Filling a Stuffed Animal
How to do it properly:
One of the most crucial steps in making a stuffed animal is the stuffing! There’s a big difference between an overstuffed, under-stuffed, or lumpy toy and one that’s juuust right. But never fear! I am here to show you how to find that sweet Goldilocks zone for a perfectly huggable plushie.
Evaluate and mold into shape
If there are any pointy or protruding parts like this guy’s nose, fill those first. Roughly shape the fiber fill into the shape you want, but 2-3 times larger. It will compress once it’s in there. Before you stuff the larger main part, make sure the stuffing here isn’t so far down that there will be a gap later.
When you’re ready to stuff the round parts, use that same technique of shaping the fluff before you stick it in. This will ensure that it’s squishy and not lumpy. If you don’t get enough and you can tell it will look deflated, take it out and add more to it rather than shoving little bits in at a time. That’s where the lumps come from!
Don't skimp on the neck
The point at which the body meets the head is very important. If you don’t stuff that opening enough, the poor guy won’t be able to hold his head up and he’ll look so sad! You want him to have a nice strong neck so he can hold that head up high. This time it’s okay to add a small bit of extra fluff while you’re sewing it together if you can tell it’s needed.
Arms, legs, and tail: Firm vs. Flabby
For the appendages, you may want to take the opposite approach. Stuff the arms and legs too firmly and they’ll stick straight out from the body. You can see the difference between old Felix and Felici. Felici’s arms I stuffed pretty firmly and then tried to stitch them down but her right arm keeps floating up.
Felix’s arms I stuffed more on the paw ends but left the shoulders pretty limp and I think it’s cute. For these narrow pieces, using a pencil is helpful for getting it all the way down there. It’s kind of like a ramrod, but don’t get too zealous about shoving it all in at once. Take your time and use the eraser end of the pencil to slide in beside the stuffing to ease it down a little at a time.
Same with their tails. I wanted nice fluffy fox tails but left them flatter at the base so it can flop around some rather that always sticking straight out.
These legs are designed to be more structured and will be fully closed up before you attach them to the body, so we’ll stuff them more firmly.
The beauty of handmade toys is that no 2 are exactly alike. They’ll each have their own little personalities, so why not get to know them a little while you’re filling them with life? I won’t tell anybody I caught you playing with toys. (wink)
I absolutely love getting to see what you do with the things you learn from me. If you try out any of my tips, give me a I so I can see! If you post it on IG or FB, tag me @becca.j.norman If you don’t do social media, you can just send me an email.