What is it about stuffed animals and their ability to multiply? One day we counted them. In our household of two children, we amassed a collection of 75 stuffed animals. Maybe more. We lost count. The precious stuffies stayed on their beds, but the rest we tucked away in the closet, waiting to see if they'd be missed.
Time passed, and I remembered seeing two girls at Maker Faire NY last year walking around with stuffed animals they had cobbled together from various stuffed animal parts. It's the perfect way to save the memory of dear childhood toys while saving space at the same time. And the doing part is all the fun.
We picked a day when my daughter's friend was over to make it extra special, and this could easily work as a party activity. We emptied all of the bags from the closet on the floor and gave the kids one pardon to bestow on any animal they wanted to keep intact. The rest were fair game.
It's good to have a vision. The kids picked stuffed animals with parts they really wanted to work with. We were sure to use iconic parts. I mean, if you're going to cut up a narwhal, you're going to need to use its horn somewhere. Sometimes the empty carcasses made for some interesting fashion accessories.
There was some squabbling over the best parts, but then it can become a trading game. I traded a few limbs to my daughter so these fish eyes could be mine.
Generally, it was easier to hand sew if all of the stuffing was removed. The sewing took patience, and I was glad we left over two hours to finish. Then we re-stuffed, sewed up any remaining holes, and laughed and laughed over our final frankenanimals.
- In addition to a discarded stuffed animal collection, you'll need needles, thread, and sharp scissors. It's helpful to have needle threaders so kids can thread their own needles.
- If you don't have a lot of stuffed animals, consider a potluck party where each kid brings one or two to share.
- Work over a wood or tile floor. We found that working over carpet meant copious amounts of vacuuming followed by a lint roller to get all the stuffing and threads up.
- Pick one animal to be the base body. It's much easier to swap out heads and limbs than it is to try to construct a body shape from pieces of fabric.
- When cutting each body part, be sure to leave extra fabric to be able to sew it onto a new body.
- Try mixing up facial features for hilarious results.
- Be sure to give your new frankenanimal a new name!