While stuffed animals are made up of different materials and parts, we cannot deny that their outer lining or what most people refer to as its “fur” is what dictates the cuddliness, softness and feel of the toy. After all, they make up a huge chunk or about 95% of its outer structure. It’s what we see and touch for the most part.
Through the years, stuffed toy manufacturers have used an assortment of materials and at certain occasions even a combination of them at a time. While others have been in use for decades and even more than a century, there are those that have just enjoyed prominence today. Today, let’s get to know about the more popular fur options for our stuffed animals.
This supple, rich and smooth fabric is characterized by its long soft nap or pile. It consists of silk, rayon, cotton or similar other material and is described to be luxuriously soft, rich and full to the touch. A god number of the earliest stuffed animals manufactured in the day used this material which is why the term “plush toys” came into existence.
Mohair refers to a type of soft silky wool from the Angora goat. This renowned fabric has a silk-like texture, high luster or sheen and a velvety touch backed by its resiliency and durability making it a favorite material for toys then and now which earned it the moniker “diamond fiber”.
Also known as faux or fun fur, this material was first introduced back in 1929. As its name suggests, it is made to resemble natural fur but is instead made out of synthetic fibers. Unlike real fur, it doesn’t require cold storage so it’s easier to handle and tends to last longer even without meticulous care. Because it’s fabric through and through, many manufacturers have switched to its use in a bid to support animal rights and welfare. It’s a popularly utilized fabric not just in the toy industry but also in fashion and lifestyle.
While majority of stuffed animals are seen with either fake or real fur, fabric has now become a popular option. Made out of either solid colors or of intricate patterns, they come in varied textures too. Sometimes, brands use a combination of different fabrics and patterns to come up with a more interesting look and texture to the toys.
Stuffed animals may be cute and cuddly but when it comes to the gift wrapping department, it can be a little tricky. Because they come in all shapes and sizes, it can be pretty difficult to find the right supplies especially for the bigger items. Fret no more because today we’re dishing out a step by step trick that’ll up your wrapping skills in a flash. Read up.
Step # 1: Find cool wrapping paper.
Think about the recipient and what they might like. If the packaging appeals to them, it builds up the hype and betters the experience. There are lots of options for sale or if you’re crafty enough you can DIY one yourself using paint, stencils and a craft paper. Into calligraphy? Put that into god use. It’ll make quite the unique and personalized print for that wrapping paper. We suggest putting the toy inside a box so that you could disguise it. Stuffed animals have a pretty obvious form. We don’t want to ruin the surprise.
Step # 2: Always add a bow.
Think about it as the cherry on top. These ribbons simply make the present even more special than it already is. There are various ways to tie a bow and depending on how simple or grand you’d want it to be, the internet is brimming with tutorials. Open that search bar and type the words in. You’ll be a master bow maker in no time.
Step # 3: Add a little extra.
Apart from the toy, it would be fun to add another present into the mix that’s related to it. It could be a necklace which can be tied around the stuffed toys’ neck, a diary to hold memories between the recipient and the toy or perhaps a little accessory for the teddy like a matching hat or clothes. This is optional but don’t you think it would be fun?
Step # 4: Print out a birth certificate.
Remember those beanie babies? They went viral during the ‘90s and early 2000s because of this. It’s simple but it’s a fun addition. Look up a blank certificate, print it out and place it in a pretty envelope. Leave the name blank so the recipient can choose one themselves.
You see, wrapping and gifting stuffed animals should be fun not only for the recipient but also for the giver. What are you waiting for? Time to wrap!
Stuffed animals are no doubt cute and cuddly. But over time and as they get played with, these toys are bound to get dirty too. Dust, oils, food stains and the like will not only make them look old and dirty but they too can hasten their wear and tear. Of course, we don’t want that. So to help everyone with this dilemma, we give you a little run down on how to clean and wash these babies. Take a look!
1. Examine – Assess the level that you’d have to work with. Is this process just about washing off dirt? Will there be a need for repairs? How about bugs? You need to know what you’re dealing with. 2. Read – Most toys come with a tag. It’s usually a fabric one attached and sewn into the hemline that bears the manufacturer’s logo alongside care instructions and materials used in production. Be sure to take a look at this. It will give you an idea as to the thigns that must be and cannot be done to the toy. 3. Freeze – For stuffed animals that have a bug infestation, they must be sealed inside a plastic bag and placed in the freezer for a day or two. This shall help kill the bugs and eggs. 4. De-stuff – After two days, carefully undo a small portion of the hem and remove the old stuffing alongside the insects and bugs. Make sure to put those in another sealed bag and throw them away. 5. Wash – Prepare lukewarm water and a mild detergent. Say no to bleach and any form of heat as these can erode certain parts of the toy and dull its color. This can be done by hand using a soft bristled brush or by machine. With the latter, place the toy inside a mesh bag or pillow case first for extra protection. 6. Rinse – Again, make sure to use lukewarm water. Rinse repeatedly until soap is completely removed. 7. Dry – Let the stuffed animals sit on a slightly inclined surface for a while to let excess water drip. A machine dryer would make this job easier. But you can also air dry these toys or use a handheld dryer. Just make sure that it is not exposed to the sun or uses the warm setting of your dryer.
8. Stuff – Once dry, you can now put a new set of stuffing into your stuffed animals and sew the opened hem back up. Voila, good as new!
Steiff stuffed animals come in all shapes and sizes. Some even come from decades of old with a few bearing more years than our grandparents. These toys have become quite an international favorite then and now. With their impeccable designs, undeniable allure and timeless charm, they are certainly not leaving everyone’s shelves, desks, beds and playpens.
Young and old alike, we all have these cuddly wonders either for play or for display. They’re toys for the kids and collectible pieces for the kid at heart. Regardless, it is a Steiff owner’s responsibility to ensure that the said bears are well taken cared for. Even with their impeccable durability, their longevity will still depend on how well they are maintained and love so today we’ve decided to dish out some pro pointers on how to take care of Steiff stuffed animals.
Provide for proper and adequate storage. – This is not only for sanitary purposes but also to keep the toys away from certain risks such as having pets chew on them. At the same time, this will ensure that they won’t act as a safety hazard considering that when stepped on, they are likely to cause one to slip. Cabinets, floating shelves, dresser tops, toy chests and cabinet drawers would do well.
Perform regular inspections. – Get those eyeballs rolling and go check up on those teddy bears on the regular. It won’t hurt to examine them at least on a monthly basis to see if they would need any cleaning or repair. The earlier you detect them the earlier you provide for the needed fix.
Know their needs. – Now we don’t mean this like we would if we’re talking about a pet but even teddy bears have their needs, food excluded. Because Steiff toys are manufactured using different materials, it is important to be wary of what these materials are to provide the right care for the items. Check their tags or look it up on the internet.
Wash and repair as needed. – When washing your Steiff studded animals, see to it that you use very mild soap and zero bleach. Water should be lukewarm. Use soft-bristled brush, sponge or cloth. When drying, use the cool setting on your machine or handheld blower and never dry them out in the sun. Heat is likely to fade out colors. When a damage is detected, repair it immediately or bring it to a repair shop if you need assistance.