How to make a plush toy

First, a disclaimer: the plush toy in this tutorial is the character “Om Nom” from the popular game “Cut the Rope.” The plush is for personal use and not intended for re-sale. This tutorial explains how to make any plush toy. No copyright infringement is intended. Yes, I realize that this disclaimer holds little to no legal standing….I just thought I should put it out there.

A few weeks ago, my friend Liz got married. Her nephew is the sweetest little guy, and we hit it right off. As we were waiting around to head to the reception, he asked if I could download “Call of Duty: Black Ops” onto my phone. I told him that probably wouldn’t work, but I would be willing to download “Cut the Rope” for him. Totally fair trade off, right? He agreed, and I told him he could play the game until my phone died.

The next day, we all went out to celebrate the graduation of another of the siblings. At the restaurant, they had one of those claw arcade games in the corner. The prize was a plush “Om Nom,” the little green monster from the “Cut the Rope” game. I gave the little boy some money to play the game, and he came back a few minutes later sharing that the machine had eaten his money and asking if I had another quarter. We were getting ready to head out, and I was out of change, so I told him that instead of wasting more money, I would simply make him his very own Om Nom. The catch? He would have to remind me by having his mom send me their mailing address when they got home (because I knew I’d forget). He agreed.

This is an “Om Nom” btw:

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A week later, I get a message from his mom with the mailing address. She had no idea what I needed it for, so I explained my promise to make this plush toy. I then went straight to the store and bought my materials so I wouldn’t forget this project.

The following is a tutorial for making your very own plush toy. This is not the first plush I’ve made, and I always enjoy these projects! There’s something special about knowing that your work is really going to bring happiness to a kid!

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A previous plush project involved making “Sock Pink” and “Sock Blue”, characters from a children’s book written by a friend. It’s a really cute book, and you can check it out at www.asockstory.com!

How to sew a plush toy

First, you’ll need to decide what your plush will look like. In this case, I wanted to replicate the Om Nom. The previous plushes I made where characters from a book. The advantage in both these cases is that I was replicating a cartoon. However, if you want to make a teddy bear or a doll that looks like your child, that is something you can probably pull off too!

Materials
I enjoy using the baby blanket fabric they sell in the fabric store. It’s really soft and nice to touch.
Felt, various colors
Thread
Stuffing

Instructions

1. Make a mock up of the project.

True confession time: I have no sense of spatial reasoning. If I can’t physically put my hands on it, I just can’t picture how things will work in three dimensions. For this reason, I often make a mock up for myself before starting a project to make sure it’ll work. After my hat project, I knew that six panels would make a really nice curved shape. The more panels, the smoother the curve, but six was a good number for me!

Here are some pictures of my mock up:

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Okay. I figured out where his feet go, where his facial features belong, and also confirmed for myself that this concept should work. Now the fun begins!

2. Make a pattern.

You want six identical triangular shapes with curved sides. They kind of look like an iron…

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And, because I didn’t want to forget, I included the feet:

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3. Layout and cut your pattern pieces.

Please note, if you use the baby blanket fabric, it will have a nap. “Nap” refers to the pile of the fabric. In fabric with nap, you want to be careful when laying out your pattern to make sure that it all goes with the nap. Otherwise, your project may look like it’s different colors, or lie incorrectly.

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On the left, I stroked the fabric against the nap, on the right I smoothed it out with the nap. Hopefully you can see the difference!

-Lay out your pattern with the nap…pointed end to the top. I cut these with a fold so I would get two pieces at a time.

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-Cut out your pattern. You should end up with two left, two right and two center pieces.

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4. Start sewing the body.

Sew the center seam together, and the seams for the right and left sides. The sides will now have a complete leg and the center section will be ready for some cute details!

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By the way…when I was doing my last sewing project, my bobbin winder quit. I ended up winding the bobbin by hand. It was a pain, but I only needed a little thread on the bobbin and was able to get the project done. I tried to open up my machine to fix it (it’s probably just a worn out belt) but couldn’t get the final screw out. I decided against taking it to a repair shop (probably cost me more than it’s worth) and instead bought a side winder. This little machine allows you to wind bobbins independent of your machine. It worked like a charm, and for $30, it was the perfect solution for now!

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5. Prepare the mouth, eye, and antenna details.

-Again, I severely lack in the spatial reasoning category, so I made myself a mock up of what the mouth should look like. I then used the pieces of this mock up as my pattern for cutting the felt pieces…

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-I laid out all the pieces to make sure they looked right. And yes, I got a little neurotic and even decided to make the uvula for the back of the mouth. 😛

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At this point, I decided to make the tongue three dimensional…but I’ll address that in a minute. Oh, and ignore the green semicircles. I had an idea for how to insert the mouth that utilized those green pieces, but it didn’t work out…

-Pin the teeth pointing IN toward the center of the mouth. To make my life easier later, I went ahead and stitched the teeth down.

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-To make the tongue three dimensional, I simply cut out a second piece of felt to match the first. I sewed the edges together (leaving the bottom open), then flipped the whole thing right side out:

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-Sew the uvula in place. Since I didn’t want it going anywhere, I used a small zig zag stitch really close to the edge of the piece. It worked out great!

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-Sew the top and bottom sections together…sandwiching the tongue in between.

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– For the eyes, I cut out two connected circles and two small black dots. I used the same small zig zag to attach the black dots to the white circles.

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-I also used the small zigzag stitch to attach the eyes to the front of the face. Notice the center seam runs down the middle of the eyes!

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-Finally, cut out two J-shaped pieces for the antenna.

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Sew the two pieces together, right sides facing each other. Flip around so the right sides are now on the outside and fill with some stuffing.

-Pin the antenna pointing down toward the body…

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-…and sew both the right and the left sides of the body pieces to the center piece. Be sure to firmly attach the antenna with these stitches!

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-Finally, sew the back seam closed.

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Isn’t he cute? At this point, you basically have the hat from my previously mentioned post, just with a face, legs, and an antenna. You could (if you wanted to) simply line this and wear it…but that’s not the point of this tutorial!

When I was making this plush, it was getting late (midnight), so I decided to stop right here. I wasn’t sure how I was going to make the mouth fit in the body…although I knew I was going to have to cut into the body I made. To say that made me uncomfortable is an understatement!

45 minutes later I still couldn’t sleep thinking about how to insert the mouth. I finally got out of bed and decided to tackle the next step in the process…

7. Insert the mouth.

-First, I laid the mouth piece against the inside of the body. I was confirming that the mouth would fit, and trying to figure out the best way to determine where to cut into the body. In placing the mouth on the inside, a natural crease formed.

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I pinned either end of the crease and the center and then…

-…GULP, cut along the crease VERY CAREFULLY!

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-Along the cut edge, tack the body to the mouth, right sides together.

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I went ahead and used a basting stitch to hold the two pieces together. I did this for two reasons:
a) it gave me a much more secure connection for later machine sewing
B) it allowed me to flip the piece right side out and confirm that I had attached it correctly.

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Yup, it worked!

Note: A basting stitch is a straight, long, running stitch. It has various uses in sewing, but in this case I chose to use it to really secure these pieces since I knew the sewing would be a little tricky!

-I even went ahead and pinned the pieces together for extra security. I wasn’t risking anything during this important step!

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-Sew the mouth in securely. Flip the entire plush around once done. Rejoice that this tricky step is behind you!

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8. Finish the plush.

First, I stuffed him a little, just to get a good look at him. Isn’t he cute?

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Then, I went to bed (past 2:30am), satisfied that I could finish him in the morning.

-Trace around the shape of the plush to make a pattern for the underside.

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-At this point, the plush is likely not completely symmetrical, so you’ll want to cut the pattern on the wrong side of the fabric so that it lines up correctly! (The wrong side on this fabric does not have the soft, fluffy nap)

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-Pin the body to the underside, right sides together. I usually don’t use a lot of pins, but for this, I pinned the dickens out of it! This fabric tends to slide and move if it’s not pinned tight. (Btw, if you stuffed him before, you’ll want to remove the stuffing for this step.)

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-Sew him closed, leaving a small section (2-3 inches) in the back open. I used 1/4 in seams throughout this project. I also double checked as I was removing the pins to make certain that I had gotten both sides of the fabric when I sewed him closed. There were a few places where the fabric rolled away and didn’t get caught by the stitches, and I re-sewed those sections.

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-Flip the plush right-side out through the opening in the back…

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-…and stuff him! When I stuff plushes, I make sure to stuff the periphery too. It’s easy to put stuffing in the center and not get it into the outer details, and eventually he’ll look like he doesn’t have enough stuffing.

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-Sew the opening in the back closed. This tutorial is already long enough, so I’ll point you to this excellent blog post for details on how to close the plush up with an invisible stitch.

-Sit back and admire the fruits of your labor!

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Isn’t he cute?! He turned out much as I hoped he would.

One thing I have learned for next time: when I made the pattern for the mouth, I should have traced the curve of the body and made the mouth match it. Instead, I made the mouth without any reference to the body and the curve on the mouth was a lot steeper than the body. I was still able to get it sewn into the body, but it pulls the face a little out of shape. So, instead of being really round, he’s a little oval shaped. It’s okay, but next time I’ll match the curves!

I hope you enjoyed this comprehensive tutorial and will try your very own plush project! Questions can be posted in the comment section and I’ll do my best to answer them. All comments are monitored before they get posted, because I get a lot of bots trying to leave junky links in the comment section.

Enjoy!

7 thoughts on “How to make a plush toy

  1. This is so cute! You wouldnt be any chance have your pattern still that I could use to make one as a gift for a friend? Happy to have a scanned copy of it in PDF format. Its amazing and your tutorial is really well done too!

    • Hello Bronwyn! Thank you for the kind words. I’m currently in transition as I move from Colorado to Alabama, but my things should arrive within the next two weeks. I’ll be happy to scan you the hat pattern I used to get the general shape, but I really did just wing it from there! I’ll be in touch soon.

      Noemi

  2. Thank you so much for sharing! I didn’t expect to see such a detailed description of the actual seeing process. ^_^ I’m a beginner with respect to sewing but i will definitely try to make my own om nom! Also liked dat u used a baby blanket! The texture is on a whole other level 😀

  3. Wow..iam amazed how perfectly u made it..i hav been looking for the toy but em more happy now that em gonna make my own <3

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