textile and stuffed with flexible material

"Stuffed animal" redirects here. For the practice of stuffing and mounting dead animals, see taxidermy.

"Cuddly Toy" redirects here. For the song, see Cuddly Toy (song).

A stuffed toy is a toydoll with an outer fabric sewn from a textile and stuffed with flexible material. They are known by many names, such as plush toys, plushies, stuffed animals, and stuffies; in Britain and Australia, they may also be called soft toys or cuddly toys. The stuffed toy originated from the Steiff company of Germany in the late 19th century and gained popularity following the creation of the "Teddy" bear in the US in , at the same time the German toy inventor Richard Steiff designed a similar bear. In the s, Ty Warner created Beanie Babies, a series of animals stuffed with plastic pellets that were popular as collector's items.

Stuffed toys are made in many different forms, but most resemble real animals (sometimes with exaggerated proportions or features), legendary creatures, cartoon characters, or inanimate objects. They can be commercially or home-produced from numerous materials, most commonly pile textiles like plush for the outer material and synthetic fiber for the stuffing. Often these toys are designed for children, but stuffed toys are popular for a range of ages and uses, and have been marked by fads in popular culture that sometimes affected collectors and the value of the toys.


Stuffed toy animals for sale

Stuffed toys are distinguished from other toys mainly by their softness, flexibility, and resemblance to animals or fictional characters. Stuffed toys most commonly take the form of animals, especially bears (in the case of teddy bears), mammalian pets such as cats and dogs, and highly recognizable animals such as zebras, tigers, pandas, lizards, and elephants. Many fictional animal-like characters from movies, TV shows, books, or other entertainment forms often appear in stuffed toy versions, as do both real and fictional humans if the individual or character is famous enough. These toys filled with soft plush material.

Stuffed toys come in an array of different sizes, with the smallest being thumb-sized and the largest being larger than a house.[1][2] However, the largest somewhat commonly produced stuffed animals are not much bigger than a person.[citation needed] Most stuffed animals are designed to be an appropriate size for easy handling. They also come in a wide variety of colors and fur textures.

Stuffed toys are commonly sold in stores worldwide. Vendors are often abundant at tourist attractions, airports, carnivals, fairs, downtown parks, and general public meeting places of almost any nature, especially if there are children present.


The first stuffed toy was a felt elephant originally sold as a pincushion, created by the German Steiff company in [3] Steiff used newly developed technology for manufacturing upholstery to make its stuffed toys.[4] In , the Ithaca Kitty became one of the first mass-produced stuffed animal toys in the United States, which was sold as "The Tabby Cat" printed pattern on muslin by Arnold Print Works.[5]

The toy industry significantly expanded in the early 20th century. In , Richard Steiff designed a soft stuffed bear that differed from earlier traditional rag dolls because it was made of plush furlike fabric.[4] At the same time in the US, Morris Michtom created the first teddy bear after being inspired by a drawing of President "Teddy" Roosevelt with a bear cub.[6] In , the character Peter Rabbit from English author Beatrix Potter was the first fictional character to be made into a patented stuffed toy.[7] The popularity of stuffed toys grew, with numerous manufacturers forming in Germany, the United Kingdom,[3] and the United States.[4] Many people also handmade their own stuffed toys. For instance, sock monkeys originated when parents turned old socks into toys during the Great Depression.[8]

More recent lines of stuffed animals have been created around unique concepts, like Uglydoll, introduced in , with a number of recognizable characters and overarching style.[9]


See also: Comfort object

Children as well as adults can form connections with their stuffed toys, often sleeping or cuddling with them for comfort. They can be sentimental objects that reduce anxiety around separation, self-esteem, and fear of the night.[10] About a third of British adults report sleeping with soft toys, and almost half have kept their childhood toys.[11]


Stuffed toys are made from a range of materials. The earliest were created from felt, velvet, or mohair and stuffed with straw, horsehair, or sawdust.[3][12] Following World War II, manufacturers began to adopt more synthetic materials into production,[3] and in , the first teddy bear made from easily washable materials was produced.[1] Modern stuffed toys are commonly constructed of outer fabrics such as plain cloth, pile textiles like plush or terrycloth, or sometimes socks. Common stuffing materials include synthetic fiber, batting, cotton, straw, wood wool, plastic pellets, and beans. Some modern toys incorporate technology to move and interact with the user.[13]

Manufacturers sell two main types of stuffed toys: licensed, which are toys of characters or other licensed properties, or basic, which take the shape of ordinary animals or other non-licensed subjects.[13]

Stuffed toys can also be homemade from numerous types of fabric or yarn. For instance, Amigurumi is a Japanese type of knitted or crocheted stuffed toy typically made with an oversized head and undersized extremities to look kawaii ('cute').[14][15]

Cultural impact, marketing, and collectors[edit]

Stuffed toys are among the most popular toys, especially for children.[citation needed] Their uses include imaginative play, comfort objects, display or collecting, and gifts to both children and adults for occasions such as graduation, illness, condolences, Valentine's Day, Christmas, or birthdays. In , the global market for stuffed toys was estimated to be US$ billion, with the growth in target consumers expected to drive sales upwards.[16] They are abundant in many US houses.[17]


Some Beanie Babies on display by a collector

Many stuffed toys have become fads that have boosted the industry overall.[13] Teddy bears were an early fad that quickly grew into a cultural phenomenon.[4] Close to years later, in the s, Ty Warner created Beanie Babies, a series of animals stuffed with plastic pellets. The toys became a fad through marketing strategies that increased demand and encouraged collection.[18][19]Pillow Pets, which can be folded from a pillow into a stuffed animal, were another successful brand, launching in and selling more than 30 million toys between and [20]

Other recent fads have involved toys paired with technology. Tickle Me Elmo, a laughing and shaking plush toy based on the character Elmo from the Sesame Street television show, was released in and was soon in demand, with some people buying and reselling the toy for hundreds of dollars.[21] This popularity sparked similar fads, including the robotic talking plush toy Furby released in [22] and Zhu Zhu Pets, a line of robotic plush hamsters released in [23][24]

The internet also presented an opportunity for new stuffed toy fads. In , Ganz launched its Webkinz stuffed toys, which each came with a different "Secret Code" that gave access to the Webkinz World website and a virtual version of the toy for online play.[25][26] Webkinz's success inspired the creation of other stuffed toys containing codes to unlock digital content, such as the former online worlds Disney's Club Penguin and Build-A-Bearville from Build-A-Bear Workshop. In , Disney launched its first collection of Disney Tsum Tsum stuffed toys based on characters from different Disney properties. Inspired by the popular app of the same name, Tsum Tsums were first released in Japan before expanding to the United States.[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ abLaliberte, Marissa (). "11 Adorable Facts You Never Knew About Teddy Bears". Reader's Digest. Retrieved
  2. ^"Largest teddy bear". Guinness World Records. Retrieved
  3. ^ abcdSoft toys. (). In J. Miller (Ed.), Miller's antiques encyclopedia (2nd ed.). Mitchell Beazley.
  4. ^ abcdGary S. Cross (). Kids' Stuff: Toys and the Changing World of American Childhood. Harvard University Press. pp.&#;93– ISBN&#;. Archived from the original on
  5. ^Sachse, Gretchen (). "Ithaca Kitty was a success across America". The Ithaca Journal. Ithaca, New York. Retrieved
  6. ^"Teddy Bears". Library Of Congress. Archived from the original on Retrieved
  7. ^"The life of Beatrix Potter - Peter Rabbit". Archived from the original on
  8. ^Boschma, Janie (). "History of the sock monkey: Stuffed animal created during the Great Depression". The Spectator. Archived from the original on Retrieved
  9. ^"Toy Industry Association Award Winning Products and Nominees. List of awards". Retrieved March 22,
  10. ^"'My bears are my lifeline': the adults who sleep with soft toys". the Guardian. Retrieved
  11. ^"1 in 3 British adults still sleeps with a soft toy". Metro. Retrieved
  12. ^Jaffé, Deborah (). The History of Toys: From Spinning Tops to Robots. Sutton Publishing. p.&#; ISBN&#;.
  13. ^ abcByrne, Christopher (). A Profile of the United States Toy Industry&#;: Serious Fun. Business Expert Press. pp.&#;14, 62–
  14. ^Mary Beth Temple (). Hooked for Life: Adventures of a Crochet Zealot. Andrews McMeel. pp.&#;40– ISBN&#;. Retrieved
  15. ^Mary Belton (). Craft, Volume 1: Transforming Traditional Crafts. O'Reilly Media. pp.&#;41– ISBN&#;. Archived from the original on Retrieved
  16. ^"Stuffed Animal & Plush Toys Market Size, Share - Industry Report, ". Grand View Research, Inc. Retrieved 11 October
  17. ^Byron, Ellen (). "Too Many Stuffed Animals? Time to Call the Exterminator". The Wall Street Journal.
  18. ^Wickman, Kase (). "The Life and Death of the Princess Diana Beanie Baby Market". Vanity Fair. Condé Nast. Retrieved June 5,
  19. ^Getlen, Larry (). "How the Beanie Baby craze was concocted — then crashed". New York Post. Retrieved
  20. ^Glazer, Joyce A. (). "Celebrating Women: Jennifer Telfer". San Diego Magazine. Retrieved
  21. ^"Just Tickled"Archived at the Wayback Machine. People, January 13,
  22. ^"New toy an interactive fur ball". CNN. Archived from the original on Retrieved
  23. ^Vicki Mabrey; Kinga Janik (). "Zhu Zhu Pets: Hamsters to Save Christmas?". ABC News. Archived from the original on November 22,
  24. ^Anderson, Mae (). "Robotic hamsters are holidays' unlikely new craze". Denver Post. Archived from the original on June 29, Retrieved May 18,
  25. ^Pardo, Steve (). "Kids hooked on Webkinz world". The Detroit News. Retrieved
  26. ^Barakat, Matthew (). "Review: Webkinz pleases parents and children". NBC News. Retrieved
  27. ^Walujono, Amanda (). "How Disney's Tsum Tsum Craze is Taking America By Storm". Character Media. Retrieved

How to Design and Sew Simple Stuffed Toys Based on Drawings

Why buy toys when you can make them? Teach your kids to make stuff toys based on drawings using this simple method. Even my four-year-old can do this!

Why buy toys when you can make them? Teach your kids to make stuff toys based on drawings using this simple method. Even my four-year-old can do this!

Some links on this site are affiliate links and I may earn a small commission at no cost to you. Click on the images and blue text to be taken to links. Thank you! Learn more.

Last summer I wrote about how I turned my children&#;s drawings into a felt doll and a felt alien. This summer I&#;m sharing how your child can turn virtually any drawing into a pattern for a very easy-to-sew toy! These are so easy to make that even my four-year-old is sewing them with very little assistance.

MATERIALS NEEDED FOR SEWING Stuffed Toys Based on Drawings

What You&#;ll Find on This Page

This is what you need for this friendly felt alien craft.

Here are some optional but helpful add-ons that simplify the sewing process.


% wool felt is much more expensive than the craft felt that is in every craft store. Why bother with wool? It stays looking nice much longer. Of course, it is not the end of the world if you choose to use craft felt instead. It just won’t feel or look as nice.


Cluster Stuff is a hypoallergenic polyester stuffing material that is designed to never clump or bunch up. It comes in tiny clusters that are helpful when stuffing tight spaces. I have been using this stuffing for several years now, and it never disappoints. As with the felt, there isn’t a real problem with using something else; it just won’t be as fun or easy to work with (with the possible exception of using wool roving for stuffing…)

Step 1: Select a Drawing

My kids created drawings especially for this project, but you can also choose a drawing they drew without felt sewing in mind.

Your child can bring their drawings to life with this tutorial

Step 2: Trace or Cut Out the Drawing

Since my kids created their drawings especially for this project, we simply cut them out. But if you want to keep the original artwork, you can trace it with tracing paper.

Step 3: Sew and Stuff

We used a whip stitch to make these toys. My kids enjoy sewing with this stitch because it is fairly quick but creates a solid seam. LiEr of ikatbag has a great basic stitches resource may want to refer to.

Step 4: Add Details.

We used ultra fine point Sharpie pens to add details; fabric markers would also work.

Kid designed toys

Step 5: Play!

I love the big personalities that my kids create for these simple little toys that they sew! My daughter Emma even wrote up some details about the Terrister creature she created for this post!

About Terristers

A Terriester is a friendly monster who will live anywhere. They have four footprints. The girls are pinkish purple and the boys are blue. They have two teeth but they do not bite. They have a tail. They have very good balance, and their favorite place is sitting on a door handle. Their ears are lopsided. The right way to hold them is in your left hand. Put your middle finger and your pointer finger around his or her neck. Wrap your thumb around the side of the Terriester&#;s body on the side with your pointer finger. Tilt it upward over the stomach. Then wrap your ring finger and your pinky below the other arm under your middle finger. Now your Terriester is snug and happy!

Cut stuffies based on kids drawings

Patterns for our Toys Based on Drawings

My kids are sharing their patterns for anyone who wants to give them a go! They are super easy to sew!

Simple pattern for felt stuffed toys.

My kids enjoy hand sewing, and I have several tutorials on this blog! Here&#;s a list:

You can find all of my sewing tutorials here.

We created this tutorial as part of Sew a Softie month. Be sure to check out all of the tutorials there for more inspiration.

Have your children designed their own toys this way? We would love to see photos &#; if you use our patterns, as well! Share your own drawings to toy creations in the comments. You can also leave a note on my Facebook page, or tag me on Twitter or Instagram. 

MaryAnne at Mama Smiles

MaryAnne Kochenderfer


MaryAnne lives is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.


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