How to Decorate Soft Toys at Home

Soft toys hold a special place in our hearts, providing comfort and companionship. But why stop at just buying them? In this article, we will explore the joy and personal touch of decorating soft toys at home.

DIY decoration not only allows us to unleash our creativity but also offers a range of benefits over buying pre-decorated toys. From the freedom to personalize each toy to the satisfaction of creating something unique, let’s discover how to make your soft toys truly one-of-a-kind.

Decorating soft toys at home gives us the opportunity to infuse our own style and personality into each creation. Whether it’s adding vibrant colors or intricate designs, there’s no limit to what we can do. DIY decoration also allows us to customize the toys according to our preferences or for specific occasions, making them perfect gifts for loved ones.

Furthermore, by decorating soft toys at home, we can ensure that all materials used are child-friendly and safe. Often, pre-decorated toys may contain small parts or materials that could pose a risk to children. But when we take matters into our own hands, we have full control over what goes into the decorations, ensuring safety without compromising on creativity.

So, if you’re ready to embark on a memorable journey of expression and crafts, stay with us as we guide you through the steps of decorating soft toys at home. From gathering essential supplies to designing breathtaking themes and exploring various decoration techniques – get ready for a world of infinite possibilities where your imagination takes center stage.

Gathering Supplies

To successfully decorate soft toys at home, it is essential to gather the right materials. Having the necessary supplies not only makes the process smoother but also allows for greater creativity and artistic expression. Here are some essential materials that you will need for soft toy decoration:

  1. Fabric Markers: Fabric markers are a must-have when it comes to adding color and designs to soft toys. They are easy to use and allow for precise detailing on fabric surfaces.
  2. Embroidery Thread: If you prefer a more intricate and textured look, embroidery thread is a great tool to have. With various colors available, it can be used to sew patterns or create embroidered accents on the toy.
  3. Beads: Adding beads can add dimension and sparkle to your soft toy decoration. They can be sewn onto the surface of the toy or used as eyes or other features.
  4. Glue: A good fabric glue is essential for attaching embellishments, such as sequins or small fabric patches, to your soft toys.
Fabric MarkersAdd color and designs with precision
Embroidery ThreadCreate intricate patterns and textures
BeadsAdd dimension and sparkle to your toys
GlueAttach embellishments securely on fabrics

When gathering these supplies, it is important to prioritize child-friendly and safe materials. Ensure that the fabric markers, embroidery thread, beads, and glue you choose are non-toxic and suitable for use on soft toys. It’s always a good idea to check product labels and look for materials that are specifically designed for use with fabrics.

Where can you find these supplies? Craft stores, online retailers, and even some general stores often carry a wide range of materials for soft toy decoration. You may also find unique or specialty items by exploring local markets or reaching out to fellow craft enthusiasts through community groups or social media platforms.

By gathering these essential materials, you will be well-equipped to bring your creative vision to life and enhance the appearance of your soft toys. Decorating at home allows for artistic expression, personalization, and most importantly, brings joy – both in the process of decorating and in the satisfaction of creating something unique. So gather your supplies, let your imagination run wild, and start decorating your soft toys.

Preparing the Soft Toy

Before diving into the fun and creative process of decorating your soft toys at home, it is essential to properly clean and prep them. Cleaning the toy ensures that you have a fresh canvas to work with and that any dirt or dust is removed. Additionally, prepping the toy will help it maintain its shape and ensure that the decoration adheres well.

Step 1: Washing the Toy

The first step in preparing your soft toy for decoration is to wash it. The method of washing may vary depending on the type of toy you have. For plush toys with removable parts like stuffed animals, check if they are machine washable. If so, place the toy in a pillowcase or laundry bag to protect it, use a gentle cycle, and mild detergent. Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals.

For toys with delicate materials or non-removable parts, spot cleaning may be more suitable. Dampen a cloth with mild soap and water solution, then gently rub away any stains or dirt. Be cautious not to saturate the material too much as this can damage certain fabrics.

Step 2: Drying and Reshaping

After washing the soft toy, proper drying is crucial to prevent mold or mildew growth. Squeeze out any excess water gently and pat dry with a towel. It is recommended to air dry your toy rather than using heat sources like hairdryers or direct sunlight as these can shrink or warp certain materials.

Once dry, inspect your soft toy for any creases or misshapen areas. If needed, use a low heat setting on an iron (with appropriate fabric protection) or steam iron to reshape specific sections. Always follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer if available.

Step 3: Removing Loose Threads

Before you begin decorating your soft toy, it is important to check for loose threads and make any necessary repairs. Gently pull any loose threads, securing them by tying a small knot at the base of the fabric. This will prevent further unraveling and ensure the durability of your soft toy’s decoration.

By following these simple steps of cleaning, drying, reshaping, and removing loose threads, you are now ready to embark on the creative journey of decorating your soft toys at home. Remember that proper preparation sets the foundation for a successful decorative process and helps your creations last for a long time.

Choosing a Decorative Theme

When it comes to decorating soft toys at home, choosing a decorative theme is an exciting and crucial step. A well-chosen theme can bring your toy to life and make it truly unique. In this section, we will explore various sources of inspiration and ideas for finding the perfect theme for your soft toy.

One way to find inspiration for your soft toy’s decoration is to consider different themes such as animals, nature, or fantasy. Animal-themed decorations are always popular, whether it’s a teddy bear adorned with cute paw prints or a bunny with embroidered whiskers. Nature-inspired themes can range from floral patterns to vibrant rainbows. On the other hand, fantasy themes open up endless possibilities, from mythical creatures like dragons or unicorns to whimsical landscapes.

There are numerous sources of inspiration that you can tap into when choosing a theme for your soft toy decoration. Take nature walks in nearby parks or gardens and observe the colors, shapes, and textures around you.

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Children’s books are another great source of creative ideas, as they often feature colorful characters or charming illustrations that can be translated into your soft toy decoration. Additionally, online platforms like Pinterest or Instagram offer a wealth of inspiration through user-generated content and DIY projects.

Remember that while popular themes can serve as starting points, don’t be afraid to think outside the box and come up with unique ideas that resonate with your personal style or the recipient’s interests. For example, if the soft toy is intended for someone who loves space exploration, you could decorate it with stars, planets, and rockets.

Finding the right theme is just the beginning; now it’s time to plan how to incorporate it into your soft toy design. In the next section, we will discuss tips on designing and planning the decoration process to ensure that your finished product looks polished and cohesive.

Inspiration SourceExamples
Nature Walks – Floral patterns

  • Vibrant rainbows
Children’s Books – Colorful characters

  • Charming illustrations
Online platforms (Pinterest, Instagram) – User-generated content

  • DIY projects

Designing and Planning the Decoration

Once you have gathered all your supplies and prepared the soft toy, it’s time to move on to the exciting part – designing and planning the decoration. This step is crucial as it sets the foundation for how your finished soft toy will look. By taking the time to carefully plan your design, you can ensure that your creation reflects your unique style and vision.

To start, consider sketching or creating a design plan before you begin decorating. This will help you visualize how different elements will come together and allow you to make any necessary adjustments without making mistakes on the actual toy. Keep in mind the shape and fabric of the toy when planning your design. For example, if you are decorating a stuffed bunny with long ears, think about incorporating elements that accentuate its features such as patterns or accessories.

When choosing a decorative theme, let your imagination run wild. Animals, nature, or fantasy themes are popular choices, but don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Drawing inspiration from nature walks, children’s books, or online platforms can help spark creativity and generate unique ideas. Look for colors, patterns, or motifs that resonate with you and align with your overall vision for the soft toy.

As you plan your design, consider different techniques that can bring it to life. Depending on your preferences and skill level, options like appliqué, embroidery, or fabric painting can create stunning effects. Appliqué involves sewing fabric pieces onto the surface of the toy using stitches or glue. Embroidery adds intricate details by stitching patterns directly onto the fabric. Fabric painting allows for freehand designs using special fabric paints or markers.

Remember that this is an opportunity to showcase your creativity and personalize the soft toy. If you’re making it for someone specific like a child or a friend, think about their preferences or interests that could inform your design choices. Adding personal touches such as embroidering their name or initials, attaching small accessories, or even creating custom outfits for the toy can make it truly special and meaningful.

By dedicating time to designing and planning the decoration, you are setting the stage for a successful and beautiful outcome. This step allows you to truly express your creativity and ensure that the finished soft toy reflects your unique style. So grab a pen and paper, gather your inspiration, and let your imagination soar as you envision the perfect design for your handmade soft toy.

Decorating Techniques

Fabric Painting

Fabric painting is a versatile and popular technique for decorating soft toys. It allows you to add vibrant colors, intricate designs, and personal touches to your toy’s fabric. To begin fabric painting, gather the necessary materials: fabric paints, paintbrushes, stencils (if desired), and a palette or paper plate for blending colors.

Start by placing a piece of cardboard or wax paper inside the toy to prevent the paint from bleeding through to the other side. Then, choose your desired design or image. You can freehand your design directly on the toy or use stencils for more precise shapes.

Dip your paintbrush into the fabric paint and start applying it to the toy’s surface using gentle brushstrokes. Remember to blend different colors if needed and wait for each layer of paint to dry before adding additional details. If you make any mistakes, quickly wipe them away with a damp cloth.


Embroidery is another fantastic technique that adds texture and dimensionality to soft toys. It involves using needle and thread to create intricate designs on the toy’s fabric. Gather embroidery supplies such as embroidery hoops, embroidery needles, embroidery floss in various colors, and an embroidery pattern or design.

Secure the toy in an embroidery hoop so that it remains taut as you work. Select your preferred design or pattern and transfer it onto the toy using an iron-on transfer pen or by tracing it with a pencil or disappearing ink pen.

Thread your needle with embroidery floss and knot one end securely. Begin stitching along the lines of your design using different types of stitches like backstitch, satin stitch, or French knots. Experiment with different thread colors and thicknesses to achieve various effects.

Adding Fabric Patches

If you prefer a more tactile decoration method, adding fabric patches is an excellent choice. This technique involves cutting out fabric pieces in different shapes and sizes, then attaching them to the toy using either fabric glue or stitching.

Start by choosing your desired fabrics for the patches, considering both their color and texture. Then, draw the desired shapes directly onto the fabric using a fabric marker or trace templates. Cut out the shapes carefully, ensuring smooth edges.

Next, determine the ideal placement of each patch on the soft toy. Once you’re satisfied with the arrangement, attach them by either sewing around their edges or applying fabric glue underneath.

Experiment with combining different fabrics and textures to create visually interesting designs. For added dimensionality, consider layering patches or adding embellishments like buttons or beads to enhance your creation.

By using these step-by-step instructions for fabric painting, embroidery, and adding fabric patches, you can create beautifully decorated soft toys that reflect your unique style and creativity. Let your imagination soar as you experiment with different techniques and personalize each toy according to your preferences and those of its intended owner.

Adding Personal Touches

When it comes to decorating soft toys at home, one of the most exciting aspects is the ability to add personal touches and truly customize the toy. By incorporating unique elements, you can create a one-of-a-kind toy that reflects the recipient’s personality and interests. Here are some ideas on how to add those special touches:

  1. Adding Names or Initials: One way to personalize a soft toy is by adding the recipient’s name or initials. This can be done through various methods such as embroidery, fabric patches, or even using fabric markers. Not only does this add a personal touch, but it also helps to distinguish the toy from others.
  2. Consider Interests and Preferences: Think about what the recipient loves or is interested in. For example, if they are passionate about animals, you could add small fabric patches representing their favorite creatures onto the toy’s clothing or body. If they enjoy sports, you could sew on tiny footballs or basketballs.
  3. Special Accessories and Outfits: Take customization a step further by attaching small accessories to your soft toy’s design. These can include bows, hats, scarves, or even miniature glasses. Creating outfits for your soft toys is another fun way to add personality – you can use scrap fabric or repurpose old clothes for this purpose.

By adding these personal touches, you not only elevate the appearance of the soft toy but also make it something truly special that will bring joy for years to come.

Care and Maintenance: Preserving the Decoration

Once you have decorated your soft toy with love and creativity, it’s important to know how to properly care for it in order to preserve its decoration over time. Follow these tips:

  1. Spot-Cleaning: If your soft toy gets dirty or stained after use or playtime, spot-cleaning is usually sufficient for removing dirt without compromising the decoration. Use a gentle detergent or soap and a soft cloth to gently clean the affected area. Avoid harsh chemicals or soaking the toy in water, as this can damage both the decoration and the fabric.
  2. Avoid Harsh Detergents: When it comes to washing the entire soft toy, choose a mild detergent specifically made for delicate fabrics. Always refer to the care instructions provided with your toy, as some decorative elements may not be suitable for machine washing. Handwashing is generally recommended for preserving both the decoration and the toy’s integrity.
  3. Refreshing or Repairing Decoration: Over time, the decoration on a soft toy may start to fade or show signs of wear. To refresh fabric paint designs, lightly go over them with fresh paint using a small brush. For embroidered details, you can reinforce any loose threads by using a needle and thread to stitch them back in place.

By following these care and maintenance tips, you can ensure that your handmade soft toy remains beautiful and cherished for years to come while preserving its unique decorative elements.

Care and Maintenance

Once you have successfully decorated your soft toy, it is important to take proper care of it to preserve the decoration and ensure that it lasts. Here are some tips on how to maintain the integrity of the decoration over time:

  1. Spot-cleaning: When your soft toy gets dirty, avoid submerging it in water entirely as this can damage the decoration. Instead, spot-clean the affected areas using a mild detergent or gentle soap and a soft cloth or sponge.
    Gently dab or rub the soapy solution on the stained area and then rinse with clean water. Be sure to test any cleaning products on a small, inconspicuous area of the toy first to ensure it doesn’t cause damage.
  2. Avoid harsh detergents: While spot-cleaning is usually sufficient for regular maintenance, if your soft toy requires a more thorough washing, be sure to use a mild detergent specifically designed for delicate fabrics. Harsh detergents can fade colors and degrade certain materials. It’s always best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions if they provide guidance on washing.
  3. Refreshing and repairing: Over time, the decoration on your soft toy may begin to fade or show signs of wear and tear. To refresh the look, you can use fabric markers or paint to touch up any faded areas. If there are loose threads or small tears in the fabric, consider doing some simple hand-sewing repairs using matching thread.
  4. Display and storage: When not in use, consider displaying your handmade decorated soft toys in a way that showcases their beauty while keeping them protected from dust and sunlight exposure which can cause fading. Additionally, store them in a cool and dry environment to prevent moisture buildup that could lead to mold growth.

By following these care and maintenance tips, you can enjoy your beautifully decorated soft toys for years to come while ensuring their longevity. Remember that these toys hold sentimental value as they were created by your own hands, so take pride in preserving them. Cherish the memories associated with the process and enjoy the joy it brings to you or its recipient.


In conclusion, decorating soft toys at home offers a multitude of benefits and allows for a personal touch that pre-decorated toys simply cannot match. By gathering the necessary supplies and taking the time to clean and prep the soft toy, you can ensure a smooth decorating process. Choosing a decorative theme that sparks your creativity and planning the design beforehand will help you achieve professional-looking results.

There are various decorating techniques to choose from, such as fabric painting, embroidery, or adding fabric patches. Each technique comes with its own set of instructions and recommended tools, but with patience and practice, anyone can achieve beautiful results. Adding personal touches like names, initials, or small accessories can make the soft toy truly unique and special.

As you decorate your soft toy, remember to consider care and maintenance to preserve the decoration over time. Spot-cleaning and avoiding harsh detergents are important for maintaining the integrity of the design. And if necessary, there are methods to refresh or repair the decoration should it become worn or damaged.

Ultimately, decorating soft toys at home is not just about creating a visually appealing toy; it is about embracing your creativity and cherishing the sentimental value that handmade toys hold. Enjoy the process of bringing your ideas to life and take pride in the final result. Whether it’s for yourself or as a gift for someone else, a handmade decorated soft toy is sure to bring joy for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I cover my soft toys at home?

To cover your soft toys at home, there are a few options you can consider. One common method is to use plastic storage bags or zippered garment bags specifically designed for keeping clothes dust-free. These bags can be easily found at most home stores or online retailers.

Another option is to utilize clear plastic containers with lids to store and protect your soft toys. Make sure to choose containers large enough to accommodate the size of your toys without causing any deformation. Lastly, if you prefer a more decorative approach, you can use fabric covers or pillowcases to wrap your soft toys individually before storing them on shelves or in closets.

How do you display soft toys without dust?

Displaying soft toys without dust requires some regular maintenance and strategic placement. One effective technique is to regularly clean the area where the soft toys are displayed. Dusting surfaces with a microfiber cloth will help capture dust particles and keep them from settling on your plush toys.

Consider using an air purifier or a dehumidifier if possible, as these appliances can help reduce airborne particles and make it easier to maintain a dust-free environment. Additionally, you could display your soft toys in an enclosed glass cabinet, which provides both protection against dust and allows for easy visibility of your collection.

How do you stuff a cuddly toy?

Stuffing a cuddly toy involves several steps to ensure it is properly filled and retains its shape over time. Firstly, select an appropriate stuffing material such as polyester fiberfill or foam pellets that provide both softness and resilience. Begin by filling the limbs of the toy first, moving on to the body, head, and any other parts according to the specific design instructions provided with the toy or pattern you are following. Be careful not to overstuff as it may lead to distortion or tearing of seams.

Use small amounts of stuffing at once and distribute it evenly within each section until achieving the desired fullness level. Testing how firm the toy feels when squeezed will give an indication if additional stuffing is needed. Finally, carefully close the opening with either hand sewing or an appropriate closure method, depending on the toy’s design.

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