Thursday, 3 November 2011

DIY baby owl rattle

This was on my creative to-do list, so it's nice to be able to tick it off! 

When my son was a tiny baby I noticed that there was a lack of small, soft, light rattles available for when he started grasping things and discovering he could make sounds (I never saw the point of rattles till I had a baby, then discovered they are in fact a-may-zing!) A lot of the rattles were plastic and heavy. So I wanted to make my own. 

Here's what I did, in case you want to try something similar!
As tutorials go this is missing some photos but hopefully the process is clear. If you'd like to make one and have any questions please just ask! (And also if you do, I'd love to see it!)
I used graph paper to design my template with some degree of symmetry. Then I cut it out, pasted it onto some card and cut it out. I drew round this on the wrong side of my fabric.
I made eyes, beak and feet from felt (I didn't use the feet in the end as they looked weird - "like teeth" my husband said). I put a dab of glue to hold the felt pieces in place and then used embroidery thread (6 strands) to stitch sleeping eyes, then a running stitch (3 strands) to hold them in place.
I pinned my two fabric pieces right sides together and stitched around the template line using the machine. I left a small opening on one side so I could turn it out afterwards. 
Having turned it out, I gave it a good press with the iron and used a chopstick to pack in the stuffing, putting my 2 little bells into the head as I went. (You want to make sure those bells can't be felt from the outside as they could be uncomfortable against baby skin.)
Then I sewed up the opening (by the way, if you don't already know how to do this neatly, on the net there are some awesome video tutorials on invisible ladder stitch that I found really helpful when I started out.)
I hope my friend's baby will like it. The only drawback is that it makes more of a rattling sound than the tinkling sound I'd hoped for - this is obviously because those bells are well-surrounded by stuffing. I guess I'd need to have them inside a little round container to keep the sound more bell-like.

Here are my critera for a great baby rattle:
  • bright colours
  • simple, eye-catching design
  • no buttons or anything that could come off & choke baby
  • small, light, soft and easy to grasp in tiny hands
  • easy to wash
  • safe to chew on
  • some textures to feel are an added bonus
p.s. many thanks to Josella of Tack-O-Rama for the 1950s-style Pacifico font (by code.newtypography) I used in this post. You can download it for free, here, along with lots of others.


Polly said...

I love it!!! might have to make one even tho I don't have a baby lol

Blue Eyed Night Owl said...

Another great project! So cute! And I agree, this makes much more sense than all the hard plastic ones you see in stores!

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