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These little birds were inspired by a keychain I bought from a fair as a child. The design has always been something that I thought was clever and the keychain has dutifully stuck with me throughout the years. Sometimes he's a christmas tree ornament, sometimes a backpack embellishment, but most recently he made his debut as the cat's favorite thing to play with. This inspired me to make her her own little bird, with a few add-ons for optimal pet fun.

This is a quick and fun sewing project that makes great use of the leftover fabric you have lying around. There are so many opportunities to personalize these to your taste through the fabric, string/yarn, and buttons you choose to use. I have included the process and templates for both a smaller toy and larger toy, but this project can be easily scaled to any size you'd prefer!

Happy sewing!

Note: This instructable outlines the process for using buttons as eyes. If you are making this toy for a small child or animal, you can choose to swap the button eyes for embroidered eyes or 2 circles of felt with the stitching through the center to look like pupils, to avoid a choking hazard.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
  • Fabric **2 different styles recommended
  • Scissors
  • thread
  • needle
  • poly-fil **or any other stuffing
  • yarn/thick string
  • 2x buttons **or embroidery thread
  • Pattern template **pdf attached:
    • small toy: approx. 1.5' height,
    • large toy: approx. 3' height,
    • Personalize your own template: keep angles of 40 degrees and 85 degrees and adjusting the radius.


  • sewing machine
  • cat nip
  • small bells
eilu1 year ago
I'm not a sewing person, but I just want to say these are absolutely adorable. I'm going to have to find someone to sew them for me!
Elaina M (author)  eilu1 year ago
Thank you so much eilu - what an awesome compliment. Im so glad you enjoy them enough to hunt down a sewer to help you out ! It's a pretty easy first time sewing project incase you fancy becoming a "sewing person" ;)
Ernest31 year ago
Elaina M (author)  Ernest31 year ago
Thank you :)
cos made it!1 year ago
I made these between the two pattern sizes. Super cute. They're on their way to the grandkids.
Elaina M (author)  cos1 year ago
Those look amazing! Thank you for sharing a photo of your handy work. I particularly love the vibrant fabric colors that you used. I hope that your grandchildren enjoy them :)
chimpdr1 year ago

My only recommendation as a veterinarian is not to use buttons on toys for pets as these can be removed and accidentally swallowed resulting in injury or obstruction.

Elaina M (author)  chimpdr1 year ago

Thank you Chimpdr. I've spoken to a few people who share this concern and I want to make sure that no animals come to harm! I've made some amendments to the intractable, including a title change and the addition of this note :

This instructable outlines the process for using buttons as eyes. If you are making this toy for a small child or animal, you can choose to swap the button eyes for embroidered eyes or 2 circles of felt with the stitching through the center that look like pupils, to avoid a choking hazard.

Thank you for your quick response and caution statement. I plan to try my hand at your little Birds as the OWL is our mascot at Rice University!
srudy1 year ago

This looks like a great beginning sewing project for my Junior High Life Skills class. Who does not like owls? I will give it a try, and post pictures of the results.

Elaina M (author)  srudy1 year ago

Wow! What an honor that would be. I would love to hear about it if this idea takes flight ;)

aaaaaaaahhhhh!!! I love the ear floofs, these are so sweet :D

Elaina M (author)  jessyratfink1 year ago

That's my favorite part Jessy! Ha! Happy to hear you like them too :)

seamster1 year ago

Ridiculously cute, Elaina!

Elaina M (author)  seamster1 year ago

Thanks Sam !!

These are the cutest!

Elaina M (author)  Penolopy Bulnick1 year ago

Right !? So small and round :)

KevinA131 year ago

I love these birds. I wonder if you could use leather, foam and make one into a little leather belt pouch for Larp/ or reenactors? So fun a project.

Elaina M (author)  KevinA131 year ago

That sounds awesome ! you could even maybe stamp some texture into the leather to give it another element. Super cool idea!

pinkfly1 year ago

nice! Cool and quickly done hand made gift

Elaina M (author)  pinkfly1 year ago

Thank you !

I brought these pairs from a flea market years ago in Japan, so I am so happy to see your instructables
Elaina M (author)  ruirui_ahsam1 year ago

So cute ! I got my original little guy from a fair years ago as well. Your little pairing is adorable. And who knows, maybe they're get some friends soon ;)

NikyN21 year ago

I've always wanted to have an owl plushie.

I'm SO doing this.

So thanks for sharing!

Elaina M (author)  NikyN21 year ago

I'm so happy to hear you like it :) I would love to see a picture your little owl when they're done - happy making

aattura11 year ago

For a pet toy -- No matter how tightly you sew those buttons, all it takes is a few bites with sharp teeth to get that button into a pets throat. Why not just do a quick and easy embroidery job for the eyes.

Elaina M (author)  aattura11 year ago

Good suggestion aattura. I haven't had any issues with my pets bitting off buttons before, but totally recognize that all pets are different and that this could be a concern for some pet owners. I will add a note to the eye's steps. Thanks for sharing and making this project better!

mrsmerwin1 year ago

I know a college student who may need a giant one for her dorm room--pillow sized.

Elaina M (author)  mrsmerwin1 year ago

That would be wonderful! And the pattern for this can be easily sized up by keeping the 40 degree and 85 degree angles, and increasing the length of the radius. I even saw some wonderfully hug buttons at the craft store that would work perfect for a larger "Mega Bird" version. :)

I am thinking of using some fake fur I have in my basement and adding a pair of quilted feet.

Elaina M (author)  mrsmerwin1 year ago

What a great idea! Natalina made an owl hoodie using fur, and the texture looks amazing ( ). I would love it if you shared a picture once you've made it. It sounds adorable!

nice post

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Cute idea!

Elaina M (author)  How to Knot1 year ago

Thank you :)