How to Make a Felt Baby Toy with a Crinkly, Crackly Recycled Surprise!

comments (20) April 12th, 2009     

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susanstars Susan Beal, contributor
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My daughter, Pearl, loves to grab the crackly, crinkly felt owl toy I sewed!
This crinkly owl is the bigger and more baby-friendly cousin to my Big-Eyed Owl Toy from Button It Up.
Sew the felt eyes on with small backstitches for security.
My daughter, Pearl, loves to grab the crackly, crinkly felt owl toy I sewed!

My daughter, Pearl, loves to grab the crackly, crinkly felt owl toy I sewed!

Photo: Susan Beal

My baby daughter, Pearl, loves to grab tantalizing forbidden things like newspapers, grocery bags, and wipes packages and make them crackle and crinkle in her hands! I've been thinking about sewing her something new to play with and thought of sneaking in an empty wipes package as a secret interior crackler. She loves my Big-Eyed Owl from Button It Up, but his covered-button eyes and triangular button claws aren't baby-friendly. Until she graduates to big-girl toys, I thought a soft, all-felt owl with a satisfying crackle would be a nice surprise. I sewed this project during her nap, and when she woke up and saw him, she made an immediate grab for her new crinkly treasure. Success!


Here are the two toys I've made recently—the original big-eyed owl and his crackly cousin.

What you'll need:

  • Wool or acrylic felt in three different colors—main body, eyes background, and eyes centers + nose
  • Needle and thread
  • Sharp scissors
  • Sewing machine (recommended)
  • Batting or stuffing
  • One or two empty wipes packages

  Here are my cut felt owl and eye pieces and one of the empty wipes packages.

1. Cut out two owl (or other animal) shapes from your first color of wool felt. I used a basic Button-Eyed Owl pattern from my book, Button It Up, adapted to be a bit larger for grabby baby hands. You can download a PDF of that one right here. My green owl version is enlarged and widened a bit from the original blue button-eyed one—it measures 9-1/2 inches tall and 8-1/2 inches across.

2. Cut out two 2-inch circles from your second color (mine were blue) and two 1-inch circles and one 1-1/2-inch triangle from your third color of felt (mine were brown) to form the eyes and nose/beak for your owl.

  Hand-sew the eyes on using a backstitch.

3. Hand-stitch your large circles into place on the front of your owl. I used a backstitch with tiny stitches showing on the front for maximum durability. Now add your smaller circles over the large ones. (You can also stitch down your nose now; I waited until the end to sew mine on so I could see the placement once it was stuffed.)

4. Using a sewing machine or more hand-stitching, sew all around the perimeter of your owl shape, leaving a generous space open at the bottom for stuffing.


Leave a space open at the bottom for stuffing with the batting and crackly wipes packages.


5. Take one or two empty wipes packages and a generous amount of batting or stuffing and stuff your owl toy with them. I arranged mine so that each wipes package was on one side of the owl—so when my baby grabs and holds it, there's a good chance she'll hear that crinkle right away! You can also use just one package and make it more central, or add extra packages for maximum sound effects.

6. Hand- or machine-sew your owl's opening closed, backstitching at each end of the seam. If you didn't stitch on your triangular beak in step 3, do that now.


I added the beak as the very last step.

7. Surprise your favorite baby with his or her new secretly crackly toy owl!


Pearl loves her new owl!

Variation: Tuck a small bell or squeaky toy inside your felt toy for a baby to enjoy playing with. Or make a similar sturdy toy for a pet!

Update: Of course, be sure that any toy you make or alter for your child is sewn and constructed very securely for safety, and always keep an eye on how the stitching is holding up after it's been played with.

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posted in: felt, recycled, baby, toy, owl, plastic, crinkly

Comments (20)

Maeve42 writes: I have a question about the crinkly part? Do you stuff the stuffing IN the wipes bag, or do you just lay it on the inside against the surface? I want to make this for a friend of mine's granddaughter, since she loves crinkly, crackly things, and Mommy loves owls. Thanks! :)
Posted: 8:53 am on May 17th
Mjoy writes: Wow I LUUUUV it
Posted: 11:26 pm on September 12th
Micki9144 writes: Sew your crinkly/jangly/rattle sound makers in a separate bag, of fine cotton or a muslin type fabric. If you machine round the seams twice and then across the opening twice, it should remain safe even if the stitching on the toy opens through too much loving. Grandson and his cat love it.
Posted: 6:45 am on August 29th
KJRas writes: Try using the new Sun Chips bags inside. They are VERY loud! Darling project.
Posted: 12:03 pm on August 28th
Magicspinkles writes: Thanks so much for sharing this! I'm in the process of making these for toy of my friends who love owls! :)
Posted: 6:46 pm on August 25th
Flippincool writes: So cute! I'm definitely going to make 1 or 20. :) I've also linked back here on my blog, The Handmade Experiment in a post all about handmade toy tutorials. Thanks for all the crafty inspiration and know how!

Emily
http://emilyflippinmaruna.wordpress.com/2009/07/06/must-make-monday-toys/
Posted: 12:20 pm on July 6th
HeyNowHadley writes: I'm in love! And so are all my friends... I've given this owl at two baby showers, and the gasps this owl caused were heard next door. Thx, SugarMtnMercantile, for the suggestion to use cereal bags. I paired my owl with a handmade mobile for a hit-of-the-shower gift: http://heynowwhoanow.com/handmade/mobile-madness/
I also think a big fabric owl would make a fab throw pillow!

Posted: 10:51 am on June 22nd
KayleeTea writes: They sell rattle inserts and squeakers at www.feltandcraft.com they would be perfect in this project! I am going to do a series of owls in various colors one that squeaks, one that rattles and one that crinkles thanks for the tip I'll let you know how they turn out!
Posted: 8:30 pm on May 16th
grits222 writes: I love this idea. My cat loves to chew and play with crinkly
package wrapping,so I will make him a toy like this.
I think it do ok in the dryer if you put the batting around the crinkly plastic and dry it until just damp,then air dry.
Posted: 11:00 am on April 18th
sassysewer writes: Just wondering...during laundering, could you put this in the dryer, with the plastic inside? I know line drying would be best, but what if?? I make toys for Chinese orphanages and have made baby balls from fabric scraps and placed the sturdy-type cat balls with bells or a round pellet inside (not the dollar store cheap cat balls). The baby would need to get through the toy, and then break through the plastic ball to get at the bell. I'd like to try the plastic wrapper idea for crackle, but I know the toys there get washed on a regular basis. Anyone tried drying one of these yet? I love this idea!
Posted: 10:20 am on April 18th
SugarMtnMercantile writes: Very cute..and for those of us who do not have infants/toddlers so no access to wipes packages for the "sound effects" yet want to make these as a gift, you can use the inside lining from cereal boxes. Works well, also. I would be reluctant to put anything as small as a bell inside...just in case...however, the big-box pet stores often carry large plastic squeakers for use in pet toys for a nominal price.
Posted: 2:46 am on April 18th
csheffield writes: LOVE this!
Posted: 7:48 pm on April 15th
Crafternoon writes: Oh wow, I love this project! Babies do seem to go crazy for the crinkles, and this looks like the perfect baby gift to stitch up in an afternoon. Thanks so much for posting. It's totally j'adorable.
Posted: 5:47 pm on April 14th
susanstars writes: oh, thanks so much everyone! I'm glad you like the idea, I would love to see some handmade owls out in the world and I think a fabric version would be fantastic - using prints or patchwork could be really fun :)

sewitall, I completely agree that safety is crucial. We have two handmade toys, a ball and a penguin (made by friends, not me) with bells inside - both are very securely sewn and the toy is well padded so the bell is deep inside layers of stuffing. Months later, the seams are still perfectly intact and I've kept an eye on them to make sure they stay that way! My daughter also has a commercially made toy with a squeaker deep inside the stuffing and it's also in very good shape after she's played with it.
Posted: 12:39 pm on April 13th
sewitall writes: as a parent, i don't think I would want anything so small that a child could choke on it if it worked it's way out, like the small bell or squeaker mentioned
Posted: 12:28 pm on April 13th
Sewer_Sewist writes: You are killin' it with awesome projects lately! This one is so creative and fun.
Posted: 11:59 pm on April 12th
RainMomma writes: Yay! I am glad it turned out! It looks like she loves it!
Posted: 2:36 pm on April 12th
luckiezoo writes: I think the idea is terrific to have them make noise with the handy wipes package as well. Though I think I will maybe try it out of fabric instead of felt so it can be kept clean. Keep up the great work and ideas. It really is brilliant!
Posted: 10:23 am on April 12th
Miba writes: I don't have kids yet, I'm waiting another two or three years, but when I do, I am deffinately making this. It's cute and brilliant!
Posted: 8:51 am on April 12th
Average_Jane_Crafter writes: Soooo cute! What a brilliant idea to use the wipes packages for the crinkle sound - they make the perfect sound! Yay sweet Pearl! :)
Posted: 1:33 am on April 12th
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