How to Make a Felt Baby Toy with a Crinkly, Crackly Recycled Surprise!comments (20) April 12th, 2009
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
7. Surprise your favorite baby with his or her new secretly crackly toy 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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