Turn Child’s Drawing into Stuffed Toy/Doll

 

My little girl is in love with her art box.  She loves the crayons and markers and pencils and scissors.  Oh, the glue too.  But I constantly find her with her hand caught in my printer paper.  She grabs whole stacks at a time and draws picture after picture…….drawing to her little heart’s content.  Her sketches can be found all over the fridge, in little stacks on the counter, hanging from clothes pins in my bedroom, tucked away inside of drawers, used as bookmarks, and given away as gifts. During crazy clean-up-the-house-before-I-go-crazy rampages, I have been known to toss some of her drawings in the trash.  Can you blame me?  These little drawings are coming out of every nook and cranny in our home.  However, the other day I stopped while I was about to throw another stack of drawings in the trash.  I, for some reason, sat and stared at her drawings.  I realized that she is really picking up on details…………..adding finger nail polish to fingers, adding boogers to a drawing of her little brother (who has a cold!), freckles on cheeks, stains on Tshirts, and the exact amount of wheel spokes on a drawing of her bicycle.  Drawing is her little world right now.  It satisfies her.  And connects her with the world around her.  So, in that moment, I stopped and enjoyed my 5 year old through her drawings.  And haven’t been able to throw away a single drawing since then.  (Heaven help me!  I need a storage unit, just for her drawings!)

 

So when I saw online, the concept of turning children’s drawings into stuffed toys (have you seen this site? amazing!), it made sense.  I wanted to freeze the moment.  And to transform some of this 5-year-old art into something she could hold.  And love on.

 

 

 

Can I just tell you how sweet the surprise was on her face, when I explained what I did?  I showed her the picture she had drawn (the other day) and asked her to compare the doll to her drawing.  She was shocked.  And so excited to have one of her drawings come to life.  Let me tell you, what a quick way to make a little kiddo feel incredibly special.

 

 

One day, I will miss all the scribbled drawings on every last inch of scratch paper.  So this really captures her in this moment.

 

 

And reminds me of what she loved most at this age.  Drawing.

 

 

The best part, is that the doll/stuffed toy doesn’t have to be perfect.  Because the drawing isn’t perfect.

 

 

But that’s what makes this project so fun.

 

 

Would you like to turn a drawing into a toy?

 

First of all, like mentioned above, I have seen this idea shared on the internet……it’s not my own concept.  My most favorite collection of drawing transformations is found here.  This website turns your own children’s drawings into masterpieces, for a price.  The interest has been so high that the site has a waiting list of over 500 drawings to transform (eek!).  So instead of waiting for someone else to turn your child’s artwork into a toy……..give it a try yourself. 

 

Anyway, to begin, start rummaging through your child’s artwork.  Or ask them to draw one that they would like to see turned into a toy. 

 

 

 

**Now, keep in mind that your exact steps will be different from mine…….but use mine as an example.  Then you’ll see how easy this can be.**

 

 

First, study the picture.  Decide what fabrics you’ll use.  And then start cutting.  Start with the base of your toy and then work outwards.  This drawing had a head (with no neck) and then a blue shirt and grey skirt.  So I cut those out first……trying to keep them as proportional to the picture as I could.  (Be sure to add a seam allowance around all edges.  I gave myself about a 1/4 inch.)  And I cut a front piece and a back piece for each of these main sections.  So I cut out 2 heads, 2 shirts, and 2 skirts………making the fronts and backs exactly the same.

 

 

 

Then, before sewing any pieces together, it’s easiest to add the detail first.  So, I noticed there were little flowers drawn onto the shirt in the drawing, so I added piles of little circles onto the front……..and stitched them into place in the centers.  (Only sewing through the FRONT shirt piece.)

 

 

Then I added eyes, a nose, and a mouth to the front side of the head.  I ironed fusible adhesive to the backs of each piece, then ironed them onto the head, then stitched around each piece.  (Need help with fusible web?  Go here.)

 

Now, it was time to sew all the front pieces together, then all the back pieces.  I sewed the bottom of the shirt to the top of the skirt first, with right sides together.  (Use whatever seam allowance you gave yourself when cutting out the pieces.)

 

 

Then, I put the head in place, right where the curves needed to be.  Then I placed a pin on one side, where the head met the shirt.

 

Then I folded the head down onto the shirt, so that rights sides of fabric were together……matching up the pin with the edge of the shirt.

 

Then I started sewing, using the seam allowance that I allowed myself when cutting…….and started sewing the head to the shirt.  If you have 2 wavy lines you are trying to join together, sew very slowly.  I had to stop and adjust my fabric every few stitches.

 

And because this was such a big curve, I needed to cut notches into the curve so that it would lay nicely after I turned it.  (Need help with cutting on curves?  Go here.)

 

Once I turned it to the right side, I could see my curve.  Then I pressed it flat.

 

Now, you should have a front piece (maybe with some detail on it like mine) and then a back piece that is exactly like the front piece.  If you have any sort of extremities to add on, you should do so before adding the front and back pieces together.  I had arms and legs to add on……so that’s what I made next.

 

For the arms, I just cut strips of fabric, turned them into tubes, and then turned them right side out.  Then I sewed one end closed.  (Need help turning a tube right side out?  Go here.)

 

Then I stuffed my tubes with stuffing.  Using a pencil to shove the stuffing in really helps.  (Need help with that?  Go here.)

 

Then sew the other end closed.

 

For the hands, the drawing had circles with little stick fingers coming out of them.  I used fleece for this part because I knew I wouldn’t have to hem my edges and plus, it’s nice and thick and holds its shape well.  So I cut 2 circles for each hand and 5 little fingers for each hand too.

 

Then I sewed each of the 5 fingers onto one of the circles.  Then I added the arm to the opposite end as the fingers and stitched that right to the fleece.

 

 

Then, I added the other circle to the top of the first circle, enclosing all of the little fingers inside.  I sewed all the way around the circle, leaving the arm out and not sewing where the arm poked out.

 

 

Then I flipped the hand right side out, exposing all of the little fingers.

 

 

Then I stuffed some batting inside and then tucked the raw edges in and hand stitched it closed.

 

 

Next, the legs.

 

I cut out legs with the little feet attached.  The drawing had little lumps for feet that were different from each other…….so I tried to keep that same look.  (I also made sure to add extra fabric for a seam allowance.)  I cut a front and a back piece for each leg.

 

Then I sewed each front and back piece together (with right sides together), leaving an opening at the top.  Then I trimmed around the foot and cut slits into the corners where the foot attaches to the leg, so that when turned right side out, it will lay nicely.

 

 

I turned both legs right side out and stuffed with batting.  Then I sewed each leg shut at the top.

 

Next, I grabbed the front body piece (and set the back piece aside) and attached the arms and legs where they needed to go.  Be sure to place the arms and legs inward and match up raw edges.

 

Then I placed the back body piece right on top of the front piece (with right sides together) and pinned around all the edges, enclosing the arms right inside.  (I let the feet dangle out because I didn’t sew along the bottom.)

 

Then, I sewed around the entire body, starting at the bottom corners.  I also left the very bottom open so that I could turn the doll right side out.

 

Then I cut off corners and clipped curves (more on that here) and then turned the doll right side out.  Next, I stuffed the doll full of batting, tucked in the raw edges, and then hand stitched the bottom closed.

 

Lastly, the hair.

 

The drawing showed stiff pieces of hair.  So I cut long strips of brown fleece and sewed them into tubes and turned them right side out.

 

Then I placed them on the top of the doll’s head and then hand stitched them right to the head.  I just wrapped the thread around the strips, then poked my needle through the doll’s head and pulled tight.  I repeated that about 3 times then knotted the end.

 

Then I did the same thing 2 more times, to really secure the hair in place.

 

 

 

And that was it.

A drawing turned into a doll.

 

 

Now, my little guy wants me to help him draw a dinosaur, so that I can turn that into a toy for him.

 

Seriously, one of the most fun projects I’ve done in a while.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Children, Featured, Kid Craft, Sewing

Comments

103 Responses to “Turn Child’s Drawing into Stuffed Toy/Doll”
  1. 1
    Josie says:

    Love this! You did such a great job!

    My kids are constantly giving me drawings that they want me to make into a “stuffie” for them. I use almost the exact same process as you.

    One thing I’ve found is that they love these things so much that they take them everywhere. So, the stuffies can take quite a beating. The first few I made quickly developed popped seams and the arms and legs started to detach. I had to do extensive repairs by hand. So, now, I’m better about reinforcing the seams, usually with a zig-zag. Also, I add extra reinforcement stitching to where the arms and legs attach, and extra secure stitching to buttons and add-ons.

  2. 2
    Jessica says:

    Ok, that is just awesome! Definitely a treasure!

  3. 3
    Anna H says:

    That is incredible. You rock!

  4. 4
    Tia says:

    Maybe I need a nap, but this brought me to tears. This is a true treasure. Thank you so much for the idea and detailed tutorial.

  5. 5
    Rachel says:

    I’ve been wanting to do this for my daughter for a few months. Unfortunately I’ve been a bit overwhelmed with my suddenly growing business that I haven’t managed to find the time! My little one is 4 and she is just like your daughter, her artwork is everywhere and nothing makes her happier then paper, crayons, scissors and glue! She likes to watch me sew too so I thought making one of her drawings come to life would be perfect. Seeing how cute yours turned out and the beautiful smile on your daughter’s face makes me want to find the time to do it! Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. 6

    I absolutely love this idea! This is definitely a great way to make your child feel special. I think I might try this for my daughter. Good luck on the dino :-)

  7. 7
    Krystal says:

    This is incredible. You are a very thoughtful mom! Your kids are going to remember their childhood with such fond memories because of you. Brava!!

  8. 8
    julianne says:

    Hey you did it just like this website does it: http://childsown.wordpress.com/ looks good!

  9. 9
    Janny says:

    Great idea! I bet your daughter will remember this for forever. I’m saving this one for when my daughter is able to draw stick figures.

  10. 10

    Would love to do this once my little one is drawing. Such a fantastic idea, thanks for sharing!

  11. 11
    Gena says:

    Love this! Can’t wait to try it! My 2-yr old is only drawing scribbles right now…

  12. 12
    sarah says:

    amazing! what an incredible way to celebrate this time of her life! She will drag that doll to design school in college to continue to inspire her!

  13. 13
    Missy says:

    What a special gift!

  14. 14
    adrienne w says:

    So cute! I’ve seen website that do that and thought it was a great idea! I might just have to try this. My almost 7 year old is really into art, so I’m afraid her drawings would be too detailed, but it’s worth a try. You’ve inspired me once again!

  15. 15
    Tara says:

    I’ve been following your blog for a few weeks, and have gotten so many great ideas! Keep them coming. :)
    THIS is soooo sweet. I would love to try this with all my kids.

  16. 16
    alicia says:

    This is soooo cute. You did an awesome job and the pictures are beautiful.

  17. 17

    Well, of course you did that! I actually saw this idea on Pinterest a couple of weeks ago and thought it was a wonderful idea. The fact that you could figure it all out on your own and execute it so perfectly is incredible. I’m so in awe of all you do and wish I could be like you. :)

  18. 18
    abby says:

    That is such an awesome idea. I am going to have to try this with my kids. Amazing idea! I love it

  19. 19
    Jen says:

    What a great idea! So cute!

  20. 20
    Emily says:

    Everyone’s covered what an awesome job you’ve done with this ;) so I’ll just toss out the idea of a three ring binder. I’m doing mine by school year and I put in whatever art work and school work catches my eye. Not neccessarily the “best” but the original ones or when they show a new skill. Just punch it and store it, you and your kids will love being able to go throygh and see the progression and remember those little drawings. I need to start one for my four year old girl, she’s getting artistic far earlier than my son did! Then I can pick one to stuff!

  21. 21
    Meaghan says:

    I pin a lot of your ideas, sewing tips etc that excite me about my everyday…..but this…..is truly the most delightful post. I have 3 little girls and each of them will dearly love this. Thank you for another wonderful idea.

  22. 22
    Angela says:

    This is so sweet. My friend has a great idea for all those drawings. She scans them and then her kids are not sad when she does not keep them. She has even let them choose their favorite drawings and turn them into books. I want to do this but I am still in the stacks of drawings hanging around the house, maybe one day I will get to it..

  23. 23
    Simply Complex says:

    You are amazing!

  24. 24
    Jamie says:

    My 5 year old daughter draws the most adorable family pictures…I am thinking I am going to make a family of stuffed toys based on her drawings of us! If I get started now…I could give them to her for Christmas! She would love it! And what a fantastic way to save memories. They grow up so fast!
    Jamie

  25. 25

    This is such a great idea. We have picture after picture around the house. It would be great to turn it into something a little more permanent.

    lexmallabooks.com

  26. 26

    This is such a cute idea to encourage children’s creativity and imagination!!! Just shared on facebook!

  27. 27
    Jessica says:

    Oh, man! I just love reading your blog so much! You not only have the most darling projects, but your tutorials are hands-down the best I’ve ever seen. I’m teaching myself to use a sewing machine, and if I have questions I always come to your blog for help! Keep up the great work =)

  28. 28

    Ashley,
    Thank you so much for doing this tutorial.
    You see, I have been looking at the site (from your source) for quite some time. What she does is amazing!
    And I have REALLY considered paying the big bucks to have one of my sweet Lizzy’s drawings made into a creature to hug and hold. Because it is really worth the money.
    But you have inspired and encouraged me to try this.
    Thank you. Really, thank you!
    Jay

  29. 29
    Robyn Marchant says:

    Wow. I am speechless. This is the COOLEST project and one that’s so meaningful to you and your daughter. Nice work Ashley! I LOVE it!!

  30. 30
    Dorothee says:

    Wow, you did amazing job!!
    Your daughter will love you for this fantastic gift as long as she lives!
    And not only the doll you’ve created for her is wonderful, your written thoughts about her (art) also are so very heart warming.
    I had seen this idea before, and since then I can’t wait to try to do this for our little daughter, someday.
    Right now, she is only 21 months old, but she already crazily loves drawing! Wherever we are and she sees paper or pencils, she instantly begins to say that, and wants to draw immediately! At home she draws several times a day, loves it, and it is quite amazing watching her “skills” grow quite every day…
    So I can imagine, that she could be very similar to your daughter, when she is in her age (speaking of the will to draw and paint ;)).
    I can’t wait! :)

  31. 31
    Wyndee says:

    You are amazing! I saw this idea on pinterest and loved it so much. You always make things so clear and easy to understand. Thank you for all the hard work put into your tutorials.

  32. 32
    Chinnu says:

    Totally love the idea. My daughter is just 3mths. Will wait for her to grow up and give me such an oppurtunity.
    Thanks a lot for all the details you have shared here. Have saved this project in my ‘to-do’ list.
    Cheers!!

  33. 33
    anilegra says:

    ME ENCANTA ,COMO TODAS TUS COSAS ,ES PRECIOSO COMO LE HAS DADO FORMA A UN GARABATO1!!!

    Anilegra moda para muñecas

  34. 34
    Marion says:

    Love it !!! You always have great ideas !!!!! I can’t wait to have a new drawing from my daughter so I could surprise her with a new toy !!!!

  35. 35

    Hi Ashley,

    Wow! You just given me an idea of what to give for my son’s birthday. He likes to draw a lot and I’m pretty sure he would love to see his masterpiece turned into a toy. Thank you for sharing this.

  36. 36
    RobyGiup says:

    What a great idea!
    I’m sure your daughter will love this doll more than the “standard” ones!!!

  37. 37
    Stevie M says:

    Oh that is super cute! Such talent! :)

  38. 38
    Cathy says:

    Oh I LOVE this! I saw something similar on Pinterest a while back and they cost a small fortune, so much more affordable ( and meaningful) to do it yourself! great job, thanks for sharing
    Cathy

  39. 39
    nicole j says:

    alright! when my son starts drawing more than scribbles i will be needing your address!

  40. 40
    Ksenia says:

    Wow! That is awesome! I need to go dig though the pile of my son’s drawings.

  41. 41
    Julie Snow says:

    Wow – you amaze me once again!

  42. 42
    sanja says:

    What a great idea! I love it!

  43. 43
    cucicucicoo says:

    oh my goodness! i didn’t know of child’s own studio, but it’s an amazing idea and you are fabulous to have made this doll for your daughter. i can only imagine how thrilled she must have been! bookmarked and i will definitely be doing this! :) lisa

  44. 44
    Dana says:

    I saw an idea similar to this Sept of 2010 that I want to do with my kids and my hubs old artwork. His mother gave him his artwork for Christmas one year and I love the idea of taking the artwork, creating blocks from it and then making the quilt for him. I got the idea from this blog. http://tallgrassprairiestudio.blogspot.com/2010/09/from-out-of-baby-box. She just made the block with raw edge applique and recreated it as best as possible. You could easily make many quilts using different blocks as gifts for grandmas/grandpas/aunts/uncles/friends. I do love the stuffed toy idea though. My kids are teenagers now so they’re a little too old for this. That’s why I love the idea of a quilt. Now just to find the time to get started on it…

  45. 45
    Christine says:

    What a GREAT idea! So cute and meaningful!.

    One question…Are the fingers just one layer of fleece? Or, did you fuse or sew two layers together to make them stiffer or do something else to them?

  46. 46
    Anonymous says:

    You are so amazing!

  47. 47
    Meredith says:

    This is such a cute idea! What a lucky little girl to have a mom like you! Well done :)

  48. 48
    katie m says:

    What a great idea! If you’re looking for other ways to preserver her artwork, scan images of her work, shrink to a small scale and fill the pages with images. You can print it out poster size or larger and have a great memory. The Novogratzes have featured an artist and the technique on their HGTV show. Or for something smaller, scan her pictures into a book program like my publisher or shutterfly and create a wonderful keepsake. Get two copies – one for her and one for you to look back and remember with!

  49. 49
    Andi S says:

    That is absolutely beautiful! You are so talented and I love your tutorial on it. It’s such a great way to make her art come to life!

  50. 50
    Reg says:

    You seemed so surprised when you realized how detailed your little girl’s drawings were. I wasn’t the least bit surprised she could draw so well. I obviously don’t know her, but with you as her Mom, it is only natural for her to also be so talented. Your ideas and tutorials are always the best…..along with your humble and sweet personality. Congrats on another great blog. Have a wonderful time meeting up with all the bloggers this weekend……I just wish I could be there too. But…..going from Connecticut to Colorado is bit far for a meeting.

  51. 51
    Paula Gale says:

    oh wow, this is the best thing I have seen in ages. I have no little girls – just 2 teenage boys, but this is the best thing i’ve read in a while.

    Paula xx

  52. 52

    Oh I look so forward to doing this with my daughter! We’ve got a few years to go before she’s actually drawing anything more than scribble :) such a great post! Thank you!

  53. 53
    Katina says:

    I love your interpretation of the drawing. Fabulous idea!

  54. 54
    Brenda J. Moore says:

    Both are real dolls!! Looks to me as though your doing a great job with both! CONGRATS on things and small persons: SWEET!

  55. 55
    Taylor says:

    How sweet and special!!! She we always treasure her dolly!

    Many blessings!

  56. 56
    missy says:

    I love that you made the doll big enough to snuggle. So cute! I love this idea and am going to dig through my kids’ files to find something I can make! :)

  57. 57
    ira lee henson says:

    thats really a great project!!!!

  58. 58
    nikol says:

    amazing!!!

    i learnt alot from you

    thankyou!

  59. 59
    Annie says:

    This is just phenomenal! What a great job!

  60. 60
    Kristen says:

    Ashley, I have to say I think this is my favorite project you have done so far! I can’t wait for my little guy to start drawing so I can make one of these! Thanks!

  61. 61

    This is probably the best idea ever! They can actually see their drawings in real life. I love it!

  62. 62
    Betty says:

    What a wonderful idea! A perfect way to help our grandchildren experience art and then have it come to life :.)
    Thanks so much for sharing your idea!

  63. 63
    jill says:

    seriously so sweet. I totally got tears in my eyes, and I’m not sure why. My daughter is at the same stage. TONS AND TONS of drawings all spread out everywhere. so sweet

  64. 64
    Cristina says:

    Lovely project! And not difficult at all, thanks for sharing the idea!

  65. 65
    Marina V. says:

    Such a fresh cool idea!!! LOVE, love, love it!!!… Definitely is going to try it!! Thank you sooooo much, Ashley!..

  66. 66
    Jill says:

    What a sweet idea! Thank you!

  67. 67

    This is just so darn CUTE!!
    I look forward to doing this for my grandsons for Christmas!!
    Thank you for posting your idea!
    Kelly on FB
    Sew Lambitious on FB
    Kelly on Pinterest

  68. 68
    Ashley Howe says:

    I’ve just started doing this on my own web site! I have a ton of fun making these one of a kind characters! If anyone is interested in seeing what I am doing, my web site is ChildDesigned.com

  69. 69
    Dodie says:

    What a great idea–I had seen the site and the cost turned me away–You are so right–I can do this myself. Thanks for the encouragement.

  70. 70

    What a good idea! Thank you for the inspiration.

  71. 71
    Dawn says:

    I Love this blog!!!!! Fantastic post!!!! I can’t wait to give this a try my son drew this monster that would be an amazing stuffed animal.

  72. 72
    Chelsea Ward says:

    I love this! My sister drew the most amazing Tyranodragosauricorn that needs to be immortalized via stuffed creature! Thanks for the idea!

  73. 73

    brilliant job and adorable; thank you for your post and the tips!!

  74. 74
    Jess says:

    Great I love it thanks

  75. 75
    Gwen says:

    This is fabulous! I have two little ones that I’ve been doing projects for and wanted to create something special that they would never forget. I think I’ve just found that project. Thank you so much for posting this.

    Sincerely…

  76. 76
    Sarah says:

    That’s an absolutely brilliant idea! A traditional toy with a modern, unique twist! The photograph of your little girl and her doll looks really sweet. (correct me if I’m wrong.) Although I don’t have children myself, in my opinion it makes a refreshing change to see a child playing with a traditional toy such as a doll or teddy bear, instead of expensive, mind-numbing computer games that will go out of fashion and which a kid will end up being bored with sooner or later. I have a sewing machine and although I’m not a professional, whereas you look like you are, I made a quirky doll of my own, which I completed on a rainy afternoon last Thursday and was pleased with the end result – not bad for a novice. The weather here in the UK has been dreadful, though it’s been ok for the Olympics. I digress. I’ve got the ‘bug’ for sewing and have been looking at various other sewing websites, which have ranged from kids toys to handbags. The ‘Ugly dolls’ are very popular and look simple to make. My favourite soft toys are the Keel Toy ‘Monsterous’ toys. I have 3. I’m a big kid when it comes to soft toys, I also like the ‘Jellycat’ range too. Sorry to go on a bit too much. Good luck with other future projects.

  77. 77
    danika says:

    I just stumbled across your blog…. and am in love with so many of the projects you’ve done! This is ADORABLE. I have a 2 year old son, and really look forward to doing this for him someday. What a special thing to do for a kid, and how special they will feel! Love love love it. So glad I came across your blog!

  78. 78
    Dayse Carvalho says:

    True test of love! Sensational! Congratulations!!!!

  79. 79
    Anonymous says:

    wunnerful

  80. 80
    Kate says:

    perfect! I saw where you said you used fleece, but did you say what kind of fabric you used for the face and body? I’m new to sewing and totally overwhelmed with picking fabric.

  81. 81
    Nath says:

    You are so nice ! Thank you

  82. 82
    Sasa says:

    Fantastic!

    I would like to know how long did it took you to make, please?

  83. 83
    Maria says:

    It’s like on this website: http://drawyourtoy.blogspot.com They turn your kid’s drawing into soft toy!!

  84. 84
    sandraanton says:

    well i like cool stuff it is for my daughter

  85. 85
    rani says:

    very nice

  86. 86
    Fereshteh says:

    Today,my 5-year-old boy drew an amazing monster that I fell in live with (on his white board), it was so sad we had to wipe it I took a picture of it to keep but what you showed here will help me make a toy out of it which is really exciting.

    Thanks for your generosity and good luck with your many other toy making projects.

Notes and Comments