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It’s become a bit of a tradition that when one of my friends has a first baby, I make a couple of these crinkly taggie baby toys. It’s a known fact that babies frequently prefer playing with non-playthings, so you’ll find them having fun with the toy’s packaging instead of the toy or the tag on the toy instead of the toy’s other features, which is why the Taggie is so popular. Today I’m going to show you how to make a crinkle taggie baby toy just like that brand with your fabric and ribbon scraps that feel great for little hands to touch, and a surprising upcycled material that makes that wonderful crinkling and crackling sound that is just fascinating for big and little ears alike!
These sensorial toys are really so simple to make and only take about 15 minutes to make a couple of them. What do you say? Want to learn how to make a crinkle taggie baby toy for all the sweet little ones in your life? Well, then, let’s get started!
For two of these toys you’ll need:
- four 20 cm x 20 cm (8″ x 8″) squares of fabric
- one washed and dried plastic cereal bag
- scraps of ribbon, ric rac, t-shirt yarn, etc.
The fabric can be bigger or smaller or even completely different shapes, but I find this size to fit well onto half of a cereal bag. I like to use cotton flannel, but you could use whatever you want (though I’d stick with natural fibers, as babies put *everything* into their mouths). You could use velour or corduroy for extra tactile enjoyment or upcycle some fabrics from old clothing. Making a patchwork of different fabrics would be fun, too! This time I chose to make one toy with similar pastel colors on white and another with fabrics with black backgrounds.
If you have a flat label with your name or business on it, sew it in the corner of two of your squares (that will go on two separate toys) about 2 cm from each edge. If you have a side label, just use it like another ribbon when sewing.
Preparing the fabric, ribbons and plastic
Then start picking out your ribbons, ric rac, etc. Try to pick colors that will look nice with your fabric colors as well as a variety of textures, which makes it more interesting for baby. Don’t use yarn because the fibers could come off in baby’s mouth.
Cut off pieces between 8 and 15 cm long and iron them in half. I left mine relatively long so that the baby’s hand can fit in them, but usually they’re shorter. Most ribbons are synthetic, so put an ironing cloth or other piece of fabric on top of the ribbon while ironing or else it could melt.
Take your cereal bag. Please make sure that you’ve washed and dried it thoroughly. You can use other types of plastic packaging, too. I remember having seen baby wipe packages used as a crinkly material. I use cereal bags because the plastic is food grade and hasn’t previously contained chemicals that are used in disposable wipes. Open the bag up along all the seams and cut it in half.
Place one of the fabric squares on top of each cereal bag half, right sides up. Position the ribbons on top of the fabric square with the folded end facing inwards and with the cut ends lined up more or less with the fabric square edge.
When you’re happy with the layout, pin them in place.
Place your other two fabric squares on top of the ribbons, right sides down, lining up the edges with the squares below. Pin those in place, leaving the pins holding the ribbons as well.
Sew, turn and topstitch
I suggest you read my lesson on turning and topstiching, and clipping corners, if you are not familiar with these techniques.
Sew all along the edges with a 1 cm (3/8″) seam allowance (as shown on the toy on the left). Leave a space open in the center of one side, preferably between two ribbons. The sewing machine’s feed dogs might not move the fabric sandwich along very well with the plastic on the bottom, so you might need to help it along, or use a walking foot to help you out. Don’t worry if the stitching doesn’t come out perfectly even. Nobody will see it!
Then trim the fabric and plastic around the seams, clipping around the corners (as shown on the toy on the right).
Turn the squares right side out through the opening. Iron the squares, taking care to turn the opening’s edges inwards. Then topstitch around the whole square close to the border, closing up the opening. It will be much easier to topstitch because the plastic is no longer on the outside.
And you’re done! Above you can see the fronts and backs of my two crinkly taggie toys.
And now I’d like you to just TRY to resist crinkling these things! The sound and sensation is so interesting, even for a grownup, it’s no wonder babies can’t resist playing with this type of toy!
Now that you know how to make a crinkle taggie baby toy, go and make some for all of your little friends!
If you want to make a super special gift for a baby, why not sew some fun matching bibs and burp cloths? All parents of newborns know that you can never have too many of those! My pattern has different styles and sizes and you could even make them to match these toys!
Pin this tutorial so that you’ll have it on hand next time you need to make your own gift for a newborn! And follow my DIY Gifts for Baby board on Pinterest for even more great ideas from around the web!
86 thoughts on “How to make a crinkle taggie baby toy with recycling”
Thanks for the step-by-step! My daughter is expecting twins, so I’ll have to make a pair of these for them. 😀
Excellent! And congrats to your daughter! If you make them I’d love to see them. Post a picture or two on my flickr group!
are the recycled cereal bags used inside taggie toys
machine washer/dryer proof?
Yes, they are! I honestly don’t have a dryer, but others have told me that they haven’t had any problems. I’ve used a machine washer without problems. The important thing is to let them dry completely so that mold can’t grown inside.
My boys LOVED these toys when they were babies!!! I love your fabrics.
I think *all* kids love these!
They are cute but I would not make loops. It’s too easy for a baby to get it twisted over a tiny finger and cut off the circulation. The tabs would be fun for baby.
Thanks for your comment. I made them long on purpose so that, while playing, the child can play manipulating the loops, also experimenting with trying to get their hands through the loops. They are definitely too small to go around the head, but I hadn’t considered that perhaps circulation could get cut off of a finger. I don’t think it’s very likely, but I suppose it could happen (as it could with any toy or object with only a couple of inches of cord/ribbon/long & thin part). But I think it would be just as easy for that to happen with the shorter label tags of the official Taggies if not easier because, being smaller, the tag could get wrapped around the finger tightly more easily by simply twisting the toy around a couple of times with the finger inserted. For the larger loops to pull that tightly around a tiny finger, they’d have to wrap around a LOT of times, which I think would be highly unlikely… that is unless there’s a jealous older sibling who does it to baby on purpose for a science experiment! Jealous older siblings are always dangerous! 😉
Great tutorial but is there a crinkle material that would pass ce certification? Or are cereal bags ok for that? Xx
Well, I’m sure that industrial made crinkle toys have some sort of tested material inside. I chose cereal bags as opposed to other plastic materials because, in order to be filled with cereal, the plastic has to be certified to contain food by the big industrials that produce the cereal. I definitely wouldn’t use the cereal bag anywhere exposed where it could get inside a baby’s mouth, but I feel pretty safe having it completely enclosed inside cotton fabric.
(I am not pushing the company which sells this) https://www.amazon.com/Crinkle-Material-Plastic-Adding-Handmade/dp/B072LBNKW7 is an option if you want “unused” material. I’ll bet you can find it elsewhere if you are not an Amazon fan.
Thanks Jane! I didn’t know that there was a specific material for this (though it makes sense). Reading in the questions, the seller specifies that it is an “exempt material” because sewn between layers (when a user asked if it’s cpsia approved. However at the top it is listed as “CPSIA & EN71 Compliant”. So I’m not sure how compliant it really is, honestly. But this is good to know anyway!
I ended up using some cereal bags from well expired cereal (we don’t eat much cereal anymore). It does have a lovely crinkly sound, and my granddaughter likes the book I made (printed panel…Counting Monkey) I made with it.
That sounds adorable! I’m sure your granddaughter loves it!
I was wondering since there was a plastic bag inside, could you put some navy beans or rice inside to make it crunchy? My oldest daughter was given a bag similiar to that and she loved to chew on it when she was teething. Also makes it easier for the baby to hold.
What an interesting idea, Elsie! I’d never heard of something like that! Was the one your daughter had with an even layer of beans sewn in? I’m picturing a square toy like this one but sewn into squares with the rice or beans inside each square so that it doesn’t all end up in one corner. Or is it supposed to end up in one place? I’m intrigued!
Would it be washable with the addition of rice and/or beans? It seems that it could cause problems if the baby chews on it.
Thanks for your question, Vicky. I would also be interested in hearing Elsie’s opinion on this, too. I’m always worried about using rice or beans in sewn products for fear of them getting bugs or getting wet somehow and going bad. So I admit that I am not much of a help here!
Polystyrene beads for stuffed animals are washable. I have only seen big bags, but they have a multitude of uses.
Thanks for your tip, Lynn! I’ve never used those beads myself, so I appreciate your advice!
if you use a sheet of paper, preferably one that was going to the trash or recycle bin anyway, over the plastic it is easier to sew, then just rip the paper away when done.
That’s a great tip, Lin! This is something that I do when sewing on the laminated side of PUL fabric; I put tissue paper on top of the fabric, sew over both, then rip off the tissue paper. Thanks for sharing your idea!
My son and daughter in law are expecting a little girl with Down’s Syndrome and she wants me to make a quilt with bright colors to keep Ellie engaged. I think I will make some of these too. I bet she will enjoy them. Thanks for the info!
Hi Sheryl, I’ll be that your little granddaughter will love these toys! There’s something about the feel and sound of these things that are irresistable… even to grownups! 🙂
Can you machine wash and dry these? Love them!
Hi, Beneita! Yes, you can! 🙂
Can you machine wash and dry these cuties?
Not sure if it’s already been brought to your attention, but you need to look into patents!! The word Taggie(S) is trademarked by Taggies! Also, any toy, blanket, pillow, etc with a LOOPED ribbon is patented! Could face legal actions if this post falls into the right hands and this definitely shouldn’t be promoted across the web as it is misleading to many whom do not know these things. Not trying to be the witch train, just looking out.
Hi, Sarh, Thank you for your comment and concern, but I don’t think there are any problems. I am not earning anything from this post (the instructions are not for sale, but are offered free of cost). The internet is full of knock-off tutorials that use the brand name, but I’ve never heard of it being a problem legally when it’s not a product that’s being sold. I appreciate your concern, though! 🙂
You mention ironing this before topstitching…does the plastic not melt? I tried to make one with a chip packet inside (foil one) but of course it melted when I ironed the fabric! Up until then it was looking great. I did an elephant shape. Would love to use something inside that would stand up to even a light iron.
Hi, Jacki! It shouldn’t melt because it never comes in contact with the iron. When you turn it, the plastic will be on the inside, between the two outside fabric layers. You need to fold the fabric inwards at the opening, then iron. Was your foil/plastic layer showing in any part? If you’re worried about it melting on the inside, use a lower temperature and/or an ironing cloth on top. Let me know more about what happened, and we’ll figure it out! I’d love to see yours! An elephant must be absolutely adorable!
Ah! *forehead slap* Cereal bags! Perfect! What a great idea. You’re a genius.
Haha! Thanks, Allison! Sometimes I get the most bizarre upcycling illuminations! LOL!
Parchment paper works very well to for making this toy.
Great idea, Shirley! Did you try it out?
Yes and I’m going to make another for our great grandson now. I put it 2 layers before and I’m going to try it with three. After it is in the pouch or I am done making it I am going to sew a seam about 1/4 to 3/8 inch in from edge and I’m going to experiment with washing and drying it to see how it holds up. My grand daughter says because you know with little ones only mouths old everything gets put to the mouth they get dirty quickly.
To all those concerned about ironing when you use parchment paper you can iron even at your highest temp.
That’s great to know, Shirley, thanks! I’ll be curious to hear how it goes with washing and drying. Please keep me posted! 🙂
I did wash and dry the toy. The parchment paper seemed to have shrunk a little as the fabric was bigger . It still krinkles. Next time I will make the parchment a bit smaller then fabric and catch it in only one seam. Hope this is helpful.
Thanks for letting us know, Shirley! That is indeed helpful!
So can you use any plastic bag like chip bag or bags that noodles came in? And can you machine was and dry these? Thanks.
Sure! Any bag that crinkles is fine! I prefer bags that food came in because you know that they haven’t been in contact with any funny substances. I personally haven’t washed or dried them because I started making them as gifts after my kids were too old for them. But I would say that washing on a delicate cycle (as you would with stuffed animals) would be perfectly fine. I hesitate to say that it’s ok to dry them. I don’t have a drier and line dry everything, but if you look at the comment above yours, another reader made one with parchment paper and machine dried it. I might just let it line dry, though, just to be on the safe side.
Can these be washed? And does the crincle stay crinkle if they can be washed?
Yes, Maura, they can be washed and the crinkle will stay crinkly because it’s just plastic inside the fabric! However, I would suggest washing them on delicate cool cycle to avoid any possible damage.
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Hi Sam, could you email me at lisa @ cucicucicoo.com to tell me what you had in mind? Thanks! 🙂
This is a great idea! How long do you think it takes the plastic to dry inside the fabric after it is washed? I have this fear of mold developing. I want to do some crinkle pockets on my Alzheimer’s fidget blankets but I have this unsure feeling about the plastic.
Hi Anita, that’s a good question. I honestly don’t think it’s really an issue, at least if you use just a single layer of plastic. Plastic dries quickly in general, so it’s really the fabric that takes longer to dry. The only issue I could imagine is if there are two layers of plastic next to each other that get stuck together with moisture and therefore don’t dry out properly. But if it’s just one layer, in theory the fabric would soak up any residual moisture and dry from the outside. Let me know if you give it a try!
I was so curious as to what the crinkle material was. I am happy to know it is something I already have in my kitchen 🙂 I have been wanting to make my grand baby a taggie since I saw them at Target. Not ready to plunk down $10 since I am a recycler/crafter at heart. Thanks so very much for this awesome inspiring article. Hopefully, I can find the time to actually make one since they are living with us as we speak <3 My grand daughter loves tags on toys & I know she will love it.
Oh, how wonderful, Patsy! I, too, have trouble paying good money for something that I could easy make myself, especially if I can repurpose or use up scraps that would otherwise be thrown out! I hope you find time to make one or two of these. They are very fast, so I’m sure you can do it! 🙂
Great tutorial, too practical, I will definitely be able to use it later
So glad you like it! Let me know if you can use it after all!
Double checking before I get started on this cute project, is there one layer of plastic or two?
Good question, Alyssa! It’s just one layer of plastic. In the pictures there are two pieces of plastic simply because I was making two at once. I wouldn’t use more than one layer because it might not dry well between them when they get washed. Let me know how your crinkle toys come out! 🙂
I have been trying to make one of these but am having trouble with my machine needle. Could you tell me what size needle you used. I love these, they are so cute!
Could you tell me what problem you’re having with your needle, Diana? It shouldn’t be an issue. I believe I used a regular universal 90 sized needle. Have you tried changing the needle for a fresh new one? Please keep me posted!
What kind of crinkle thing can you use that you might have in you house for the baby rag toy with the ribbons ?
Nora, you can use pretty much anything that makes a good noise, though I’d be careful to avoid anything that’s been in contact with any sort of chemicals. I always use the plastic bags from inside cereal boxes, but you could use any sort of plastic food packaging. It is hidden inside, so you can’t actually see it.
Love this idea. So simple and clever. I’ll definitely be trying this one.
So glad you like it! 🙂
This is such a cool idea., I am so going to tell about it to my sister she had her first baby. It’s cheap and something they can do on their own.
Yes, it’s an excellent project even for people who don’t know how to sew well!
When this product dries, does the plastic liner dry completely so as not to have bacteria from wet/damp plastic build up inside the taggie toy?
Sure, Annie! It’s no problem because it’s just one layer of plastic between layers of cotton, so it can dry perfectly on both sides. If you are concerned about it not drying all the way, you could also pop it in the dryer for a couple of minutes.
Thank you for this tutorial! I made two today and they are a hot! I will absolutely be making more!
How wonderful, Hilary! Isn’t it incredibly how much kids love them, despite their being so simple to sew?!
Can these go in the washing machine with other laundry?
Absolutely, Rosa! That way they can get a good cleaning, because they’ll definitely need it!
Thanks for making this tutorial. 🙂 I enjoyed making a few of these. I took 4 different high contrast fabrics and made a 4 square for the front and then a sheet of flannel for the back. I also attached a cotton fabric line and attached a teething ring enclosed by a snap! Can’t wait to give it to my baby (I am 6 months pregnant now). Thanks. 🙂
That’s a great idea to put different fabrics together on one side, and also to add the teething ring! I’m sure your baby will love it when he/she arrives! Congratulations!
Thank you so very much for the cereal bag tip! I was shopping for crinkle material and $12/yard of precut was making me cringe! Since many of my other materials are upcycled, it makes good sense to use this upcycle, too!
Oh wow, $12 per yard is pretty steep, especially when you can make that crinkle for free! I’m so glad to hear that this tip helped you!