GETTING READY TO
STUFF AND JOINT YOUR BEAR
& Hints |
Bear Making Terms
- Stuffing sticks are available,
although the handle of a wooden spoon or chopstick is equal
to the task.
- Woodwool (excelsior) has been
used for years. This thing finely shredded wood looks
like straw. These days, woodwool is available from specialist
suppliers. An important use is for stuffing the nose which
makes embroidering much easier.
- Polyester is the most common filling
available and is extremely easy to use. There are many
different grades and qualities. A top quality high loft
product will fill the bear to a firm stage and not form
lumps. Be choosy because no one wants a lumpy bear!
- Kapok is a material that is very
silky to touch, but as it is handled, the fine fibers float
around, so wear a dust mask. Kapok is best used for small
and miniature bears since it gives a 'weighty' feel as it is
- Pellets are available in plain
and scented varieties. These 'food grade' pellets (means
they pass harmlessly through if swallowed) create soft stuff
squishy tummies or add weight to bear bottoms and limbs.
- Glass beads are easy to use.
Beads add weight without a "bean bag" feel to your
bear. Glass beads are recommended over steel shot due
to health reasons.
- Barley, rice and lentils may seem
like good fillers - Careful!! insects such as beetles
and moths may not only be attracted to the mohair but also the
free lunch inside....
- Polystyrene (foam) beads used
in bean bag chairs are not suitable for stuffing bears.
- Foam chips are REALLY REALLY
messy and do breakdown overtime (foam "powders out"
.. probably not a good choice for filling).
jointing system you choose depends somewhat on personal preference,
on "the look" you want to create and who will be caring
for the teddy bear...
are the parts you need:
joints are light and easy to install. Since they are washable,
they are excellent for teddy bears made for small children.
You can't make fine adjustments on joints with a flange system.
each joint you need:
joints are easy to install and can be fine-tuned.
each joint you need:
disks are connected by the cotter pin, whose ends are bent like
a snap or a crown with needlenose pliers, to secure them.
It takes some practice to learn to do this. You can flatten
the loop of the cotter pin to a T or thread a small washer to
the loop to keep from pulling it through the washer.
SIZE TO USE??
Well that just depends! Of course you will be limited somewhat
by the dimensions of the upper portion of your bear limbs.
Otherwise you can really decide yourself. Most patterns
make suggestions, but as long as the disk fits inside the space
in the top of the limbs you can be creative.
almost all of the jointing systems in order to get the stuffed
head jointed to the body you are advised to glue the assembly
which will end up inside the head... then of course its tough
to tighten down and you get a nodder bear even if you didn't plan
on it. We recommend the head bolt joints which come in three
sizes (small, medium & large).
stuff the bear's head completely. Install the pre-attached
lock nut and bolt assembly, washer, and joint disk inside stuffed
head. Gather the neck opening and secure the joint.
Insert the bolt through the body opening; place the disk,
washer, and lock nut onto the bolt. Using an open ratchet
wrench and the key provided in the kit, tighten the lock nut to
the desired tightness.
many artists prefer to finish all the limbs before jointing
the body. Use the Head Bolts or prepared epoxyed
discs. This means you can place the disk and bolt
in limb, stuff and close limb before attaching to the
use, extremely durable and not very expensive once you have the
pop rivet gun. In order to install you need access from
both sides of the joint (like tap bolts and nuts).
to those for the bigger teds - just smaller!
be used the the "wee" ones. The limbs will still
move but should not be twirled the entire way around. One
method for string jointing is show below. Just follow the
arrows for the travel of your needle. Use dental floss or
really strong upholstery thread.
"Take a stitch
through the inside of one limb, thread needle through the body
- out the other side - through the inside of the other limbs -
back through the body and out. Tie threads securely and
bury the threads"
pin joint assembly may appear daunting at first, but the technique
can be easily learnt. Takinga limb with joint sewn
in, push the cotter
pin through the hole in the body. Inside the body, place
another hardboard disc onto the cotter pin followed by a washer.
Using pliers, spread
the two legs of the cotter pin apart. Grip one side of the
pin halfway with the pliers and twist down firmly
into a curl. Repeat
with the other side, and test for tension. If the joint
feels a little loose, the curled pin can be tightened.
read somewhere that a stuffing conjures up a tough aggressive
process so more suitable would be to call the process
shaping or sculpting.
with the head. Decide if you intend to fit plastic
safety eyes or the glass/shoe button type. Plastic
eyes must be put in place before shaping the head.
small amounts of polyester filling into the nose area,
placing them as firmly as possible. Continue
to add filling little by little into the middle of
the head first and then placing bits around.
Do not use large handfuls since this will create unevenness
and empty pockets which will cause your bear to droop
the head fills, use your stuffing stick and firm the
filling down evenly and frequently as you work.
At first the filling will be bouncy but as the head
fills it will become more firm and allow you to shape
the nose area very firmly. It will be very difficult
to embroider on a soft scrunchy nose.
you believe the head is filled, be sure to stuff the
stock repeatedly into the under chin area and into
the nose tip. really be sure the nose is firm
the head approximately 1/2" (12mm) of the neck
final inspection to sure that there are no lumps or
hollows. Fix the problem areas now BEFORE you
close the neck edge.
you are satisfied then insert the head joint.
- Invert the head joint
and lay the joint on the stuffing.
- Hold the head still upside
down and with joint in place. Stitch a running
stitch around the neck opening using extra long thread.
- Pull the stitches tightly
around the joint pin to gather the material around the
joint pin. Stitch from side to side through the
gathered fabric. Be sure there are no gaps which
would allow joint to slide down.
- The most important part
of this work is to be sure that the joint cannot slide
- Arms and legs are jointed
in a similar fashion... and you decide whether to fill
the limps with stuffing before or after completing the
jointing to the body.
One of the best tips we have
ever heard is the one which stabilizes the joint hold
area and makes locating the right spot inside the limb
and body ever so easy.
the joint holes are well marked.
- After stitching and before
turning, glue (white glue is fine) 1/2" x 1/2"
ultra suede pieces directly over the joint holes
- Allow to dry at least
- Use the awl to create
the joint holes one in each arm and leg. With
the obyd in a flat position, push the awl right through
both sides to make arm and leg joint holes. This
really helps to ensure that the legs and arms are positioned
evenly from side to side.