How to Make a DIY Crinkle Baby Toy
Sewing your own baby crinkle toys is a fun, quick, and satisfying project! I’ve made crinkle toys for my own children and as gifts to new parents. Babies just love chewing on crinkly toys and this gift is always a hit! You can add little loops and chew toys to the edges for extra fun and vary the fabrics used. The crinkly material can easily be up-cycled from empty snack bags and it’s a scrap-friendly project. Ready to get started? Let’s go!
The crinkle toy I have photographed as my example will be a tooth toy. Remember I mentioned they make great gifts? Well, my children’s dentist just had a baby- and she’s an amazing dentist who has been so good to my family so I wanted to make something special for her!
Preparing Your Toy Pattern
You can make any simple shape into a baby’s crinkly toy. The key is to try to avoid too many sharp corners and skinny arms, etc since you’ll be flipping it inside out. Although if you really want to have skinny arms and legs go ahead but just don’t sew the crinkly material into that portion.
Mark where the eyes, etc will be placed. Also, decide if you’ll be adding any taggies or loops for the baby to play with as well. Mark where you’ll want those. Draw a half-inch seam allowance around the edge and mark the 3” gap for turning.
Cutting out the Fabrics
You’ll need two layers at a minimum for the toy, a front and back piece. For my tooth, I added an interlining layer made of white cotton fleece as well (upcycled from an old shirt). It serves many purposes: giving the toy extra softness, shape, and absorption and also keeping the letters from the snack bag from showing through to the front of the toy through the white fabric.
I’ve used this awesome Frixion erasable pen to draw all over the fabric and mark it. This pen completely disappears like magic on most fabrics when it’s ironed. It does “ghost” or leave a light residue on dark colors and I’ve heard if you expose your fabric to freezing temps the marks can come back. For light colors and marking eye placement, etc I think it’s great! Make sure to transfer all marks onto the fabric- eyes, opening placement, and where to sew in the taggies and loops.
Sewing on the Face
Cut out your eyes and mouth from felt and pin to the front piece. If using an interlining you can go ahead and sew the eyes and mouth down to both layers, it will give the face more loft and make it easier to turn right-side out later, but if you forget (like I did in my example pictures) don’t worry. When sewing reduce your stitch length so it’s easier to go around the small little pieces. Clip your threads.
Taggies, Loops, and Chewing Beads
At this stage clip any ribbons you want to make into taggies. Cut a length of ribbon about 3” long, fold in half and line up the raw edges of the ribbon to the edge of the front piece, where ever you want a taggie to pop out. For now, though, the loop side will be on the inside, on top of the front piece. It will pop out when it’s flipped right side out. Go ahead and zig-zag the taggie securely to the front piece within the seam allowance, somewhere from ¼” to under ½” should work nicely! Zig-zagging will control fraying and secure it in place.
Even if you’re not including ribbon taggies you should at the very least include one loop to attach it to things. I usually have ¼” twill tape on hand because I use it for stabilizing shoulder seams in lightweight knit clothing so I’ve made a loop using it. You could also use a thin ribbon or even thick yarn. To make sure it doesn’t get pulled out of the toy, no matter how hard it’s yanked on I tie a knot in the ends and sew it down in the same way as the tags. So, loop facing inwards, raw edges out towards the end. I make sure the knot is placed in the seam allowance and sew it down securely to the seam allowance.
I’ve included some wooden chew toys in this crinkle toy as well. I bought these wooden beads and rings off of Etsy from a US seller that sealed their untreated wood with natural oils and beeswax. You can also buy silicone chewing beads on Etsy as well! When working with beads I make sure to knot between them and sew them the same way as I sewed the loop on- with a knot in the seam allowance to keep it from fraying and getting pulled out.
Sewing It Together
After you’ve tacked on all the extras go ahead and clip the back onto the front, right sides together. Sew all around with a straight stitch, leaving the turn opening un-stitched. Clip your curves. This will prevent the fabric from pulling at the curves and puckering when flipped right side out.
Now, it’s time to add the crinkly material. You can actually buy crinkle material just for this purpose here, or you can have fun eating some chips and up-cycle the bag. I hear chips have no calories when their packaging is used for baby crinkle toys. Make sure to thoroughly wash and dry your material before using it. When ready, clip or pin to the back of the toy. I only roughly cut it to size since it can slip a little while handling, I place it against the feed-dogs and sew from the top so I can see the stitch line. Sew it just beside the seam, within the seam allowance, and increase the stitch length. You want to sew as few holes as possible since this material tears easily. Make sure to start and stop at the marks, leaving the turn hole open. Clip your threads and trim the materials.
Flipping it Right Side Out
Now, carefully flip it right side out. It helps to grab the loops and taggies and pull them through the hole first. The crinkle material can rip at this stage so take your time with this stage and use a chopstick to help you pop out corners and edges. You’re sooo close to being done!
Press & Top-Stitch
Finally, all that is left is pressing it and top-stitching it! Carefully press the edges and press out any wrinkles from flipping, but don’t have the iron temp too high in case your packaging material is meltable. Turn the edges of the turn-hole to the inside so they’re flush with the rest of the toy and press. Clip it closed and make sure to sew it closed when top-stitching. If some of your crinkly material slipped out of place use a chopstick to move it back into place and clip it. When you top-stitch you’ll be able to secure the crinkly material in place. Top-stitch at a medium-long stitch length like 3.5. Clip your threads and you are finished, my friend!
Now, there are so many variations of this toy that you can make- truly the sky is the limit, let your creativity go wild! Over the years I’ve made a taggie hedgehog, and a crinkle jellyfish and my preschool-aged son even designed and helped me sew a crinkle dinosaur toy for his baby sister from his own drawing! Grab your scrap bag and make something special for the little special babies in your life!