A close-up image capturing the intricate stitches of a handcrafted felt stuffed animal, showcasing the meticulous attention to detail and the vibrant colors used in its creation.

Do you want to make adorable stuffed animals out of felt? Crafting felt critters is a fun and creative way to make custom toys and gifts. In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about making stuffed felt animals from scratch.

If you’re short on time, here’s the key things you’ll learn: choosing felt fabric and stuffing, cutting patterns shapes, sewing pieces together, adding details like eyes and embroidery.

Read on as we dive into tips on designing animals, picking supplies, cutting and sewing techniques, filling the critters, and decorating them with accessories.

Picking Fabrics and Supplies for Felt Stuffed Toys

Choosing Good Quality Felt

When making cute stuffed animals out of felt, it’s important to select a high-quality, durable felt that will hold up to play and last a long time. Look for wool felt that is tightly woven – this will be less prone to fraying or developing holes.

The felt should also be at least 2mm thick to provide enough structure for the stuffed toy shape. Good wool felt is available from most craft stores and comes in a rainbow of vibrant colors to choose from.

Stuffing Material Options

The stuffing inside your stuffed animal is key for making it soft, cuddly, and huggable. Here are some great options:

  • Polyester fiberfill stuffing – fluffy and lightweight. The most common choice.
  • Wool stuffing – provides weight and warmth, good for cold weather plushes.
  • Organic materials like corn fiber or bamboo stuffing – sustainable options.
  • Plastic pellets – for a bean bag style stuffed animal.

The amount and type of stuffing controls the density and floppiness of the finished stuffed critter. Have fun experimenting!

Getting Stuffing Tools

To get the stuffing neatly packed into the sewn felt shell, a stuffing stick or spoon works wonders. Long chopsticks or a blunt pencil can also do the trick. It’s helpful to have miniature funnels in a couple sizes to direct stuffing into small appendages like ears or limbs.

Basic sculpting tools like wooden dowels or popsicle sticks allow shaping the stuffing evenly.

Additional Decor Supplies

To add personality and bring your handmade stuffed animals to life, embellishments take them to the next level. ribbons, buttons, fabric glue, and fabric markers. Here are some quick ideas:

Embroidered or appliqued facial features Bowties
Funky feathers Floral accents
Pom pom tails or manes Googly eyes for silly expressions

Let your imagination run wild when it comes to decorating. The furrier and funkier, the better! 😊🎉👍

Making Stuffed Animal Patterns and Cutting Fabric

Designing Custom Creature Shapes

The first step in making cute felt stuffed animals is to design the creature’s shape. Get creative and sketch original patterns for animals like bears, cats, dogs, bunnies, elephants, giraffes, or your own whimsical creatures. Consider anatomy and proportion to make professional plushie plans.

For instance, heads are often 1/4 the body size.

Next, draw exaggerated shapes and demarcations for key features. Define the eyes, nose, mouth, limbs, paws, ears, tails, etc. Refine and embellish the details. Then finalize symmetrically balanced blueprints with precise measurements for later tracing.

Outlining distinctive attributes makes transferring the design easier. Tip: Start with basic shapes as guides.

Tracing onto Felt Fabric

Before tracing your original pattern, lay out the felt fabric. Choose colors suiting your stuffed animal’s style. Get creative combining hues! For durability, select quality, thick wool felt sheets. Then neatly position the drawings atop the fabric, weighting paper edges smooth.

Next, precisely trace the creature outline and specific elements with a fine tip fabric marker pressing firmly. Tracing things like faces accurately is important. Carefully capture eyes, noses, etc. When done tracing, allow ink drying fully before handling further.

Verify all key parts transferred correctly.

Cutting Out the Felt Pieces

Now cut out the stuffed animal components following your traced guiding lines using sharp embroidery scissors. Take care cutting curves and points. Work slowly and methodically for best results. Cut modestly outside traced lines allowing some excess fabric as sewing allowance.

Moreover, if making a posable plushie, cut limb pieces with extra width for bendable joints. Also, cut multiple fabric pieces required, like mirror-image arms and legs. Stack layers cutting simultaneously. Finally, label corresponding shapes using sticky notes on each piece.

Organizing parts prepares for assembling.

Assembling and Sewing Felt Pieces

Sewing Basics

Sewing felt pieces together to create your adorable stuffed pal can be surprisingly simple. You just need some basic supplies like felt sheets, thread, hand sewing needles, stuffing, and scissors. Having the right needle for felt is key – a sharp, long needle with a large eye makes stitching the dense felt easier.

As you sew seams on your fluffy friend, be sure to backstitch every 1⁄4 inch for extra strength and durability. This prevents the seams from splitting when you start filling ‘er up!

Figuring Out Construction Order

It can be challenging to sew a cute 3D stuffed animal when you’re just working from a 2D pattern. Planning the order of construction is crucial! Generally, you’ll sew separate body parts first (like the arms, legs, head), right sides together.

Then flip them out, topstitch for security, stuff firmly, and appliqué on any decorative details like eyes or noses. Finally, secure arms/legs to the torso and stitch up those side seams. Leaving one seam open for stuffing, of course!

Leaving Openings for Stuffing

When sewing the pieces of your stuffed pal together, be strategic about where to leave an opening for turning and stuffing. For limbs, open a 1⁄2 inch seam in the top. For the body/torso, leave a 2-3 inch opening along one side seam.

The wider gap makes it easier to fully stuff your stuffed animal without hand cramps 😣! Don’t forget to securely ladder stitch the openings closed once your stuffie is full packed to the brim with stuffing or beans.

Reinforcing Stress Points

Because stuffed animals are made for hugging and loving 🤗, it’s important to reinforce areas that will undergo frequent stress. Elbows/knees on limbs, neck/waist seams, and tail attachment points often receive concentrated pressure.

Reduce wear and tear in high-stress spots by sewing backstitch reinforcements, knotting thread securely, or double topstitching during construction. That way Mr. Snuggles stays huggable for years to come instead of needing emergency surgery!

Stuffing the Stuffed Animals

Choosing Amount of Filling

Deciding how much stuffing to use is an important first step when stuffing your adorable handmade stuffed animals. As a general rule, lightly stuffed plushes will be floppier and easier to cuddle, while firmly packed critters will better maintain their shape.

Most crafters recommend using 1 to 3 pounds of stuffing per cubic foot depending on whether you prefer a softer or firmer finished product.

Polyester fiberfill stuffing is soft and fluffy, perfect for making squishy, huggable stuffed animals. Just be careful not to overfill or your stuffie may end up feeling hard as a rock! When in doubt, remember you can always add more filling, but it’s trickier to remove excess stuffing from a tightly packed plush.

Techniques for Stuffing Evenly

Ensuring your fabric friend is filled out smoothly and evenly is key to achieving that cute, well-loved look. Stuff small sections at a time, distributing the filling throughout before moving on. Pay special attention to appendages like ears, arms, and tails to make sure they get adequately stuffed.

As you’re filling up your plush pal, continually squeeze, pat, and smooth the fabric to evenly disperse the fluff and create an even, consistent texture all over. Shake gently to allow filling to fully loft. Does your fabric buddy need more stuffing in some spots?

Go ahead and very carefully unsew a couple stitches to access the area needing more filling.

Closing the Openings

Once you’ve reached the desired stuffed-ness, it’s time to permanently seal up those openings! Whip stitch the gap closed by threading a needle and coordinating thread through the inside folds. Take care to regularly reinforce and knot the thread so your stitching stays secure.

Hide knots between layers of fabric whenever possible for a cleaner look.

For extra security and durability, consider covering your whip stitching with a second, more subtle ladder stitch seam. This clever technique hides stitches on the outside while still firmly fastening the opening on the interior. Viola, no more stuffing leaks!

Now give your adorable new plushie a big squeeze and enjoy your handmade hassle-free critter! 👏 With a little practice stuffing stuffed animals, you’ll be a master in no time. Trust me, this creative craft is sure to bring many smiles. 😊

Adding Details and Embellishments

Sewing or Gluing On Eyes

Eyes are essential for giving your stuffed animals maximum cuteness and personality. You can use plastic safety eyes designed specifically for handmade toys or craft your own fabric eyes. Attaching plastic safety eyes involves pushing the prongs through the fabric and securing the backs, while fabric eyes typically involve hand-sewing or gluing fragments of felt circles onto the face.

When positioning eyes, place them lower on the head to achieve that “aww”-inducing baby animal look. You’ll be surprised by how just a dot of color transforms an inanimate lump into a cute critter!

Making Ears

Floppy, perky, or pointy—ears speak volumes about an animal’s disposition! Craft ears by simply cutting freehand shapes or tracing a template onto felt. Get creative with shape and size. You can hand-stitch the ears in place or use hot glue for a quicker alternative.

Attaching wire inside upright ears will enable posing and animation. An additional touch is fuzzy stuffing inside to give dimension. Ears positioned high on the head give a more innocent, juvenile look. Place them low for a mature appearance.

Have fun with creative variations like tattered bunny ears, heart-shaped bear ears, or comically tall hound ears!

Embroidery and Accessories

Toads with warts, pigs with curly tails, pandas with buttons—use embroidery floss and your imagination to embellish with any distinguishing marks or attributes that capture an animal’s charm. Outline features with basic back stitches or get fancy with more complex techniques.

Accessories like bow ties, bandanas, glasses, hats, and tutus open up more possibilities for customization. Simply cut shapes from colorful remnants of felt or fabric and stitch, glue, or tightly tie onto your stuffed critter. You can also crochet scarves or mini sweaters to finish off the look.

Let accessory fun spark storytelling—is your meow sporting a Zorro mask ready for adventure or does your sloth need reading glasses for bookish hobbies?

Animal Sample Accessories
Panda Bamboo strip, flower
Bunny Bowtie, carrot bag
Turtle Mini top hat, bowtie

When our fuzzy friends start to feel a little bare, a charming addition like googley eyes, perky ears, bright embroidery, or trendy hats can give them just the boost of personality they need. Let the compliments and cuddles commence!


With some felt sheets, stuffing, thread, needles, scissors, and sewing skills you can create endless stuffed animals. It may take some trial and error at first but keep practicing your cutting, sewing, and filling techniques.

Soon you’ll be crafting professional looking custom critters as gifts and home décor.

We covered everything from picking supplies to assembling, stuffing, and decorating homemade felt plushes. Use your imagination to design new creatures and have fun bringing them to life!

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