How to make Animal Bean Bags

Easy DIY Animal Bean BagsI rarely sew (the thick layer of dust on my sewing machine can attest to that!), but you don’t need to be an accomplished seamstress to make these animal bean bags. I’m talking amateur to amateur here. All you really need are these templates, a sewing machine (or needle and thread) and a little enthusiasm!

I was inspired to make bean bags after reading about some bean bag throwing games on Playing and Learning Begins at Home. Problem was, I didn’t have any bean bags. I was going to buy some but then thought better of it because I had all the materials at home. All I had to do was make an easy to follow template, right? Right! Can you tell I was trying to convince myself?

Let’s start with the template. You can download it here.

Wombat and Owl Bean Bag Template

Turtle Bean Bag Template

Owl bean bag pattern

Turtle toy Pattern

We have an owl, a wombat and a turtle template. Do one or do all three. Or you could just print it out for the littlies to draw on (so versatile!)

Firstly, I wanted the bean bag to be safe for my children so decided to make a bag to go around the beans and then put that bag inside the finished animal. You can either just do a circle, measuring the size of the template, or you could do it the hard way, like me (amateur!), who decided I wanted the safe bean bag to be the same shape.

Sewing bean bags

Make bean bags

I cut out two pieces of fabric the same shape and sewed the edges together until I left a 5cm gap. With a spoon, I filled the bag with some small fish gravel stones that I had left over from our fish tank. You could also use acrylic beads or dried beans/lentils too. I hand-sewed the gap closed.

How to make bean bag animals

Then I cut out the templates. I doubled over the material so the two nice sides were facing each other and pinned on the template. I then cut out the material.Bean Bag template

Owl beanie template

At this point you may like to iron the fabric on low heat.  You don’t really want creases in your cute little bean bag (I learnt the hard way).

Next, I sewed around the template with the paper on. If you have a steady sewing hand or want to use the template again, I’d suggest taking the template off before sewing. I used it because, well as I’ve said, I don’t sew much and it was nice to have a line to sew on. I’ve since added where you sew on the template. Again leave a good 5cm gap somewhere on the template (I’ve marked where I left mine).Bean bag hand make

Take off the paper and turn the material inside out, a pencil will help with this. Squeeze the safety bean bag/s inside the animal and then you can either hand sew the last part of the material shut or sew it with the machine depending on the room you have to do it (don’t sew if the rocks/beans are anywhere near the sewing needle).


Viola, cute little animal beanies.

I’m sure there’s a sewing tool for this but I used the gas stove to heat a needle and bent it into a hook. Then, it was easy to sew buttons and thread onto the bean bags!How to use a needle to decorate with buttons

Now you can decorate them (my favourite part!). The buttons and thread helped to hide some of my slight sewing imperfections too.

Animal Bean Bags

My girls each have a bean bag and we can play all sorts of bean bag games. I’m sure I’ll be posting some of those games on here soon too!

What bean bag animal would you like to see? Do you sew?

Other great bean bag games and links

 Bean Bag Games at a Glance

Sight Word Bean Bag Toss

Turkey Beanbag and Turkey Toss

Bean Bags and Math Facts 

Recycling Bean Bag game

Need something else to sew? Animal Slippers

Print Friendly
 photo Subscribe2_zpsa2ec9457.jpg

Yes, I want ideas to get my child connecting with nature

* indicates required


  1. kirri says

    So cute! It looks like your girls agree as well :)

    I just had a thought that these would make great heating pads (minus the buttons) if filled with rice, which is what I give my kids if they have a sore tummy.

  2. Dotted says

    These are really cute!
    Watch using real beans. We had some with real beans that someone gave us and the bugs got to them. What a mess!

  3. says

    These are wonderful and so simple to make. I’m not good at sewing but I’m sure I could handle these. I also think these could make great (and affordable) gifts for children! Thanks for posting.

    • Penny says

      I really don’t sew Kate. My mum usually helps me if I have a craft I want to sew (which might be once a year!) but this time I wanted to do one myself. So I did. This was super easy!

    • Penny says

      I bet you could Kylie! I’m not known for my sewing skills either. In fact, this is my first ever sewing challenge that I didn’t need my mum to help with. So embarrassing!

    • Penny says

      Thank you! I love them too. I really like the little thread that’s coming out near the owl’s button eyes. That started off as loose thread from when I was sewing the buttons on but quickly saw the potential for making it look like little loose feathers. I love when something inspiring comes from no where!

  4. says

    These are adorable! My boys would love a crocodile. Alas, I can barely sew a button. But you know, this looks like it’d be fun for me to make…hmmm….

  5. Kim@FallingFaceFirst says

    These are just gorgeous! Alas, I’m so short of skills I use hemming tape as a permanent solution. Might have a little word to my MIL though – she has sewing machine savvy and these do look lovely and straightforward to make. :)

    • Penny says

      You’ll easily do them Kim. I’m not being modest, I really don’t sew. The last thing I sewed myself (whihc technically wasn’t by myself because the teacher helped me) was in home ec at high school! These are simple!

  6. The Monko says

    Goblin was looking at this post over my shoulder and said ” i want the turtle please” – thats his Christmas sorted!

    • Penny says

      They would make a nice stocking filler wouldn’t they. I wish I’d thought of keeping them for that. I’m sewing something else for them now though. I think I’ve got the sewing bug!

  7. Varya @ littleartists says

    These are great toys! I was pondering to make some bean bags for my classes and was thinking of making them in shapes (traingle, start etc for language activity for shape recognition and tossing game). How I didn’t think of making animal bean bags?! Love this idea!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 × two =