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Shelli SHELLI MAKES
Chico, California
Posts: 9,939
Website

Shelli Retired Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

Thought I'd start a thread out of curiousity.  Wondered, "How do other people stuff their bears?"  I guess I'm talking primarily about how you stuff your body pieces -- the technique you use -- but why not include limbs and head in the process as well?

Here's MY method:

BODY

--  Insert the tiniest bit of polyfil in a thin sheet across the "crotch" area.

--  Add a weighty bag of bb's.  bb's get enclosed inside a knee-high nylon stocking tied closed, doubled over, and tied closed again.  Keeps 'em contained and adds great weight.  Less often, I'll add bb's without the stocking, if I really want the bear solidly kerplunkity on its bottom.  Stuffed this second way, it can even "lean" without falling over.

--  Sometimes, add plastic pellets, if I want a particularly squishy or soft-stuffed bear.

--  Add plenty of polyfil near the neck and shoulder area so the head doesn't wobble or fall over too easily.

LIMBS

--  Fill to the wrist or ankle with glass beads.

--  Stuff semi-firmly or extremely-firmly with polyfil.

HEAD

--  Stuff nose area super firmly. 

--  Stuff head area super firmly.

--  Stuff so firmly it's like a freaking rock.

--  Stuff it some more.

--  Finish stuffing.

:)

In all cases, I use a stuffing stick to insert the polyfil.  Makes things SO MUCH EASIER and really gets into the nooks and crannies.

I tend to stuff in great huge wads of stuffing and wonder how many of you instead use tiny little poofs? 

I also wonder ... how do you get that crumpled tummy look, all wrinkly and slumpy?  It is a sewing effect, or a stuffing effect?

I'm talking about this kind of look, as shown in this DARLING bear by Kim Endlich.

bear3lg.jpg

... or in this cutie by Rita Diesling: 

FlicFlac1.jpg

Okay... let's hear from YOU now!

Dilu Posts: 8,574

open mouth insert chocolate.....

oh thats not what you meant.....

I use a screw driver to push it in and get it firm, because if gollies can't dance what earthly good are they?

I use a big wad of excelsior in the center of their heads with a nice thick bat all around it.....this way they are somewhat lighter....Judi suggested it and boy does it work a charm!  Especially the animie gollies.....


I hate it when i think i have them as firmly stuffed as I can get and then found a pocket of air after everything is sewed up.....I REALLY hate that!!!


I like th4e stuff from wall mart in the big box....but i wish I had more of it.....

for wrists where i want the hands soft but the wrist a good hard foundation?  I make a wad of polyfil and push it in not letting it go father and then fill in the arm....building on the ball.  I have even anchored the ball....sometimes I like to give the gollies life lines and all.....can't you see it some golly has a long life line and is getting married 3 times?

Rats....I knew I shouldn't have stopped by.....doctor's appointment....rats.....I use balast in the feet and butts....so they will balance a little better......

i use different sized knitting needles to get things in nooks and crannies and screw drivers and forceps....now the Ricksters is at the door.....oooops.............

SunnieOne Sunnie Bears
Ridgecrest, CA
Posts: 1,167

great topic Shelli. I am a guilty huge wad stuffer too! When you make bigger bears it would take me 2 weeks to stuff if I had to use little poofs. BUT I am trying to train myself to take each big wad and pull it apart somewhat before I stuff it inside. I use a bit of damp excelsior in the nose area before I start with the polyfil. I hate it when I am embroidering the nose and polyfil starts to poke thru. I usually place a little bit of polyfil in the limbs first, then a healthy dose of glass beads then filler up with poyfil. Same with the body, except most of the time I put the beads in a stocking or a pillow made from old sheets.
Sonya

Densteds Densteds
Posts: 2,056
Website

I mostly do the same as Shelli & Sonya, I use huge wads...mainly because the majority of my bears are large so it would take forever with little poofs???????

I did find purely by accident that a great stuffing tool is actually a pair of hemostats (locking forceps)
This particular day, I was have one hell of a time getting a nose stuffed firmly, for some reason I kept getting hollows so I grabbed the hemostats thinking the end was smaller and might push it in more firmly but then I had a lightbulb moment & found by open them slightly, grabbing the polyfil and pushing, then releasing again I could move it wherever I wanted..give it a go it really works...well that's all from me...the lightbulb just blew !!!

MerBear MerBear Originals
Brockville, Ontario
Posts: 1,540

I like to stuff firmly, like Shelli, and couldn't do without my magic stuffing tool. For the minis h/e I use my small cotter pin turner for stuffing. I do tend to use larger pieces of stuffing and then pack it down over and over till nice and firm.

Marion

Tami E Tami Eveslage Original Teddy Bears
Milford Ohio
Posts: 2,367

My favorite stuffing tools are my large cotter key and small cotter key. I  bought these for turning cotter pins in the neck joints but they are the best stuffing tools for stuffing nice and firm without breaking the wooden stick! (Yes, I'm an aggressive stuffer!) I use polyfil and plastic pellets, and sometimes in smaller bears I use glass pellets.

pandamac 'EmBears
Northern New York State
Posts: 917
Website

I use a chop stick as my stuffing tool. I like my bears soft, so I use just Poly-fiberfil.....sometimes I am a large wad stuffer, but I need to use small bits to get it into the legs and hands..........When I do my lifesize penguins, I stuff the bottom with the fiberfil, then put in a small bag of glass beads so they will stand up, then use large wads to stuff the rest.

When I have done make-your-own animals, it is so much fun to watch the kids. Lately, I have been trying to get the stuffing into the feet/paws for them, then let them stuff the rest. Most are

HUGE WAD STUFFERS

! some are very delicate and take just little bits, they are sooo much fun to watch.  bear_grin
pandamc

millie PottersHouse Bears
Ohio
Posts: 2,173

I also am an over achiever when it comes to stuffing.  I use bigger bits of stuffing and I use a pencil as a stuffing tool.  I have been known to break a pencil now and then.  I also add bb's in a pouch.  In answer to Shelli's question about the flabby belly, I think that is a stuffing technique.  I have done a few bears with a scaled down version of this look.  I do not stuff near as firmly and I add more bb's.

Pumpkin & Pickle Bears Pumpkin & Pickle Bears
East Sussex
Posts: 2,047
Website

I use tiny bits of stuffing for the nose are and feet so I can pack them firmly then generally use bigger bits to stuff the rest. I use steel pellets or steel shot in a stocking to weight the bear (I put some loose ones in the feet also).

I use my curved forceps as a stuffing tool - I've never used anything else and I find it works a treat!

Jare Hares & Bears Jare Hares & Bears
Polo, IL
Posts: 983

Here's my two cents...

Head -
Firmly stuff firmly with excelsior (purchased from Wal*Mart).
Especially, the nose, then the needle goes through much easier and you don't lose the shape of the face. Straight noses, then and not ones that are at odd angles.
On really big heads I might use poly fill for the back of the head. I get my poly fil from Monterry Mills in Janesville, WI.

Arms & Legs -
Stuff hands and feet with excelsior to wrists and ankles.
Attach to body, stuff sholders and hips again using excelsior.
Place steel shot or plastic pellets in ankles and wrists.
Finish stuffing with excelsior or poly fil or a mix of both. I mainly use excelsior, I like the way it stuffs better.

Body -
Shoulders firmly stuffed with excelsior.
Bottom stuffed well with excelsior and a layer of excelsior around the body.
Add a good amount of shot. The fill in with excelsior or poly fil or a mix.

I keep my excelsior in a wicker laundry hamper with a lid. I cut it down in the plastic bag that lines the hamper. That helps to keep the dust down. I also cut it into small pieces, not micro bits, but pieces that are an 1" to 3" in length, not an exact measurement, but close. easy to work with then. I also roll it in my hands, a great way to keep your hands soft. I then place it in the bear/bunny with my hemostats.

matilda Matilda Huggington-beare
WA
Posts: 5,551

Your stuffings and technique seem to be highly specialised Jared.  Way to go!! :clap:
I use armatures in my 'Criiters' so my stuffing is different to the stuffing of my bears.
I wind florist tape or masking tape around the wire. Then I roll this several times with felt. I then sew the felt onto the wire. I make sure that all corners or edges are tucked in. I like a smooth round finish on both ends.
I usually add a little bit of firm filling in the shoulder. and I use a soft wool filling on the rest of the limb.
I line my bellys with a firmer filler and then place my BB's. I use a firm filler for the shoulders as well.
For flopppy bellies I will mix plastic and or glass beads with BBs.
I like my feet to be very firm. I prefer to use 'wool noir' to stuff but if not available I will use a firm filler. ( which I'm starting to panic about because I'm almost running out of orlon flock. and I hear Gerry's are no longer stocking it.)
If I have used armatures in the leg and feet, I then stuff them in the position that I wish to pose them.
At times I use spines. Which are great because so many positions can be made while still having full sitting or standing capabilities. My kangaroos are spined. That's how I get them to fold over the way they do. They also have wired tails. That are designed to sit flat on the table. (Which I see in pics that their new owners dont have them doing) aaarrrggghhh It does make me cringe. I go to alot of trouble to ensure that the tails lay flat. They get bent in the shipping of them. But it only needs the flat of the hand to flatten them along the table top.

Heads: MMmm I have taken to needle felting a hard wad of wool and placing that at the end of my noses. It is good to add needle felting to and it is a nice surface to embroider.Then I add a firm filler. Filler of choice is 'wool noir' if and when I can get it. I'm a medium stuffer. I will pick out a large wad of filler and halve it. Pull it apart and then stuff. I have also been known to tease a length of filler and then use one of my turning sticks( which has a slice cut off the end) to slowly add bit by bit of this length. Kinda like slurping up spaghetti. bear_grin
Then I put in the eyes and restuff if needed. Which it usually does.  Ummm I think that is about it.
I will use anything like 7 different fillers on just the one little critter. Then there are times I only use one or two.
I really just never know.  bear_thumb

I hope all this infomation doesnt become toooo confusing for the newbies.
I think what all this info says is, that this how we get certain effects and you can do it this way as well.
Oh hell I dont know :redface: I think I need another cuppa. :crackup: I'm losing the plot.

Eileen Baird'sBears
Toronto
Posts: 3,873

bear_original Great info . . . please keep it coming!

I started stuffing with polyfill only, then graduated to bits of excelsior in the nose, bags of shot or glass/plastic beads in the bottom and legs, trying for different effects. I'm still working on it.

Shelli, one way to get the wrinkled tummy look without sacrificing firm shoulders is to invisibly stitch your stuffing in place from the outside. This way you can get different densities of stuffing in different parts of the bear.

I discovered this method when the dogs tore up a very expensive Gund puppy. The stuffing was stitched in place to create musculature in the legs, keep the tummy soft, etc.

To create wrinkles in the tummy, try cutting the front body piece(s) longer than usual, then wrinkle them to fit the side seams by gathering or making little darts. If the tummy area is softly stuffed and stitched into place, you ought to get a nice 'slump'.

For my bunnies (so far both of them!) I used a 3-piece body pattern, with a paler front gathered at the chest area.

Wendy, I've been using spines in my mice, extending from the back of the neck to the end of the tail. They're too small to be very flexible, but without an anchor in the body, the tail just flops!

psichick78 Flying Fur Studios
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,073

Wow, we're all so different.

I'm a hard stuffer. I don't know why, but that's what I do. Sometimes I have the arms a little bit softer, but my creatures are pretty hard and heavy.

I stuff with Mountain Mist from Wal Mart. I don't like using anything else in the head. I find the polyfill works fine.
( I do have a LARGE bag of that wood stuffing if anyone wants to trade........)

I use large pieces of the polyfill to fill the larger areas, then I use about the size of a quarter to get around the tight areas and all the little empty spaces.

I love to use glass beads in the paws and feet up to about the wrists or ankles, then sill the rest with mountain mist. I stuff the belly quite firmly because I like the fat look of it. I also use steel shot and I just put it in the belly as it. Love a heavy bear. 

Wendy My Roo's tail is flat! LOL

Eileen, great tips from you on this thread. I'm still trying to picture sewing stuffing in place. Missed something there. But great ideas for a wrinkly belly.

Eileen Baird'sBears
Toronto
Posts: 3,873

bear_original Heather, I should have explained more clearly :redface:

Once you've got the stuffing where you want it, for example in the shoulders, you just anchor your thread in the stuffing somewhere, then take the needle to the outside through the fur, catch a thread and back into the stuffing, out through the fur again, catch another thread or two and sew back into the stuffing. And so on, until the stuffing looks as if it will stay in place, and not shift down into the softer tummy (if you want a softer tummy, that is!).

The threads should not show from the outside, and you dont need to pull tightly on the thread.

I hope this is clearer!

kbonsall Kim-Bee Bears
Pennsylvania
Posts: 5,645

I'm going to have to start stuffing if I lose any more weight LOL  :crackup:  :crackup:  :crackup:

I do the head extra firm, the arms and legs are firm and the tum is has a tiny bit of give (not too loosely stuffed and not too tight)...  bear_original

Jare Hares & Bears Jare Hares & Bears
Polo, IL
Posts: 983

Sticthing stuffing in place sounds interesting to me.

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