5 Tricks You Didn’t Know About Stuffing Amigurumi
When it comes to the wonderful world of amigurumi, stuffing seems like the easy part, right? Just grab some polyfil, fill the project and go! Not quite. There’s actually several common pitfalls with stuffing that can ruin all your hard work. That’s why today we’re talking about 5 tricks you didn’t know about stuffing amigurumi!
5 Tricks You Didn’t Know About Stuffing Amigurumi
You just spent hours making the perfect amigurumi and now it’s finally time to stuff and assemble. You followed the pattern exactly, but as you’re piecing your project together, you notice yours isn’t looking like the picture. Maybe you can see the stuffing through the stitches or your project looks lumpy.
Stuffing can make or break a project just as easily as crochet skill can. Which is wild because it’s stuffing, you know?
So the question is, how do you get your project to look as stunning as the pattern photo? It’s not magic and if the pattern designer can do it, you can too!
Let’s talk about 5 stuffing tricks that will help improve your projects!
1. You need more than you think
The most common type of stuffing is Fiber Fill by the brand Poly-fil (at least here in the U.S.) and it’s basically a big bag of fluff intended for stuffing toys. Even the smallest bag of this stuff seems like a lot, but don’t let that fool you.
You need more than you think.
There’s lots of air mixed into all that fluff and when it gets compressed (like when you’re stuffing a toy), it shrinks. Plus, Fiber Fill has a tendency to deflate over time, so your once firm project will get floppier and floppier.
To combat these things and ensure the longevity of your project, use more stuffing. Seems simple, right?
Well…I’m sure we’ve all gone a bit overboard before and added so much stuffing that stitches are straining to contain it. There’s a fine line between the two and it does take practice to figure out the perfect amount.
I recommend adding stuffing until your piece is firm without your stitches stretching out.
Certain things will make this easier such as using cotton yarn (because it doesn’t stretch like acrylic), using the yarn under method, and using a smaller hook size when you crochet. Check out this article to learn more about techniques to create clean and tight stitches.
2. Start small
It can be tempting to grab a big handful of stuffing and try to squish it into your project, but this is what leads to lumpiness.
Instead, pull out small chunks then stretch out the fluff a bit so it’s loose. Start adding small bits of stuffing at a time, pressing firmly into the walls of your project. Pay close attention to any small features like a snout or limbs. Keep adding more stuffing until your piece is firm to the touch and the outside shape is even.
I’ll admit this takes some practice and patience, but it’s so worth it when your project comes out looking amazing!
3. Don’t be afraid to squish
Some amigurumi projects require basic stuffing (i.e. filling out basic shapes like spheres and cylinders) and others need more careful attention in order to look right.
Here’s an example:
In my Sir Duckington pattern, the head, neck, and body are crocheted in one piece. The body in particular looks super warped because of the stacked increases. With this project, the stuffing is super important because it fills out a more complex shape.
Don’t be afraid to squish. The wonderful thing about crochet is that it’s not fragile. You can squish, poke, and knead your project into the desired shape.
Another example is when the face is shaped, such as in my free Teak the Turkey pattern. When stuffing the head, you squish the eyes inward so that the beak pops out more.
4. You can use more than Fiber Fill
Poly-fil isn’t terribly expensive, but if you’re on a budget or are making something large, there are cheaper methods of stuffing. Or if your project needs a little extra support, you can add in other things for stabilization.
- Scrap yarn – Instead of throwing away those little scraps, save them in a bag or jar. Then when you need to stuff a small project, you can recycle them to use as stuffing!
- Old fabrics – You can use anything from old socks to strips of bed sheets to stuff your projects. Keep in mind that just with poly-fil, you’ll have to add these fabric scraps inside in small pieces to avoid lumps though. (And make sure the fabrics are clean of course!)
- Abandoned wips (works in progress) – We’ve all got at least a few abandoned projects lying around. Why not recycle them? If you can’t rip out the stitches to save the yarn (some yarns just don’t like to unravel), then you can use the old wip as stuffing. This is what I do with failed amigurumi parts, like legs or heads that don’t come out quite right.
- Supports – Want a limb to be bendable? Add in some pipe cleaners. Want to avoid a floppy head? Use a small dowel or hot glue stick inside the neck. You can even add things like marbles, craft weights, are magnets inside your amigurumi to achieve different effects.
Get creative and try different kinds of stuffing or materials to get the look you’re going for!
5. Best ways to hide white stuffing in dark yarn
So if you’ve read this far, you’re probably thinking, ‘ok, but what if I do all this and I can still see the white stuffing because my yarn is dark?’ Great question! White stuffing is bound to stand out against any dark yarn, making it kind of an eyesore.
BUT, there’s 2 awesome solutions to this problem.
- Use nylon pantyhose – Ok, so I know this sounds weird, but stay with me. You get dark colored hose, place them inside your stuffed animal, then add your stuffing inside the hose. This way all the white stuffing is essentially hidden in the dark hose and you won’t have it showing through your stitches.
- Get Black Poly-fil – The brand Poly-fil actually makes Fiber Fill in black! However, I’ve only seen it sold in the smaller bags in Michael’s Craft Stores. It is available online, but I can’t be sure if you can get it internationally or not.
So of these two options, the nylon pantyhose is the cheapest and likely most readily available, but if you can get your hands on some black Fiber Fill, it’s pretty great stuff!
When you’re stuffing your next project remember to use more than you think, start small, don’t be afraid to squish, try different materials, and check out your options for hiding white stuffing in dark yarn. Which tricks will you give a try? Or do you have any tricks with stuffing you’d like to share? Leave a comment below!
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