Tagged: custom stuffed animal

pink twinkle stars: a custom plush request

Hot pink, super gleeful star plush. Twinkles required.

pink twinkle stars, all lined up

It all started when I got an email from Noah, my photography-class-friend from school. He had graduated and was working for Intertwinkles, a small company in Boston that develops web tools and apps to help organize businesses and organizations. They were looking for a creative and fun way to reward their beta testers, and the idea of custom plush came up. Of course, Noah knew just the person to ask! (me!)

pink twinkle stars: sketch vs. execution

(click for larger image)

So I emailed back and forth with Noah and his boss as we decided how the plush should look. Stars. Magenta: a must. And yes, they must have arms that can twinkle.

I was given the above sketch as a rough approximation. We thought about using pom poms for his twinkly sparklers, but we settled on tassels as the more elegant option. It’s hard to make pom poms not look childish. I also adjusted the eye shape slightly – partly as a nod to the word “twinkle”, and partly to avoid looking like a Mario star. I think that extra detail made a big difference in the final appearance of the plush.

The mouths are triple-stitched black thread. They’re a little bit shadowed in these images, but in real life they’re perfectly visible, and perfectly happy.
In regards to “twinkling”, I was especially pleased with how the tassled arms performed. The day before I shipped them out, I reread the email chain to make sure I hadn’t missed any crucial details, and saw this:
“I’m imagining interactions where someone holding the star might waggle the star-arms back in forth in faux-twinkle motion.”
I had been running around the house doing just that the day before, so I was thrilled. They were going to love these.

pink twinkle star with custom label

I made custom “intertwinkles” labels for the back of each star as an extra touch.

I ended up making ten of these guys. Once I had solidified my design and was happy with my second prototype, I was able to work assembly-line style – but still, making ten of something is a lot, especially on my own! And since each star has five points, I ended up stuffing 50 pointy arms! Stuffing was certainly the largest time investment.

All that being said, I’d do it again. I’d do more! I love making custom plush. And I love being able to take pictures of armfuls and boxfuls of plush I’ve created!

pink twinkle stars bursting happily from their box

Even if I have to mail them away in the end. A great project, and they were well received up in Boston. Such fun little twinkle stars.

an armful of bright pink stars!

armful of pink twinkle stars

I spent the first week of my life as a College Graduate sitting on the couch, stuffing a plethora of hot pink stars with twinkle tassels. I can’t say I wasn’t skeptical when I first got the request, but I love how they turned out. Check back tomorrow for more pictures of these happy guys!

(and I love taking pictures of myself with armfuls of plush. thanks for taking the picture, andy!)

prehistoric plush: dunkleosteus

Theodore Roosevelt summed it up best with this quote:
“whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘certainly i can!’ then get busy and find out how to do it.”

a dunkleosteus rendering (source: wikipedia)

Dunkleosteus: a big, old fish.

I think, barring anything incredibly complex, it’s a great philosophy. So when one of my photography friends said, “hey sam, can you make a plush dunkleosteus?” I said, “sure!”

(well, first i said “what is that?!” and he told me it was a giant dinosaur fish thing.)

At first, I was worried. Those teeth, all the layers of bone, all the details and hard edges… what if I couldn’t do it? But it was one of those moments where, as soon as I stopped thinking about it, I could see it perfectly in my head. It’s a plush, right? I can do plush. At that point I gave myself a pep talk, rushed to Joann’s, snagged a ton of gray fleece, and got to work.

This was one of the most complex plush I’ve ever made: he’s got side flippers, a top fin, little tail fins. With all the “bone”/exoskeleton layers, the back of his body is three layers of fleece. And then there are those teeth! Man, those were tricky. Symmetry is always a challenge.

He took longer than expected, because there was a lot of pattern drafting to be done. But I think he was worth the wait. Wanna see?

dunkleosteus (prehistoric fish) handmade plush

dunkleosteus (prehistoric fish) handmade plush, goofy smile and all

dunkleosteus (prehistoric fish) handmade plush

I just love his goofy smile, and the fleece, as always, is just so soft. I also finally broke into the ultimate safety eye stash that I’ve been hoarding for a few years now – it sure is handy to have some of every safety eye lying around!

I just love doing custom plush. It’s always a scary challenge, but they usually come out alright, and that just feels so good! Do you like it?