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.