Felt dinosaur ‘animalito’ toy: a how-to tutorial

Posted under Felt and Felting, Nature and Animal Crafts


My plan today was to photograph some crafty things for some blog tutorials. This dinosaur toy was not one of them!

But little boys who love dinosaurs can be very persuasive and so this impromptu crafty tutorial was born. I’m thinking there are some other little boys out there who might love this dinosaur toy too.

felt dinosaur toy 1

This dinosaur is based on the idea of a Guatemalan ‘animalitos’ soft toys, which means ‘little animals’.  These toys are usually made from brightly coloured hand-woven cloth and while some are 3D, many of the templates I’ve seen over the years are simply two matching shapes sewn together and stuffed.  They are mostly seen in the shape of rabbits, donkeys, and elephants.  A dinosaur diplodocus is just what they are missing, don’t you think?

Making a simple toy like this also offers children an opportunity to join in. They are not too difficult, requiring only one kind of stitch (straight stitch) and are fairly quick to whiz up too. My plan was to help Ned to sew what he could, and then finish the stitching off for him, leaving him to stuff it also. This worked really well, and the whole exercise probably took us 40 minutes. But he spent the rest of the day in ‘Dinosaur Land’, and was proud as punch to show his friends in the street this afternoon.

(Did I mention that I was able to finish off my crafty photography in peace too?)

To make your own, here is what to do:

1.   Draw a dinosaur template onto a piece of cardboard.  It doesn’t have to be mine, although I’ve included the diplodocus dinosaur template here for you just in case. Print it out (you may need to reduce the size on your printer so it fits on an A4 sheet- I reduced mine to 35% and 40% and both were close to a perfect fit), trace it onto cardboard if you prefer, then cut it out.
2.   Place the template onto a large piece of felt (I used white) and cut two identical shapes. Set aside. 

felt dinosaur toy 3 spine
3.   Now pin your template onto another piece of felt (I used red).  Use scissors to freehand cut your ‘bumpy’ spine of the dinosaur to match the curve. You’ll need a two centimetre buffer underneath this spine that will sit between the two felt dinosaur shapes when you sew it together.

felt dinosaur toy 6

4.  This is how it looks when you pin the whole thing together. When working with beginners, I often mark out the ‘route’ for them in faint pencil as this can give them a guideline and build confidence so that they are willing to have a go freehand fairly quickly.  
felt dinosaur toy 9 sewing

5.  Ned and I worked together.  He did the ‘up’ stitches and I helped him with the diving ‘down’ stitches.
felt dinosaur toy 10 counting

Ned was also interested in counting the stitches he had made and practising his new number skills.  It is a bit of an obsession at the moment- counting forwards AND backwards.
felt dinosaur toy 12 stuffing legs

6.   When the stitching was almost complete, Ned took fine slivers of wool fleece (you could use cotton wool too) and poked them into the dinosaur using a skewer stick. The key is to push in a little bit of stuffing at a time.  This allows you to get it into just the right spot.  Otherwise, it bulks up and some of the shape will be left stuffing-less.
felt dinosaur toy 13

7.   Work on the narrow areas first- the neck, and the legs for instance.
felt dinosaur toy 14 eye beads

8.   Sew up the final seams.  Then you can add your embellishments.  This diplodocus needed some blue eyes.
felt dinosaur toy 18

9.  Then it was time to adventure out into the world with Ned.  Oh, such fun.

felt dinosaur toy 16



Download a printable crafty PDF file of this felt dinosaur toy craft, filled with more photographs and step-by-step detail.


PS:  Make my day if you like this craft by sharing this tutorial with your Facebook or Twitter friends.  Or Pin it!   Thank you!

4 Responses to “Felt dinosaur ‘animalito’ toy: a how-to tutorial”

  1. Stacey

    Lovely tute Amber, my girl loves dinosaurs. I think most kids go through a stage at least regardless of sex :)

  2. Amber

    Thank you Stacey. Yes, I bet many girls love them too. Very true! My son told me today that when he grows up he wants to work in a museum and look at the dinosaur models everyday… but not in Australia. In America. I told him that is great, because I always wanted to live in America! -Yes, he is not getting out of my sight for a while :)

  3. Christine

    Fantasic, I’ve copied this for my friend who is have a themed birthday party for her son. Happy to pass onto her. Thank you for a great service.

  4. Amber

    We are having a dinosaur party here on Saturday too. Will post what we did next week. Fun and games! Thanks for sharing.

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