Cute + Quirky Gifts for Friends

Posted by: Lyra Pappin

It isn’t just the crafty crowd that appreciates homemade work, everyone does!  The recent surge in the crafting business proves that whether you are all thumbs or all crafty, people enjoy personalized and homemade items.


Perhaps you are just joining the crafting craze and haven’t made anything since your kindergarten arts and crafts days, but fear not!  There are simple projects that pros love to make, but give you a chance to hone those rusty crafting skills if need be.


Creating stuffed toys or items is a great place to start.  The materials required are simple and the stuffed creations allow for a lot of trial and error.

Begin With A Book


If you are a pro looking for inspiration, or a beginner needing strict guidelines, Therese Laskey put together a great book called Softies: Simple Instructions for 25 Plush Pals, which is full of stuffed creatures dubbed “Softies”.  Softies can be cute, weird, funny, elegant or quirky creatures and items that are fun to make for adults and children alike.  They range in difficulty and can be modified to suit your needs.


However, depending on your confidence level, you can definitely make softies without a great deal of instruction.  You basically need felt and some crafting filler to get started, which are both inexpensive items easily found at your local craft supplies store.  Begin by making something simple, like a pin cushion.  Cut out a shape that you like, sew it together and leave a space open to stuff it with craft filler.   The better you get at creating shapes, the more unique and fun your potential gifts will be!  

Learn From the Pros 

If you aren't quite ready to make your own stuffed creature, why not check out how the pros do it.  Attend a class and learn firsthand what it takes to make your own gift.  Or, if your creations are in the early stages, you can always order gifts from people like iCraft contributing creator "Apple and Eve".  Her stuffed bunnies and kitties are darling and the best part is that you can have them custom made - so you don't have to feel bad about not making them yourself!


Get Weird!


To make these stuffed creatures a little more original and funky, you can add a twist to your softies by what I call “weirding them up”.  Don’t try to make them perfect, that is what gives softies their charm.  Do the unexpected: make dogs with no eyes, or kittens with large teeth, sharks with hair – anything is possible!


Another twist on the softie is to use them to make other possible gift-friendly items like magnets and brooches.  A friend of mine did an entire dessert set of magnets.  She created a stuffed doughnut, cupcake (with sewn on sprinkles), cake, and a slice of pie.  They were darling and very easy to make.


To create a stuffed doughnut, all you need is brown and pink felt and some filler.  Use the brown felt to create a cylinder shape and sew together the ends, making an “O”.  Next, cut out the pink felt in a wavy, icing-esque design and either glue or sew it onto the brown doughnut shape.  Finally, glue the magnet discreetly to the backside and you have a charming 3-D tasty magnet.  You can also simplify this craft by just using felt alone, rather than stuffing it.


Stuck on You

Brooches are made in a similar way.  Simply choose a shape, like an apple.  Create your apple softie with red felt and perhaps a green leaf on top for decoration.  Next, glue a brooch pin to its back and ta-da!  Now you have a new pin that can be added to your friend’s hand bag, jacket, or shoe for a fashionable update.


While making softies, it’s always fun to mix up the materials and embellishments you use with your designs.  Felt is inexpensive and easy to manipulate, but different fabrics can be tested out and used to suit your purposes.  It’s also great to mix up textures and designs on your softies.  For instance, create a dog with brown felt and then use a houndstooth fabric for its big floppy ears.  Or, glue or sew on some sparkles or gems to a rain cloud brooch or a rainbow magnet.


Just Do It!

So once you’ve decided what you want to make, getting started is the only real hurdle you have to face.  These softies are great because there is no fear here; they are open to interpretation and are sure to satisfy your creative urges.  After you’ve perfected your talents, you have loads of gifts for friends and family – and maybe you’ll even inspire some to create their own pieces!



Photo Credits: Apple and Eve, PensiveRabbit

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Submitted by:

Lyra Pappin
Toronto, ON, Canada

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