Making Toys from a Child's Drawing

There are places you can send your kids drawings to and they will make them into actual cuddly toys. 

I saw this on line and thought it was just a lovely idea. They are complete one offs, hand made just for you so they are pretty pricey.

This was my thought process:

  • What a lovely idea

  • I have young nieces who love drawing and love cuddly toys who would love these

  • I can make things

  • I could make this myself

  • How hard can it be?

Ha ha ha, little did I know. The answer to that last question is "very!" I don't want to put you off if you want to have a go but this is not for the fainthearted - you have been warned!

Making toys from kids drawings

Obviously I can't do a tutorial for this as every kids drawing will be different, I'm just going to share a few things I learnt along the way in case it helps if you fancy having a go.

First I got my aforementioned nieces to do "Special drawings for Auntie Julie". I asked them to do something really special that they really loved. No point doing all this hard work for something they are not bothered about!

This is what they did for me:

child's drawing of an elephant
child's drawing of a mermaid

And after a couple of weeks of messing about with them this is what I was able to produce.

Elephant toy made from a child's drawing
Mermaid toy form child's drawing

For each toy I made a flat front and back, added as much detail as I could then sewed the sides together and stuffed them with toy stuffing.

Elfunt is white cotton sheet fabric with mostly embroidery for the design. Little Mermaid has a cream poly cotton sheet fabric body, face and arms and fabric from my stash for her tail.

What I learnt making Elfunt

  • You have to make what they have drawn, even if you, as an adult, think it's quite amusing. I think we all know what I'm saying here - let's move on!

  • That said, I did have to take some artistic licence. eg I moved the trunk to over the mouth as I just thought once it was a toy it's position would notice more. I also move the ears a bit and put them on each side of the head.

  • I counted the numbers of stripes on each bit pretty carefully. It turned out this was important. She counted to check!

  • The pattern is on both sides - way more work but totally worth it.

  • I used felt for the thick black lines as it was much quicker than filling it all in with embroidery.

  • Keep kids away from stamper pens, embroidering all that detail was a pain - a tiny bit time consuming!

close up embroidery.jpg

What I learnt making Little Mermaid

  • Watch the proportions in the drawing, forget what you know about proportions in real life. On my first attempt her head was tiny and I had to cut the body right down to make her head the right size. I had already embroidered the face and didn't want to do that again so I shrunk the body to fit the head. That's why the bow bit at her waist is a little bit too big.

  • Some things are easier to add on once they are stuffed. I added her clam shell bikini afterwards by hand. In attempt one I appliquéd it on with the machine but the fabric I chose was too thin and it was all pulled out of shape.

  • I gave her wool hair as I just thought it would be way more playable with than a solid piece of fabric. Again it turned out to be a good move. The little felt star in her hair is on a clip and she was having her hair styled within minutes of coming out of the wrapping paper!

  • I cut lengths of wool, and stitched each one on separately. Kind of like you would when rug making. This was a weeny bit time consuming but I was watching tv so it was ok. It does give her a fabulous full head of hair with no horrible doll bald patches but there probably IS a quicker way that you should do!

mermaid close up.jpg

They are not perfect and certainly not as good as the ones the professionals make (just google "Toys from Kids Drawings" and you'll see what I mean) but they were a big hit last Christmas. Both girls declared them one of their favourite presents.

Toys from kids drawings

Would I do this again? Probably not!

Am I glad I had a go? Yes definitely!

I also took a copy of their original pictures, laminated them and included them with the toys, just in case they had forgotten what they had drawn. I get to keep the originals - they were "special pictures for Auntie Julie" after all!

new sig 1.png

I'll be linking up at these great link parties.