I rarely sew (the thick layer of dust on my sewing machine can attest to that!), but you don’t need to be an accomplished seamstress to make these animal bean bags. I’m talking amateur to amateur here. All you really need are these templates, a sewing machine (or needle and thread) and a little enthusiasm!
I was inspired to make bean bags after reading about some bean bag throwing games on Playing and Learning Begins at Home. Problem was, I didn’t have any bean bags. I was going to buy some but then thought better of it because I had all the materials at home. All I had to do was make an easy to follow template, right? Right! Can you tell I was trying to convince myself?
Let’s start with the template. You can download it here.
We have an owl, a wombat and a turtle template. Do one or do all three. Or you could just print it out for the littlies to draw on (so versatile!)
Firstly, I wanted the bean bag to be safe for my children so decided to make a bag to go around the beans and then put that bag inside the finished animal. You can either just do a circle, measuring the size of the template, or you could do it the hard way, like me (amateur!), who decided I wanted the safe bean bag to be the same shape.
I cut out two pieces of fabric the same shape and sewed the edges together until I left a 5cm gap. With a spoon, I filled the bag with some small fish gravel stones that I had left over from our fish tank. You could also use acrylic beads or dried beans/lentils too. I hand-sewed the gap closed.
Then I cut out the templates. I doubled over the material so the two nice sides were facing each other and pinned on the template. I then cut out the material.
At this point you may like to iron the fabric on low heat. You don’t really want creases in your cute little bean bag (I learnt the hard way).
Next, I sewed around the template with the paper on. If you have a steady sewing hand or want to use the template again, I’d suggest taking the template off before sewing. I used it because, well as I’ve said, I don’t sew much and it was nice to have a line to sew on. I’ve since added where you sew on the template. Again leave a good 5cm gap somewhere on the template (I’ve marked where I left mine).
Take off the paper and turn the material inside out, a pencil will help with this. Squeeze the safety bean bag/s inside the animal and then you can either hand sew the last part of the material shut or sew it with the machine depending on the room you have to do it (don’t sew if the rocks/beans are anywhere near the sewing needle).
Viola, cute little animal beanies.
I’m sure there’s a sewing tool for this but I used the gas stove to heat a needle and bent it into a hook. Then, it was easy to sew buttons and thread onto the bean bags!
Now you can decorate them (my favourite part!). The buttons and thread helped to hide some of my slight sewing imperfections too.
My girls each have a bean bag and we can play all sorts of bean bag games. I’m sure I’ll be posting some of those games on here soon too!
What bean bag animal would you like to see? Do you sew?
Other great bean bag games and links