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Seventeen months ago, I became a mommy. For the first time! Now, I had been a step-mom to four beautiful girls for some time, but I had yet to have a baby in my household, at least not full-time. As of November 2015, that all changed. My sweet little wild man was born… and not only did my life change, but my crafting changed.
I used to knit shawls, crochet scarves, and hem dresses. Now I knit teddy bears, crochet baby blankets, and sew taggie toys. Nearly every craft I do or think about centers around my son.
Unfortunately, as a first-time mom, I didn’t know ahead of time what my son would want or need. I also didn’t know many of the items could be made right in my craft room for less than buying them in a store. So, I was late on almost everything. I bought when could have made. Or, my son didn’t have it at all.
Taggie toys are a big example. I had never seen them. I had never even heard of them. So, my son didn’t get one until he was nearly 15 months old.
You see folks, I discovered taggie toys only a few months ago when nearly all the teeth in my son’s mouth decided to come in all at once. He was in terrible pain. Desperate to help him, I decided to look for an alternative to baby Tylenol and the frozen teethers he simply refused to use.
I consulted the great and powerful Google and was blessed with about a million pictures of various teething toys. Some made of silicon, some in rings, some crocheted, etc… But one picture really caught my attention. It was a taggie toy with a wooden teething ring. I immediately thought, “DJ would love that!’
As I continued to search I came across a package of 10 wooden teething rings on Amazon. It may seem stupid to you, but that’s when it hit me. I could make this stuff! I mean, why not? I had a ton of scrap material and ribbon. All I needed were the rings. I fixed that issue with a quick click on the Amazon ad.
A few days later, my son had his first taggie toy and he was happily chomping down on the wooden teether. ?
What Are Taggie Toys?
Taggie toys are baby toys that have textured tags placed all over them. If I had to take a guess, I would say that some super mom noticed that no matter what toy she gave her baby, he was most interested in the little tag hanging from it. She ran to her craft room and voilà created the first taggie toy. True or not, whoever did invent them was a genius because babies do in fact LOVE them!
Taggie toys can be made in various sizes and in all sorts of shapes from a basic square, balls, and even animal shapes. They can also be made into pillows, blankets, and mats or added to bouncers. Taggie toys sewn with various textured materials are great for a baby’s sense of touch and some research suggests that it stimulates learning.
Regardless, taggie toys seem to soothe and comfort babies, providing them with a sense of safety & security.
I decided to make mine a crinkle taggie toy because I noticed how much my son loves his crinkle soft books. He really enjoys making noise!
Cost of a DIY Taggie Toy
I’ve seen taggie toys for sale online from $8.00 to $35.00, depending on the materials used and the toy’s creativity. Stuffed taggie toy animals or blocks tend to cost more. Taggie toys with teethers or other added toys will also be priced higher.
Regardless, a homemade taggie toy can be made for cheaper than buying one from a store, because you can often use scrap fabric and trimmings that you already have. Taggie toys are a great scrap buster project!
Here’s a breakdown of how much my taggie toy cost:
- Fabric from a local second-hand store: $0.50. I only used two squares from the fabric, which was probably about $0.05.
- Three spools of ribbon from Michaels: $3.50. I only used seven 2-inch pieces of ribbon. I am guessing this is about $0.10 (or less) worth of material.
- Organic wooden teething rings from Amazon: $10.00. I bought a set of 10 but only used 1, so the real cost was $1.00.
- Plastic from a cereal bag: $0.00.
Total materials cost: $14.00.
Total cost of one taggie toy: about $1.15.
I estimate that, with the materials I had for this project, I could have made 5-8 taggie toys for under the total materials cost of $14.00. Yet, it would have cost me about $5.00-8.00 to buy one like it online!
Since I have not seen taggie toys in stores, I cannot speak for in-store prices. I can only assume that they are similar to online prices. Considering this, it is much more economical to make your own taggie toys than to buy them!
DIY Crinkle Taggie Toy Tutorial
Making taggie baby toys does not need a lot of skill and can be finished in four easy steps and in about fifteen minutes.
Step 1 Gather the materials.
The materials needed to make a taggie toy include:
- It’s fine to use the same fabric for both sides. However, I chose a multi-colored printed fabric for one side and solid orange soft fleece on the other side, just to increase the number of colors and textures.
- If possible, use brightly colored fabric or contrasting like black and white so that the baby is visually stimulated.
- You can use any ribbon, bias tape, lace, etc.. you want. Just make sure that the material doesn’t fray.
- I used three different ribbons of varying textures, widths, and colors/patterns because using an assortment of colors and textures for the trimming materials make the toys more attractive to a baby’s sense of touch.
7. Crinkle paper
- I have found crinkle paper used specifically for taggie toys on Etsy, but I haven’t actually bought any, so I can’t recommend one particular shop. Simply go to Etsy and search for crinkle paper. Several shops will pop up.
- I chose to make my crinkle taggie toy a little more DIY and used a plastic bag from a Nilla Wafer’s box. You can also use the plastic from a cereal box or a cracker box. It doesn’t matter, as long as you thoroughly clean and dry the plastic before use.
- If you are going to make taggie toys to sell, I would recommend buying crinkle paper. Ultimately, it’s just more professional.
8. Teething rings or other toys (optional)
- I added a wooden teething ring to mine because, for me, the point of the toy was to give my son something to chew on in hope of soothing his teething troubles.
Step 2 Prepare the materials.
1. Clean the plastic bag if you are doing the DIY method.
- Remember, the bag used to contain food. To prevent bugs being attracted to the toy, the bag needs to be thoroughly washed and dried before it is used. Make sure to remove all the crumbs and any other food residue.
- To do this, use a pair of scissors to gently split the bag along the seams and cut up the side to make one flat piece. Wipe the plastic piece clean using soapy water and a dishcloth/sponge. Rinse it thoroughly and let it air dry or dry it by hand.
2. Cut the fabric.
- You need to have two pieces of material that are the same in size and shape. These will form the front and back of the toy.
- The ideal size is about 8×8 inches, but it is really up to you. I actually made mine 7×7 inches because I used scrap fabric and that’s what worked best for the material I had.
- The pieces don’t need to be perfect squares, so if your cutting isn’t exact, that’s okay. You can even cut the fabric into the shape of an animal or other objects, as long as it does not have long thin areas that would be difficult to turn inside out.
3. Cut the washed plastic piece.
- Cut your crinkle paper to the same dimensions and shape as your fabric.
- One piece of crinkle paper is enough, but if you want the toy to be extra crinkly you can use two pieces.
4. Cut & Fold the ribbon.
- Decide how many ribbon pieces you want on the taggie toy. It honestly doesn’t matter as long as the ribbons don’t interfere with the baby’s ability to play with or recognize the toy.
- Cut the ribbon into 2-3 inch pieces.
- Fold the ribbon pieces in half. These will create small loops along the edge of the toy. I found it helpful to iron my ribbon pieces to help them stay folded, but this isn’t necessary.
Step 3 Layer the pieces.
Lay the first piece of fabric on your work surface. If it has a right and a wrong side, make sure you put the right side up. I started with the orange fleece, which is the same on both sides, so I didn’t have this issue.
Arrange the ribbon pieces around the edges. The ribbon pieces need to be spaced around the edge of the fabric so that the small looped sections hang off the edge of the material.
- The looped sections can be as long or short as you would like, just as long as the sections lying on the fabric are enough so that the ribbons stay secure when sewn. The loops should be pinned so that they stay in place while sewing.
- It’s alright if the ribbons lay across each other because the toy will be turned right side out and the tags will hang freely along the edge.
- Be sure to attach the ribbons on the toy or blanket in places that will not hinder the baby’s ability to play with or recognize it.
- If you are adding teethers or any other toys, insert them into the ribbon loops before you pin the loops down.
Place the other piece of material on top of the ribbon pieces. If it has a right and a wrong side, make sure you put the right side down. The right side is the side with the pattern.
- Align the edges of the two pieces of material so that they can be sewn together properly.
- The two pieces of material need to be pinned together along the edges. To do this, remove the pins and reattach them into all three layers: ribbons, and two fabric pieces.
Lay the plastic piece on top. Although one piece of the plastic bag is enough, some people prefer to use more than one piece for an extra crinkly sound.
- Place the plastic piece on top of the two pieces of fabric and ribbons.
- The plastic piece does not need to be entirely flat because it will become wrinkled when the baby plays with it. This wrinkling of the plastic is what will make the crinkling sound.
- Remove the pins from the three layers and reattach the pins into all four layers: plastic, ribbons, and two pieces of fabric.
Step 4 Finishing.
Sew the layers together, leaving a gap of 2 to 3 inches (5.1 to 7.6 cm) on one side. Using a straight stitch on a sewing machine, sew all the way around the edge of the toy or blanket, but leave a gap of 2-3 inches unsewn.
- The plastic may make it a little difficult for the sewing machine to pull the toy through while sewing, so you might have to help guide it along.
- Leave at least a 1/4-inch seam allowance along the edge to make sure your sewn seams are secure.
Turn the toy right-side out. After trimming, pull the layers through the 2-3 inch gap you left in step 3.
- Trim the edges as necessary. Remove an excess plastic, fabric, or thread that sticks out too far. Cut the corners at an angle. This makes it easier to pull the toy right-side out through the opening.
Securely hand stitch the opening closed. To make an invisible seam, use the ladder (also called the blind hem) stitch.
- If you don’t know how to do this stitch, Sew McCool has a great picture tutorial.
Double check the toy or blanket. Once you are finished stitching, check the toy, especially the edges, for loose ends, threads, or hazardous materials before giving it to your baby to enjoy.
That’s it! You’re done!
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Until next time… Happy Sewing!