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