When you were growing up, you probably had your very own teddy bear. If you didn’t, we hope you had an equivalent cuddly toy! Our teddy bears were our best friends, and we took them with us everywhere we went. If some of are completely honest, we still know exactly where those teddy bears and cuddly toys are today. They might be hiding in the corner of the bedroom, or the attic, but we could never quite bring ourselves to throw them out!
If you’re a parent, you’re probably quite keen for your baby to have a teddy bear or cuddly toy friend of their very own. You wouldn’t want to deny your child the joy you experienced by having a cuddly best friend when you were little! We know the realities of parenting on a budget, though, and we know that spending on toys can sometimes fall under the category of ‘nice’ rather than ‘essential.’
If you’ve found yourself in that situation, don’t despair. You might be surprised to find out that it’s easy to make teddy bears and cuddly toys in general – at home!
How The Teddy Bear Craze Got Started
As much as we might pretend that we all eventually grow out of playing with cuddly toys, we never really do. Many adults still take their favorite cuddly toys with them on vacation. One of the most popular Vegas Slots games in the whole world is called ‘Fluffy Favourites,’ which features a cast of several adorable cuddly toys having gambling-themed adventures. The combination of the adult world of mobile slots and the children’s world of cuddly toys is a strange one, but the popularity of the original was such that multiple sequels have been made. If so many people are playing mobile slots based on cuddly toys, we think it’s fair to say we never grow out of them at all. Bears, after all, are generally fairly savage creatures. They’re an odd choice to make cuddling and sleeping partners for infant children, and you certainly wouldn’t want to try cuddling a bear in the wild if one ever approached you. Your best bet in those circumstances is to run in the opposite direction as fast as you possibly can.
Somewhat remarkably, the teddy bear is actually named after Theodore Roosevelt, the former President of the United States of America. Roosevelt once refused to shoot a bear whilst it was tied up and defenseless while on a hunting trip (he considered it ‘unsporting behavior’), and an enterprising toy shop quickly knocked up a plush velvet bear as soon as the story was reported in the news. The bears were sold as ‘Teddy’s Bear,’ and the name stuck. It’s unlikely Roosevelt himself would have been a huge fan; he hated being called ‘Teddy,’ and he probably enjoyed being connected with cuddly toys even less!
Back To Building A Bear!
We told you that building a teddy bear (or any cuddly animal of your choosing!) was an easy task, and we meant it. All you need to do is follow these basic steps, and you should end up with a new best friend for your child. You’ll need to be able to sew, by the way. We figured you’d probably have realized that already!
Take two pieces of felt. Draw yourself an outline of whatever cuddly creature you’re trying to create on one of the pieces of felt. It can be a bear, a penguin, a gorilla – whatever you choose! Bear in mind that complicated shapes are harder to work with. Once you’ve finished drawing, place your drawn-on piece of felt on top of the second piece of felt, and cut around your template. You should now have two matching pieces of felt.
Draw on the facial features. You don’t have to do your best work here – you’re really just making an outline for yourself. Use a fabric marker, and draw the cuddly companion’s eyes, nose, ears, whiskers, and any other features required.
Sew buttons onto the eyes. You don’t really see this anymore, but this is what all cuddly toys used to look like! Use some cute, decorative buttons. Also sew along the lines you’ve made for the mouth. Consider using extra pieces of felt if any larger features are required, such as ears. Sew extra buttons on elsewhere if you like. Basically, decorate the cuddly toy however you see fit!
Sew the pieces of felt together – but leave a gap! You’re now sewing the piece of felt you’ve drawn on to the piece of felt that’s blank. Sew all around the top, and all down the sides, nice and tightly. Don’t leave any room for anything to escape. At the bottom of the cuddly toy, leave a gap that’s large enough to fit two or three of your fingers into. This is where you’re going to put the stuffing.
Stuff your toy! They’re not called ‘stuffed animals’ for no good reason. Your objective here is to make the toy nice, soft, and cuddly. You don’t actually need proper stuffing here if you don’t have any – there are a variety of different materials you can use. Cotton wool balls will do just fine. Newspaper will also work, although it will go flat after a while. Any old material you have laying around the house will do just fine, so it’s a good chance to cut up and get rid of old pieces of clothing you don’t want anymore. Just make sure it’s adequately stuffed, and filled right to the edges.
Finish sewing. Once you’re satisfied that your bear is properly stuffed, it’s time to finish sewing it up. Just as you did with the rest of the sewing, make sure it’s tight. You know how rough children can sometimes be when they’re playing; don’t leave room for little fingers to get into the seams.
You’re all done! That’s it – you have a brand new cuddly toy to give to your child, and it shouldn’t have cost you much more than the time it took to put it together!
If you get particularly good at this, you could even set up a small store online selling bespoke cuddly toys. This could be a whole new income stream for you!
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