Crochet Tips & Tricks
How to Add Stability to Your Amigurumi Projects

How to Add Stability to Your Amigurumi Projects

From floppy necks to unbalanced bodies that topple over, there will be times when you need a little something extra to help your plush out. Whether you want to make something pose-able or just want it to sit easily on a tabletop, that’s where internal supports come in! Thankfully there’s all sorts of materials and methods for adding a bit of support to your toy that won’t break the bank. Let’s get into how to add stability to your amigurumi projects!

How to Add Stability to Your Amigurumi Projects

Disclaimer: If you’re using any of the materials or techniques in this guide to make a toy for a child or to make items to sell, please be aware of your country’s safety standards. Some materials may not be suitable for use in toys given to small children. Plus adding certain materials means the project may no longer be washable.

Simple Inserts

Sometimes you just want a project to sit flat on a tabletop, but when you stuff it, the bottom gets too rounded. Take Sid the Snowman for example:

flat bottom example for blog post
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

The snowman with the gold hat has nothing inside except stuffing, while the one with the green hat has a small mason jar lid inside the base to keep it flat. However, if you don’t have random lids laying around the house (we have a bad habit of collecting jars we’ll never use), you can also cut out a piece or cardboard or thick card stock to fit into the base of your project.

Generally for smaller pieces, card stock will do the trick, like in the base of my crystal ball (one of the mini patterns inside my Halloween ebook, A Witchy Mystery.)

card stock insert example for how to add stability to your amigurumi projects
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Did you know you can also use other common household objects like glue sticks or small foam rollers to add structure to your amigurumi? We’ve all had the ‘floppy head’ problem at one point or another, right? Well, adding something like a small wooden dowel or a glue stick inside the neck of your project ensures that the head will stay up at all times. There’s lots of creative options for things like this, so play around and find the one that works best for you.

Weighted Amigurumi

Weights for Balance

Adding weight to your amigurumi project can not only help keep your piece flat on a table, but also help it balance. Some animals will naturally be top or bottom heavy because of their shape, which makes it hard for them to stand on their own. I’ve personally run into this issue with my bird designs. For example, Teak the Turkey always wants to fall forward because all the weight is in the head and neck while Prym the Peacock falls back under the weight of her tail feathers.

unbalanced ami example for blog post
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

So what’s the solution?

For these two little birds, I ended up using simple marbles to balance them out. Just before I finished sewing the body closed, I pushed a couple of marbles into either the butt or the front chest of each bird and then set it on a table to see how many it would take to balance out the weight. This worked great because I only needed a little bit of weight on one side.

marbles example for how to add stability to your amigurumi projects
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Weights for Stability

If your project requires a bit more than a few small weights, then it’s time to break out the tights, haha! In all seriousness though, using a cheap pair of nylon stockings and grain or pellets you can add a lot more weight. Just pick out a color of stockings that will match your project (so it doesn’t show through the stitches) and then pick the kind of weight you want to use.

Types of weights:

  • Poly Pellets: These small plastic pellets are ideal for weighing down a project because they’re washable, non-toxic and are fairly inexpensive. You can find them on Amazon or at many big box craft stores.
  • Rice/Dry Beans: If you want to use something you have around the house, dry, uncooked rice/beans will work too! However, be aware that since these materials are organic they’ll break down over time and cannot be washed, so I recommend only using these if your item is decorative and/or for personal use only.

Once you make your selection, just insert the toe of the stocking into your project and fill until the base is about 3/4 of the way full. Then just tie off the stocking and either cut the excess or tuck it into the project.

While I used marbles in the previous example for balance they do NOT work for this type of weighing. They’re just too big and lumpy, which shows through when you’re trying to stuff the rest of the project. Plus the marbles won’t naturally shift the way finer grains or pellets will to balance.

no marbles image for blog post
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Adding Wire to Amigurumi

Using wire in your amigurumi might seem daunting at first, but once make that first pose-able toy, you’re likely to be hooked (pun intended). But before we get into how to use wire, let’s go over some basics.

All About Wire

  • Wire Gauge: gauge refers to the thickness of the wire and this is usually represented by a number (ex. 18). Generally, the smaller the number, the thicker the wire. So 10 gauge wire will be thicker than 24 gauge wire. Plus, the thicker the wire, the more durable it is.
  • Materials:
    • Coated Wire: wire that you’ll find in a craft store is coated to keep it from oxidizing or rusting. For example, ‘galvanized steel wire’ means the steel wire has been coated in zinc to keep it from deteriorating.
      • You can find raw (un-coated) wire at hardware stores or online, but it will rust over time, so it’s not ideal for use in amigurumi.
    • Electrical Wire: electrical wire is wire that has been coated in rubber, primarily to insulate it, but this coating also makes it very durable and easier on the hands than traditional wire.
    • Floral Wire: this kind of wire is typically used for floral arrangements, but it’s great for amigurumi because it can be found in pack of straight pieces rather than spools.
    • Pipe Cleaners: pipe cleaners can be found at any craft store and consist of two thin wires twisted together with fibers (typically polyester) trapped inside. They come in a huge variety of colors and are very inexpensive. However, they are not as durable as other kinds of wire.
wire examples image for how to add stability to your amigurumi projects.
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

If you’re wondering about the ends of the wire poking through your project, you can either wrap the ends in tape or use a pair of needle nose pliers to bend the tip down into a U shape before inserting it.

Using Wire in Amigurumi

One of the cool things about wire is that you can use as little or as much of it as you want. For example, when I made Cassandra the Cat, I just wanted her tail to be flexible, so I added a pipe cleaner into it with only a small part going into the body.

pipe cleaner in tail example for how to add stability to your amigurumi projects.
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

However, if you want to have the entire body of a piece be pose-able, you’ll need to run wire through the entire thing. For Pascal the Pangolin, I used a length of floral wire running from the head all the way to the tip of the tail to ensure his whole body could bend and flex.

pascal wire inside example for blog post.
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

For more complex shapes like dolls, you’ll need to not only have that central wire acting as a ‘spine’ but you then need to add wires for the arms and legs, creating a ‘skeleton’ of sorts. I’m not an expert on this, especially for doll making, but I found a really interesting article about it from Ophelie of Ahooka’migurumi that you can read here if you want some more information.

Aside from creating more complex internal structure, I do know that using thicker wire (while a bit of a pain on the hands) will hold up better in the long run. It tends to be sturdier and won’t weaken as much from continuous bending/posing. That is where I feel like pipe cleaners really fall short because they will snap if you bend them too many times.

In the end, it’s up to you and your personal preferences on what kind of wire you use for your project. I personally love floral wire because I don’t have to straighten it out from a spool.

Summary

From glue sticks to poly pellets and wire, there’s so many options for adding stability and structure to your amigurumi. Have you used any of these in your amigurumi projects or do you have a favorite method? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

I hope you enjoyed this article and I would love it if you would share it with your ami-making friends! Make sure you’re subscribed to my email list so you never miss an article, a new pattern or a special event!

Have a wonderful day and happy stitching!

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