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How to Make Soft Toys - Stuffed Octopus, Stuffed Mermaid & Stuffed Crab

Soft Stuffed Octopus

Soft Stuffed Octopus

How to Make a Soft Stuffed Octopus

Here is a delightful soft, stuffed Octopus which is so simple, children will be thrilled to make one.

The materials needed are inexpensive and readily obtainable, in fact, the only thing you may have to buy is the 4 ounces of wool. The Octopus in the picture has eyes made with blue, white and black felt, but any scraps of contrasting color felt that you may happen to have can be equally effective.

This soft stuffed Octopus can easily be made in about an hour, so for those who like quick results, this is the ideal toy to make!

You Will Need:

  • 4 Ounces synthetic double knit wool
  • 3 Strands of white double knit wool for stitching mouth
  • 8 Strands of double knit wool each 4 inches long to tie legs
  • Scraps of felt to make eyes
  • 2 - 1 inch diameter light blue felt circles
  • 2 - ½ inch diameter white felt circles for
  • 2 - ¼ inch diameter dark blue felt circles
  • Black felt for the eyelashes
  • Old tights or stockings for stuffing head

Start your Octopus by winding the 4 ounces of wool to make a 30 inch skein. That is just the length of half the skein so the circumference of it will be 60 inches.

Use up all the wool but make sure you have enough left to tie the end of each leg.

For this you will need eight strands altogether, each about 4 inches long. Having finished your winding, tie the two loose ends of the skein together.

Draw the skein out so that it is taut and even and tie a piece of wool round one side of your skein exactly in the middle.

Cut the other side, also in the middle opposite the tie.

This should leave you with a bunch of wool 60 inches long with a tie in the middle.

Holding the wool with one hand where it has been tied, select a strand from the hanging bunch and wind it tightly around the other hanging strands two inches below the tie.

Tie the end of this to another strand in order to make the tie secure.

Make the Head

For the head, make a tight, firm ball out of old tights or stockings.

The head on the above Octopus is about 5 inches in diameter.

Separate your bunch of strands in half and place the ball under the tie you have just made.

Gathering the wool firmly together beneath the head, pull the wool evenly over the ball.

Still keeping the wool taut and even over the head, tie underneath the head, using two strands of wool as before.

Make the Legs

Separate the remainder of the wool into eight equal parts and plait each bunch, leaving about 1½ inch loose at the end of each leg.

Use your 4 inch long pieces of wool to tie each of the legs securely.

Add the Features

Cut out the different colored eye circles and the eyelashes from your scraps of felt.

Assemble the eyes and sew them onto the head as shown in the photograph.

Stitch on the mouth, using the white wool and to complete your Octopus, cut the loop of wool on top of the head and fluff the 'hair'.

How to Make a Japanese Yarn Octopus

Soft Stuffed Mermaid

Soft Stuffed Mermaid

How to Make a Soft Stuffed Mermaid

This alluring creature is more likely to beguile teenagers (or even adults) rather than small children! She is simple, and great fun to make. The human half of her anatomy, from top of head to waist, measures 8½ inches.

You Will Need:

  • Piece of pink felt about 12 inches by 17 inches for head and body
  • Piece of green lurex or other iridescent fabric about 12½ by 11 inches for tail
  • Piece of white lurex jersey fabric (or any fancy fabric) 10 inches by 6 inches for skirt
  • Thick knitting yarn (yellow) for hair
  • Pearl beads for necklace
  • Small shell for pendant
  • Sewing thread
  • Filing
  • Embroidery threads for features
  • Ruler
  • 1 Inch squared paper and pencil

Make the Pattern

Draw the two pattern pieces in Figure 1 to full size on 1 inch squared paper. Note that only half the head and body section is given in the diagram, and this must be placed to a fold of felt when cutting out.

Or, if this is difficult because of the thickness of the felt, draw the pattern itself on folded paper so when you cut it out you get a complete body section.

Figure 1 - Half body and the tail - each square = 1 inch

Figure 1 - Half body and the tail - each square = 1 inch

Make the Mermaid

Back and front are identical, so cut the head and body section twice in pink felt. (Note that the measurements given are the minimum for a single piece of felt, but you may be able to use two separate pieces for the back and front.)

Cut two tail pieces from the lurex fabric, one of these in reverse. Allow ¼ inch for turnings.

Sew the two pink felt pieces together all the way around from one side seam to the other, leaving the lower edge open.

Turn inside out and stuff firmly, pushing the filing well down into the arms and hands.

With right sides facing, sew the two tailpieces together, leaving the top open.

Turn right side out and stuff from tips of tail as far as the hip line indicted by the doted line A-B in Figure 1.

Note: A crochet hook works great for pushing that stuffing onto tighter places!

Figure 2 - The mermaid's mini skirt is made from two pieces 4 1/2 inches wide at waist and 2 3/4 inches deep

Figure 2 - The mermaid's mini skirt is made from two pieces 4 1/2 inches wide at waist and 2 3/4 inches deep

Now insert the body into the tail part, pulling the top up to the waistline like a pair of pants and making sure that there is no gap in the stuffing and that the figure is a good shape.

If necessary insert more stuffing in the body or tail.

When you are satisfied, turn in the top edge of the tailpiece and stitch to the body.

Make a little flared skirt with scalloped edge as shown in Figure 2 and attach this just above the waist joint.

Figure 3 - Trace and embroider the actual size features

Figure 3 - Trace and embroider the actual size features

Add Hair & Features

Cut lengths of yellow yarn, the shortest one (for the front) about 11 inches and graduating them to about 28 inches long.

Lay them across the head from side to side and curving downward at the back so that they fall naturally to well below the mermaid's waist.

Catch the strands with a few stitches along the center parting, down the back and at the sides of the face.

Embroider 'googly' blue eyes with black lashes, two red dots for the nose and a smiling red mouth as shown in Figure 3.

With pink thread make straight stitches on the hands for fingers.

Make a choker necklace of pearl beads and hang the shell pendant around the mermaid's neck by a thread.

Your maritime charmer is now complete.

Soft Stuffed Crab

Soft Stuffed Crab

How to Make a Soft Stuffed Crab

Here is a rather different toy to make. The pattern is for a really giant crab (38 - 40 inches across the back) which can be an exciting addition to the nursery as a large cushion or haul about toy.

The pattern can be scaled down for smaller versions and claws and or legs can be made in a different color from the body. Fabric amounts for the separate parts of the body are given below.

You Will Need:

  • Soft fabric - felt or toweling
  • 1½ Yards 36 inches for body
  • 1½ Yards for second and third legs
  • 1 Yard for claws and front legs
  • Scraps of felt or fabric for eyes and back markings
  • Foam chips for stuffing
  • Large snap fasteners for attaching eyes and legs (optional)
  • String for tying leg joints
  • Needle and matching thread
  • Large-eyed needle and thick wool
  • Piece of cardboard for base support

Draw up the pattern pieces in Figure 1 to full size on 4 inch squared paper and use them to cut out two of pieces 1 and 2 (one of each reversed) and 5: four of pieces 3 (two reversed) 4, and 6 (two reversed); eight of piece 7 (four reversed); eight of piece 8.

Figure 1 - Each Square = 1 Inch

Figure 1 - Pattern Pieces

Figure 1 - Pattern Pieces

Fold back the edges of pieces 1 and 2 along the broken lines, tape them together (see Figure 2), place AB along a fold in the fabric and cut a base piece for the crab body.

Cut a piece of cardboard a couple of inches smaller all around than this base piece.

This cardboard will hold the base of the crab flat, allowing the stuffing to fill out the shell above.

Figure 2 - 8 - Sewing the Pattern Pieces

Figure 2 - 8

Figure 2 - 8

Make the Body

Sew together pieces 1 and 2 in pairs to make the two halves of the shell.

Join these halves to complete the shell (Figure 3).

Sew together the shell and body base (right sides together) leaving open along the tail (Figure 4).

Turn this body case right side out and insert cardboard.

Continue sewing the shell and base together, leaving a gap for stuffing.

Run a line of stitching around the case edge ½ inch in just to strengthen and neaten the edge.

Stuff the body, pushing the foam chips in above the cardboard to make the shell dome.

Close gap and stitch edge to strengthen as before.

Use thick yarn and a large eyed needle, make large blanket stitches through stuffed front edge of shell to produce scalloped effect. (Figure 5)

Make the Legs

To make one front claw, sew in claw gusset between two claw pieces matching points C and D.

Sew claw pieces together around sides, leaving open across bottom (Figure 6).

Turn right side out and stuff.

Take two of piece 4 and sew together down sides EF and GH, leaving open across top and bottom.

Now stitch the top, EG, into the claw opening.

Finish pushing stuffing down into the claw, using less stuffing in the claw/leg joint.

Stuff the leg, close the gap FH and tie a piece of string tightly around claw/leg joint (Figure 7).

Make up other claw and front leg.

To make the second legs, sew together pieces 6 in pairs leaving open across IJ.

Turn right side out and stuff.

Close gap and tie string as before in two places to make leg joints (Figure 8).

Makeup smaller third and fourth legs in same way.

Sew legs in position (see photograph) on under edge of body or attach using large snap fasteners.


To make each eye, sew together four of piece 8 to make a rough ball shape and stuff. Stitch on felt circles to complete eyeballs and attache to top edge of body with snap fasteners. To finish, applique different colored felt circles to back.

That's all for now!

Thanks for stopping by & Happy Crafting!

© 2013 Dawn


Tolovaj on February 24, 2014:

Soft crab would never be my first thought when somebody mentions plush toys, but these ocean animals sure have great potential as pets:)

Audrey Surma from Virginia on December 20, 2013:

I remember making the octopus when I was very young. It stayed on my bed and I thought it was awesome. Thanks for sharing these great crafts - I had forgotten all about my octopus.

Dawn (author) from Canada on August 02, 2013:

Lopez - I added a video for you to show you the steps for the octopus, I hope this helps!!

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on August 01, 2013:

Very nice and creative hub!

I especially liked the Octopus and will definitely try it. It looks so cute. Others are also very nice.

Thanks for sharing the detailed instructions and pictures! Voted up!

LopezUnleashed on July 31, 2013:

This looks like a lot of fun. But I was not able to understand what to do, pictures if the steps would be very, very helpful. It looks like this could be a lot of fun for my munchkins to do with me, if I could follow along with some pictures.

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