Adding stuff to an amigurumi is a simple step, but it can be crucial for a good looking result!
In this post I want to share everything I have learned over the years about how to stuff an amigurumi:
- what kind of toy stuffing to use
- how to insert the stuffing
- how to decide when the stuffing is enough
1. What kind of stuffing is best to use for amigurumi?
Toy stuffing for dolls, amigurumi, puppets and other crochet works can be divided into 2 categories: synthetic fibers (mainly polyester) and natural fibers (for example wool or kapok).
For amigurumi we mainly use synthetic fiber which is available in different types. The most common is polyester fiber which is sold by weight in clear bags and has the appearance of a cloud or cotton candy! You can also find siliconized polyester filling, which often comes in tiny and very soft balls, this is also excellent for amigurumi. Note: some brands sell their stuffing in vacuum packing, don’t worry!
There is also synthetic padding, cut from a roll exactly like fabric. It is typically used to make jackets, blankets and other sewing projects. It is not widely used for amigurumi, but it is still a good choice if you already have it available and it can be perfect for stuffing flat pieces or very precise geometric shapes (for example a parallelepiped or a cylinder). You can cut out squares to place on top of each other to form a “padding cube” or roll up a strip to form the stuffing of a cylindrical piece.
On the market there are also new fibers (viscose) derived from bamboo and other vegetables, on which I cannot give an opinion because I have not yet had the opportunity to try them.
If you are wondering if you can use the inner padding of a pillow or cushion, the answer is probably yes! Check that it is washable, not used, and that the fiber is soft and divisible with your hands (i.e. that you can take small tufts and easily open the fibers with your fingers). If the padding is compact, with a slightly felted appearance, it is not really good for amigurumi.
2. Ho to add fiberfill stuffing to amigurumi?
Adding stuffing to amigurumi is not an exact science! There are so many ways to do this and none are more right or wrong than others. Playing with it and trying a new method can be very interesting!
First of all, this process is a bit different if you need to stuff very small pieces of amigurumi (such as arms, legs or protruding details) or larger parts (such as head, body and in general large amigurumi). The smaller the piece to be stuffed, the smaller the tufts of stuffing will be to be added one at time.
Add a small amount of stuffing and use your fingers or the tip of a pencil to slowly arrange and fill in all the volume. This task must be done very slowly, every time you insert a new tuft of stuffing you have to position it with your fingers making it adhere to the inner surface of your amigurumi and close to the stuffing you have already inserted. When the piece begins to fill you will need to check that the external surface is smooth and homogeneous, this means that the stuffing is well distributed inside your amigurumi. Important: the crochet stitches must not spread out, but keep their initial shape, otherwise it means that the amigurumi is too stuffed!
If you notice any “lumps”, harder and other very soft areas I suggest you remove some stuffing (you can use the tip of the crochet hook), spread the fibers again between your fingers and add the fiber again to get a better result.
3. How to tell when the filling is enough?
Also in this case there is no objective answer, I hope to give you some ideas by giving examples so as to have a reference as soon as you have to stuff your next amigurumi.
If you like a fairly stiff amigurumi with well-defined shapes, you will need to insert padding until it is almost impossible to squeeze the amigurumi with your fingers. If you are looking for a softer result, you will have to insert less padding, but this must still be enough to keep the amigurumi in shape, which otherwise could risk becoming floppy after a few vigorous hugs!
The amount of filling also depends on the type of yarn used and the tension of your stitches. If you use a very soft yarn (wool, alpaca, chenille) I recommend that you use very soft and airy stuffing, so your amigurumi will return to the desired shape even after having played with it. Using a cotton yarn, perhaps worked very tightly, you will need a more consistent stuffing to support the crochet work.
I assure you that after making some amigurumi you will be able to understand when to stop adding toy stuffing!
Checklist for choosing the right filling for amigurumi:
– is it washable?
– is it non-toxic and suitable for children? (in case your amigurumi are intended for the little ones)
– is the quantity I am buying right for my project or for the amigurumi that I will make this year? (nobody wants a 2kg bag of stuffing that goes around the house for years and years!)
One last tip
Before completing a seam, always check that the stuffing is sufficient, you can add more and more until the end of the seam!
Everything you find written in this post is the result of my experience and my subjective way of making amigurumi. Leave a comment on this post to share with me and everyone who reads your experience!