Monday, August 11, 2008

it's alive! kids' drawings brought to life

As mentioned in a previous post, my kids are obsessed with monsters. My four-year-old draws pictures of monsters with multiple teeth-filled mouths and giant scythe-like claws all day long. One day Stacy had a brilliant idea. We had the kids draw us pictures of monsters, and with a little felt, notions, and stuffing, we brought them to life (only a little less-scary).

This was such an easy project! Plus anytime I can include the kids in crafting, I feel like a good mom. They were all over this project. Here's a detailed tutorial to help you create your own Frankenstein of sorts, with or without the kids. Don't miss the original drawings next to their felt creations below!


Felt Monster Tutorial

What you'll need:

*Felt in various colors
*Scissors, pinking shears (optional)
*Buttons, yarn, pipe cleaner, or any other notions to create details
*Polyester fiberfil or other stuffing/batting
*Dowel or pencil
*Sewing machine and thread (you could stitch these by hand, but it would take a while!)

Okay, let's get started.

1. Using your child's drawing as a guide, cut out various body parts for the creature in different colors of felt. You'll want to either use two pieces of felt or fold it over so you have two identical pieces for each body part. I used pinking shears on some parts to simulate fur. Gather notions to create face, etc.
2. Sew on any buttons, felt, or other notions to complete face.

3. Sew outer body parts like limbs, tail, and ears together, leaving an opening at the place it will attach to the head or body. To make it simple, I left the seams on the outside. I didn't bother turning them inside-out. Also, I used transparent (invisible) quilting thread to avoid having to change thread colors for each body part.


4. Stuff each body part with enough Fiberfil to make it firm but not rigid. A dowel or a pencil can be used to push stuffing into all areas of the part.


5. Pin the limbs inside the main body or head. Sew around the edges, leaving an opening for the stuffing where the head or other body part will be attached.


6. Stuff the body and pin the head to it (with all of it's attachments pinned inside of it). Sew around as before, leaving an opening to stuff the head. Stuff it and sew opening closed.

That's it! Here are a few examples of our creatures and their inspiration. Please note, the artists felt inclined to make a few changes in color and design as Mom was putting these together, so they may not look exactly like the original design. But close!

J.S.'s monster (with artist-approved color changes)


A's monster (he's 2, so I had to do a little interpreting)

J.M's monster (the best of the bunch!)

For a twist on this project, we love John Murphy's book Stupid Sock Creatures. After trying repeatedly to master the classic sock monkey, he finally gave up and let the sock's personality come to life. His creatures are wild and weird, and so fun to make. This well-loved creature, who we call "Funny Guy," was made from the instructions in this book by my brother-in-law. He sleeps with my four-year-old every night. Every night. So if you'd rather work from a loose pattern, or get lots more ideas for crazy creatures, check it out! One version of the book even comes with a kit including socks, buttons, needles, thread, ribbons, and stuffing to make your first creature, and John's commentary is hilarious. Remember, if you create something from a tutorial on our blog, we want to see it! Upload photos of your creations to our flickr page!

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102 Comments

102 Responses to “it's alive! kids' drawings brought to life”

ms.clark said...

WOW! These monsters are adorable. How cute to see them "come alive".

Lindsey Ivie said...

Oh yay! I love funny guy. I really need to find that book and make some more of those. I love the idea of converting pictures to little monsters. So creative!

Jessica said...

Those are AWESOME!! I love it! You really did make them come alive.

Audrey said...

I LOVE these! Very, very cool!

MegRuth said...

This is SO great!

ms.clark said...

I just wanted you all to know that Mandy was the real magic behind these monsters. She made them the lovable creatures they are today.

Tara said...

Oh my word these are so cute. My sister just sent me your link! I love these!!! Thanks for posting this idea!!!

intlxpatr said...

Adorable! Total hoot!

intlxpatr said...

Adorable! They are so winsome!

Angie said...

This is the best idea I've seen as to what to do with children's drawings. Love it! Thank you so much for posting this, I'll have to try it with my kids drawings. Bookmarking for future reference.

Thanks again!

Yael said...

What a great idea! your monsters are soooooooooo cute!

springtreeroad said...

i love these! they couldn't be any cuter.

Michelle said...

These are adorable! I can't wait to try to make these. Thanks for posting it.

Tania said...

These are so cute!! I posted about my humble attempt to do this on my blog. http://myeverydayjoys.blogspot.com/2008/08/crafty-gift-involving-children.html
Thanks for the great idea.

Anonymous said...

Nice monsters. I've been making my son's faboo drawings come to life since I saw something just like this in Martha Kids a couple years ago. It's such a great idea.

gisele.artes said...

Very good ideia! They´re so colorful. I loved your monsters...I made some of my kids drawings come alive, too. Only they drew on the fabric, I cut them out, sewed and stuffed. They really seem to like it.

kelsimad said...

A friend told me about this idea a couple of days ago. When we draw names for Christmas this year I'm gonna have my kiddos draw monsters for me to make for their gift recipients. I think that will be fun for them.

The Bailey Crew said...

Thanks for your idea - it saved the day for me on a PD day that I was unprepared for - the kids all did their own buttons and sewing on the faces - firsts for all of them! Suddenly the world of sewing WITH my kids has opened up to some many possibilities!!! Thanks for gaving this idea. I thought I'd show you our results - I purposefully told them not too fancy though -hehehe!

http://baileymoments.blogspot.com/2008/11/pd-day-project-monsters.html

Andrewmichaelsmommy said...

Wow! They look great! What type of felt are you using?

Little Birdie Secrets said...

We just used craft felt. Wool felt feels much better and we like working with that, but craft felt will work fine. Either way will be a hit with the kiddies.

LORI said...

AGAIN, WHAT A GREAT IDEA! I'M TRYING TO THINK OF A WAY TO USE THIS SEWING IDEA IN A CLASSROOM WITHOUT GOING INSANE...HAND STITCHING, MAYBE? I LOVE THESE!

Erika said...

LOVE the curly haired one!!

Betsy said...

One of my girlfriends has started making felt toys for her preschooler... I'm sharing this blog with her!!! :) Great work!

Eve said...

This is a brilliant idea! My son loves to draw monsters also. Another great project for me to try! :)

blueviolet said...

Those are completely fabulous!

Tonya said...

Visting from SITS. My son would be ALL over this! I'll have to try it next time he draws me something scary! haha

Preston said...

You are so clever and talented. This is another great idea but this boy can barely use a staple let alone a sewing machine. But I'm really good at drawing monsters. Now if I could only get my daughter to drag out her sewing machine...

Diva Scrapper said...

Absolutely adorable.

Nessa said...

So cute! Thanks for sharing this! I just wish I could sew, lol.

Astrid said...

These are hilarious! :)

Creative Junkie said...

It's times like these that I wish I knew how to sew.

Willo said...

What a clever idea!!!

jewelstreet said...

Great monsters! I had such fun making stuffies for my daughter for Christmas that I will definitely be trying this. She's an artist as well so it should be fun.

Maggie Sue Designs said...

The kids must be so excited to see their art come to life! As long as they're not scared... hee hee :)
~~Meredith from SITS
http://www.maggiesuedesigns.com

jubilee said...

I am so enjoying your tutorials. thanks for sharing.

sandy said...

These are just too cute!

Joy said...

How charming and clever!

Kelly said...

Those are so cute!! I don't think I would want the drawing featured on my blog today to be "brought to life"!! :o) Have a great weekend!

Kasey said...

What a great Idea!!! My son (he's 4) would think it was so super cool if we could make his drawing come to life!

Thanks for sharing and Congrats on being a Sitsta!!!

Tiffany said...

those are great! I never would have thought of that.

Ryan Ashley Scott@Optimistic Cynicism said...

Fantastic idea! I think even *I* might be able to do this one.... or have my sister do it. :)

These would be great to do with anything kids draw!

The Cookie Girl said...

This is great!
My daughter doesn't draw monsters or much of anything really. She is only three and usually everything is little circles :)

Vickie said...

That is so creative!! My kids would love that idea!

hellosweetworld said...

So cute.....i'll definately have to bookmark your blog!

Lyssa Ireland Thomas said...

How adorable...and brilliant!

Lea Ann said...

This is a most original idea! Thank you for sharing it with me, the crafty-mom-wannabee.

Cammie said...

so so cute!

Kelley and Rhett said...

This is so cool too! This will come in handy in a few years!

Jaden Paige said...

I love these, they came out so great! If only I could teach myself to sew... hrmm..

Brandy said...

These are adorable. And you are such a wonderful Mom to bring their drawings to life.

Heather said...

Now I have to see what my girls would come up with. I think it's such a great idea to bring their drawings to life!

ann said...

What a good mom you must be,,,Ann

Kimm said...

Wow! Great job interpreting those drawings.

wenderful said...

Nappy SITs day! What a great idea and so clever! If I could sew better, I'd give this a try. My ids would love it as they love to draw...especially monsters and Star wars guys.

Stephanie said...

This is a great project to do with your kids! How creative!

Keep up the great blog!

Fairy Princess Garden said...

Awesome!! Thanks soo much, I know what we will be doing on weekends and summer, bringing my kids creations alive. Such a neat idea!!

Tabitha Blue said...

Wow, so adorable!!! What a fun project!!

:)
~Tabitha~

freshmommyblog.com

K said...

Very cute idea.

I'm not sure I could pull it off, but it's awesome.

Lynn said...

My bunch are a little too flinchy/jumpy to bring any brought to life monsters their way. But they loooove to draw crazy numbers and animals and cars and trucks so I will just cater this to their drawings of....what is that? Ohhhh...the sun. Of course I see it honey.

My best, Lynn
www.safebeauty.blogspot.com

Elizabeth M Thompson said...

What a great way to capture the kids drawings. I just tape them to the inside of my garage door (instant art gallery) but the space fills quickly.

The Sweet Jelly Bean said...

What a fantastic idea!

Rhonda said...

Okay, so you're one of those "Good Moms" aren't you? The one that your kids friends actually like because you're fun and give them attention. lol



Happy SITS day!!

Emilee Grace Co. said...

These are too cute! And what a neat idea. I just love it when my 5 year old draws pictures of people and things. They make me laugh! Visiting you from SITS!!! Have a great weekend!!

jenallyson said...

These are so great! I need to try something like this!

T said...

I need to do this - my 4 yr old has a whole pile of stories about a princess pig that she's drawn over and over... it would make a fun surprise!

Barb said...

Cute & fun!

Andrea said...

Those have got to be the cutest monsters ive ever seen!

Mama Krit said...

These are adorable!

ella said...

Fantastic. And very hip.

Oh2122 said...

This is so cool!

angie said...

I love them!

Michele said...

Darling! Great way to help the kids face their demons.

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting said...

That's awesome!!!!!

Anna Lefler said...

This is super-cool!

Wow!

:^) Anna

Sherrie said...

That's too cute! Happy SITS day to you!

littleeverydaythings said...

Very cute and fun. My son would love to do this! Thanks for the great idea. Happy SITS Day!

Reluctant Housewife said...

What a wonderful idea! My kids do the best drawings I'd love to turn them into stuffed toys.

Yet another reason to go and get a sewing machine already!

Kendra said...

What a wonderful idea! Happy SITS day!

SJ said...

You have a very cool blog.

Ali said...

What cute little monsters!

Jeanne said...

This seems like a great way to help kids conquer their fears!

Nate & Courtney said...

This is such a good idea, I will definitely be using this one. Thanks for sharing all these fun ideas and recipes. Stopping by from SITS.

Rhea said...

Very cute and crafty! Your kids must have been awed to see their drawings come to life! Very neat idea.

Esther said...

I love these very much. Yet another great idea. I love your site.

Leslie said...

Very cute! And your likenesses of the original drawings are remarkable!

Katie said...

These came out so cute, I love how you involved your children in the design. What a great personalized project. Sure to be extra special.

wendy said...

Adorable! What a fun site.

Blue Castle said...

You are amazing! Love this idea. :)

Lisa M said...

thanks for the awesome tutorial, SITSta! My kids are going to love this!

Laretha said...

What a great idea...my son is quite an artist and he would love to see his drawings in real life. Thanks!!!

Michelle said...

Unfortunately, you realize you lost me at "sewing machine" ;) That's one talent I don't have that I really wish I did, but what you made is really neat!

San said...

Adorable!!!

BoufMom9 said...

LOVE these monsters! My oldest daughters have done something very similar with their old girl scout troop.
So cute!

mommytoalot said...

What a cute idea.
My little guy would like these "monsters"

Its Me(SARA) Behind the Camera said...

wow that is an amazing idea! you did such a great job! :) I love it!!!

came over from SITs!!!

Debra said...

how cute. I once made pillows for the grandparents of my eldest daughters drawings. They loved them.

Tanna's Triplets said...

What a cool idea!! I love it!

CoffeeJitters.Net (Judy Haley) said...

these are so cute

Rachael said...

What a wonderful idea!

josefina said...

ohh!! its great!!

cannwin said...

This is so what I'm doing for my boys for Christmas.

Candace @ Candace Creations said...

Oh Wow! I saw a Create your own monster kit at a store for $200 and thought the idea was fun and made on for my nephew. Then I just happened across your blogpost on the same idea! I love the tutorial instructions, I'm going to link this tutorial to my blog post of my monster since I didn't include any instructions of how I did it!

http://candacecreations.blogspot.com/2010/01/make-your-own-monster.html

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