Tips for Stuffing Amigurumi


Let's talk about stuffing!

We've all seen the instructions (I have them in each of my patterns), "slowly stuff as you go". What does that mean exactly?

In this post I want to share some helpful tips for stuffing amigurumi, plus a step-by-step guide to avoid lumps in your work. Over time all stuffing will settle a little, especially as our little ones squeeze and play, so we'll be talking a lot about firmness.

When I first started amigurumi I was more frustrated with stuffing than I was sewing. My main mistake was under stuffing. To be honest though, I was the only one who noticed, my girls still loved them!

Below I've shared my all time favorite type of stuffing, I feel it truly helps in avoiding lumps, staying firm over time and it's super soft on the hands to work with.

I'll also go over tips for each body part that you'll likely come across in amigurumi. I don't feel there is only one way to stuff, that's one of my favorite things about amigurumi, many ways to achieve the same product. I have shared below some of my favorite tips and what I have found works well for me, I hope you find it helpful too!

If you're new to amigurumi be sure to also check out our Tips to Learning Amigurumi page, we'll walk you through the basics and get you started!

This post contains affiliate links, please see our disclosure for more information. Thanks for supporting Grace and Yarn!





Materials for  Stuffing

Poly-Fil

This is a super popular stuffing! It is inexpensive and easy to find at almost any craft store!

For Poly-Fil to work at its best you will want to pull out a handful at a time and pull it apart to fluff it up before using it to fill your amigurumi. This will help in avoiding lumps.

Poly-Fil also comes with a long stick that can come in handy to push stuffing to the outer edges in smaller parts, example for the arms or tails.


Morning Glory Cluster Stuff

Morning Glory Cluster Stuff is my favorite to work with! I wish I had used it sooner to be honest. I was deterred because of its cost, but once I tried it I had to keep using it!

The little clusters are very soft, they don't need to be pulled apart and fluffed up. They also compact quite nicely without causing lumps. Over time, I find they keep their firmness very well!

Because I make amigurumi quite often I buy it in bulk now, I can usually find it at WalMart.com (usually on sale too!) and it comes in a pretty big box with 3 huge bags of stuffing. We're talking 11.25 lbs!

If you have a place to store them, this is the cheapest I have found it. It ends up being about the same price as Poly-Fil!

You can also find their 16oz bags at Hobby Lobby (don't forget to use their 40% off coupon when you go!).


These are the main materials that are available in my area and that I have the most experience with. If you have access to other materials feel free to give it a try on a smaller project and see what you think. Leave a comment below as well as to what your favorite material is, it just might help someone new to amigurumi find their favorite!

We've covered what to stuff with, now let's start talking about how to stuff!


Using Your Tension To Help

In general terms I like to put in small handfuls at a time. I can always add more as I go to reach the firmness I need.

The best way to avoid lumps or stretched stitches is to have your stitches tight as you crochet. You can achieve this best with the right size hook!

Make a practice piece (a leg or arm) and if you can see the stuffing through the stitches or they seem too loose go down a hook size until you feel they are nice and tight. You will be much happier with your end product if you do this first as this makes for a stronger 'wall' to fill with stuffing.

If you are having trouble getting your hook into the stitches because they are too tight you'll want to go up a hook size until you are happy with the tension. We want your hands to be happy too!

Once you find your favorite size hook for amigurumi you can use it in most patterns even if the designer has called for a slightly difference size hook.

Be sure to pay close attention if they use two different sizes throughout the pattern you may want to accommodate for this so that your proportions are the same.

Example: In some of my patterns I use 3.5mm hook and 5.5mm hook in the same pattern. If you have gone up a half size use a 4mm hook and a 6mm hook, you're proportions will be the same.

(If you do use a different size hook than what is called for keep in mind that your end product will be slightly larger or smaller.)

Breaking It Down Part By Part

If you'd like a step-by-step walk through, this next part is for you. We'll go over each body part and some helpful tips for smooth stuffing!

When a pattern states to slowly stuff as you go, the main message coming across is to share that it's easier to stop and stuff as you crochet. Waiting until you are done with your legs and body might make it hard to get the stuffing all the way down to each part.

Below I'll also share where I like to stop and add stuffing as I work through a pattern!

Feet

If your amigurumi has a defined foot (example in the foot of this pattern) you will want to stuff it extra firm. By this I mean to have the foot a little bit more firm than the leg. This helps to keep the stuffing pushed down into the foot and show the shape.

I usually stuff the foot when I am halfway done with crocheting the leg.



Legs

These can be stuffed a few different ways. If you are working on a pattern that has the legs joined together and then forms the body, you will want your legs stuffed firmly.

I like to have my legs lightly stuffed as I join them (makes the join easier) and then halfway through making the body (just before we start to decrease) I will go back and add more stuffing to each leg to firm them up.

If your pattern is in a sitting position (legs are sewn onto the body) your stuffing method may be different depending on your liking. I like to stuff the feet extra firm and will either stuff the legs lightly or not at all. This helps the body to sit on the legs and stay in the sitting position with ease.

Body

As in the example above, if you are working on a pattern that has the legs and body as one you will want to continue to carefully place more stuffing down into the leg joints. They usually take more stuffing than we think. Keep watch on your stitches to make sure they don't become stretched.

When stuffing the body it works best to place a handful or so (depending on the size) inside before your start your decreases. If you have it stuffed too full before decreasing you will be fighting to push against it and this can cause your decreases to have gaps or holes.

Since the body is a bigger cavity to fill I like to make a hole or well in the center and push my stuffing to the outside. As you add more stuffing at the end of your decreases, continue to place it in the middle and push towards the sides until you have the consistency you want.



Neck

One of the hardest parts to stuff is the neck, we want it strong and firm at the same time but no stuffing showing through! In my patterns I try to keep the base of the neck slightly wider, this along with tight stitches really helps to keep a strong neck and avoid a wobbly head.

If your project has the body and head as one piece treat the neck joint like the leg joint. It will take more stuffing than you might realize. As you stuff the head push a little more into the neck until you have it extra firm. Having the body (shoulder area) extra firm will help keep the neck stuffing from settling too far down into the body as well.

If your project has your head sewn onto the neck instead, you will want to add stuffing as you go. Make sure the top of your body (shoulder area) is firmly stuffed and start sewing your head onto the body.

Once you are halfway done add a little more stuffing being sure to shape the shoulder area as you'd like. Just before closing continue to add stuffing until you feel it is full. Using the end of your crochet hook can help.








Head

I treat the head similar to the body. It's a big cavity to fill and usually takes a surprising amount of stuffing. When I have made a few rounds of decreases I will put a large handful inside.

Too much will make it hard to continue decreasing smoothly. When I am down to 12 stitches in a round I will stop decreasing and add the bulk of my stuffing. Like the body, create a well and push the stuffing to the outside.

Once you have it fairly firm make your decrease to 6 stitches and then continue stuffing with the end of your crochet hook until you feel it is full. I love how we can stuff up until the last round!



Nose

Placing a little bit of stuffing into your nose helps hold its shape for you to pin in place where you would like it.

Like the head, add a little extra stuffing halfway through sewing and again just before closing until you have the firmness you're looking for.



Arms

Arms can be based on your preference. Unlike the legs or body they're not used for structural strength.

Plus, they're closed off and the stuffing you place in will stay put. With legs and body as one the stuffing can settle down which is why we stuff them extra firm.

I usually stuff the bottom of my arms but leave the top lightly stuffed or not at all. This lets the arms hang nicely at the side. But again, this is completely your preference. Feel free to play around the amount of stuffing to see what you like best!



Tails

Tails can be similar to the arms. If they are long, you can stuff them lightly as you crochet or at the end using the end of your hook or pencil to reach the tip.

The amount you use is optional depending if you want your tail to be limp and movable (light stuffing) or firm and stable (firm stuffing).

If you have a short tail use the tips from the nose above, slowly stuffing as you sew.



I hope you found these tips helpful! Do you have any favorite tips for stuffing that we left out? Leave a comment below to share!

If you'd like a quick and easy pattern to try out your stuffing skills check out these mini sized amigurumi patterns!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

2 comments

  1. Thank you for this great information! I do have an additional question about stuffing an item such as your cute bee pattern. How would you recommend to stuff an item such as this, or what would you recommend to add to the bottom, in order for it to stand up on its own? I know toys are generally being played with, but I think it would be nice to be able to set them on a dresser or counter and have them stand up when not being played with. Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome! Here's a fun article from Shiny Happy World on how to weigh down your amigurumi with Poly-Pellets, I hope it helps!

      https://www.shinyhappyworld.com/2012/12/how-to-use-poly-pellets-in-amigurumi.html

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