Handmade Toy of the Week

I’m already thinking about things to make for the holidays, so I thought I’d feature a handmade toy under $50 each week.  By buying a handmade toy you are supporting an independent crafter, likely getting a safer product than what’s on the shelf at big stores, and giving your child a one-of-a-kind gift.  And you can pretty much avoid batteries and television characters.  So I’ve created a page here with some resources for handmade toys and tutorial links for making your own.  I’ll be adding to this list regularly, so check back.

This week’s featured toy is the Baby Gnome Doll, made of recycled materials by Shannon Jefferson of projectgrabbag and available at Craftsbury Kids for $22.  She also has some other great plush toys at Craftsbury Kids and a lovely shop over at Etsy.

Little Hands Puppet: Miss Mouse

I’m going to make some puppets and this is my first one.  Meet Miss Mouse.  We’ve been reading this book with the girls, so they requested a mouse.  You can look at this flickr set for instructions and here’s a template: miss-mouse-template.

The Toymaker

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We made some sweet little paper toys from The Toymaker site yesterday. Artist Marilyn Scott-Waters creates beautiful drawings for these free and downloadable paper toys.  There are many others available including animals, fairies, gift boxes, pinwheels, mini-books and more. If you haven’t seen this site, go check it out. I think these would be great to take on a trip. Just print them out, pack them up with scissors and a glue stick, and you have instant toys. As you can see, my kids couldn’t keep their hands off of them!

Rocket Man

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OK, all finished. Crystal got it right — it’s a rocket ship! Finally, I get to make something for a boy. I used quilting weight cotton fabric (from the Belle line by Amy Butler, available here), but it might be wise to try a canvas, tweed or wool felt. I hand-sewed the bottom and was concerned that the fabric was pulling a bit, so I whip stitched a piece of felt on top to secure it. The fabric and design of the rocket was so egg-like that I decided to use a wooden egg for the little rocket boy. I am so not artistic; therefore I tried to keep the design simple and the hand painting to a minimum. But I think I’d like to try some of these egg dolls as matryoshka dolls for Easter. Maybe with some decoupage fabric dresses? Always thinking of the girly stuff.

Instructions and template for the rocket ship are below. I’ll leave it to you to work on a little space boy figure if you want. Here’s the down-low: I bought a wooden egg from the craft store, cut a circular piece of painter’s tape and applied it to the face area, sprayed the body silver and came back and painted the face with acrylic paints. Then it needs a coat of polyurethane.

Instructions for Rocket Ship:

If you make one of these, please share it by uploading a photo to the Make it Monday Flickr group here.

Supplies:

  • 1/2 yard of fabric (I used three different fabrics, plus some felt)
  • scissors
  • thread
  • thin cardboard (cereal box will do)
  • polyfill stuffing

Step 1: Cut all fabrics according to template below. Cut out four pieces of thin cardboard slightly smaller than the template of the rocket wings (leave a bit of room for sewing on the side that attaches to the rocket — I sewed right over the cardboard, but not sure if that’s advisable).

rocket-template.pdf

Step 2: Add your own appliqué stars if you choose. I did not provide these in the template, but you can handle it!

Add a pouch for a little figure (skip to step 3 if you don’t want to bother with this): I just measured the circumference of my egg, added extra for seam allowance and cut a rectangular shape (you want it to be snug so the little egg doesn’t fly on its own). I then sewed right sides together. Then my husband showed off his knowledge of pi to the 10th decimal place and helped me figure out the size of the circle for the bottom of the pouch (you’re on your own here since I don’t know the size of your little figure). I am told that you can determine the diameter of the circle you need to cut by taking the circumference of your little figure divided by pi. I then sewed the circle to the little “sleeve” and sewed the entire piece to one of the main body pieces of the rocket ship (cut a circular hole in the fabric first!).

Step 3: Make wings by sewing right sides together (leave the side that attaches each wing to the rocket unfinished). Turn wings right side out. Insert cardboard pieces.

Step 4: Sew pieces of rocket body right sides together, inserting and attaching wings as you go (bottom of wing should be about 1″ from the bottom of the rocket ship). It might be a good idea to reinforce seams with an overcasting stitch. Turn right side out.

Step 5: Sew bottom circle of rocket to four sides of the main body, leaving room for stuffing. I hand-sewed this part because I found that the wings got in the way when I tried with the machine.

Step 6: Stuff densely with polyfill or filling f your choice (add figure to pouch while you stuff). Pin and sew final seam together and reinforce if needed.

Blast off!