Make: Our DIY Gingerbread Plushies, Nibble and Snap!

Someone took a bite out of these adorably silly DIY gingerbread plush toys! Use our free gingerbread plush sewing pattern and simple tutorial to make your own festive soft toys. This is a deliciously fun holiday kid’s craft for sewing beginners…

Well, here we are, less than a month away from the end of the longest year EV-ER. If New Year’s Eve 11:59 is a finish line, I am feverishly stumbling towards it with the grace of an elephant – hair unkempt, clothes torn and wrinkled, spirits a bit bruised, but tenaciously (desperately) hurtling myself toward that imaginary line.

One of our DIY gingerbread plush sitting on a baking surface surrounded by felt gingerbread men and felt stars

When thinking about the projects I wanted to close out the year with, a set of scrappy little plush gingerbread people – pieced together from bits of leftovers, battle-scarred with bite marks, dismayed, disturbed, and running for the hills – seemed the perfect fit for 2020 (ha!).

Nibble and Snap, our spunky little DIY gingerbread plushies, are the ideal accessories to carry with you into this year’s holidays. Made with a lot of love and an extra pinch of grit for good measure, our recipe yields a soft, squeezable 9-inch tall cookie that is equal parts pure comfort and festive silliness.

The back of our DIY gingerbread plush soft toy sitting on a white surface next to a Christmas list

Turn our gingy over and you’ll find a small hidden pocket, perfect for stashing secret notes, tiny gifts, or wish lists.

I feel like I’ve said it over and over this year, but as with all things 2020, this holiday season comes with its own unique set of challenges, compromises, and possible disappointments. For kids who may be having a bit of a “hard candy Christmas” (keep scrolling for this classic Dolly holiday jam!) our softie can be used as a sort of makeshift holiday worry doll. Whether they’re filling the pocket with concerns, or using their softie for some self-soothing squeezes, these buddies offer your kiddos a simple way to deal with yucky feelings. Even the toughest cookies sometimes feel “crumby”.

Nibble and Snap are just a pair in a collection of over 100 fun free holiday kids sewing patterns, part of Sew a Softie for the Festive Season. For more sewing projects you can gift, visit our DIY soft town playset (house and landscape softies that stand up for squeezable small world play!) or our classic scrap fabric crab softie.

For your own DIY Gingerbread Plushies you’ll need:

Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains Woodpeckers Crafts and/or Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*

BASIC SUPPLIES:

  • (2) 9-inch x 12-inch brown felt squares
  • Scissors (I like these for kids)
  • A craft needle and embroidery floss or thread
  • Straight pins or safety pins
  • Organic stuffing or polyfill (I use Fairfield’s Fiber Fill)
  • Fabric glue or craft glue (I use this kind with kids)

OPTIONAL SUPPLIES:

Note: If gifting these to younger children, make sure all pieces are sewn on rather than glued to eliminate choking hazards.

DIY Gingerbread Man Plush Instructions:

  1. Trace our gingerbread pattern onto felt and cut out

    Download our free gingerbread patterns and print the template you’d like to use. Trace 2 copies onto felt (I’ve found it’s easiest to use a permanent marker) and cut out.

    Note: you’ll want to trace your pattern on one felt piece, then flip it over to produce a mirror image on your other felt piece (as shown above).
    Print the gingerbread man pattern, trace onto felt and cut out. | via barley & birch
    We also cut a small pocket shape out of our leftover felt, so we could add a little pouch to the back of our softie!

  2. Embroider simple features or embellishments

    While your pieces are flat, think about what details you’d like to add. This is the easiest time to add embroidered details or stitch a pocket onto your softie.
    Stitch details or add a pocket onto the flat pieces of your gingerbread man softie. | via barley & birch
    Remember to add the details to the “good” sides of your softie – it’s always a bummer to realize you’ve accidentally flipped your pattern over and added a pocket to what will be the INSIDE of your softie.

  3. Pin and stitch your softie front and back together

    Sew the front and back of your gingerbread man softie together using a running or blanket stitch almost all the way around the outside edge. Leave a small opening so you can stuff it.
    Sew the front and back of your gingerbread man softie together using a running or blanket stitch | via barley & birch
    Tip: young sewers may prefer to use safety pins instead of straight pins.

  4. Stuff!

    Stuff your gingerbread man softie with polyfill or other stuffing materials then sew closed.
    Stuff your gingerbread man softie with polyfill or other stuffing materials then sew closed. | via barley & birch

  5. Glue on features and accessories

    Use fabric glue to add details like felt/yarn eyes, mouths, hair, or other accessories to your gingerbread man softie.
    Use fabric glue to add details like felt eyes, mouths, hair, or other accessories to your gingerbread man softie. | via barley & birch

There are a million and one ways kids can adorn these to give them their own unique personalities. If you try this as a holiday craft with your kids, I recommend beginning by:

  • Providing a list of possible softie-decorating supplies. Set out small bowls filled with the decorative elements that can be used, or write down a list for reference.
  • Making a drawing of your gingerbread softie. Have your littles do a quick sketch of their softie design on the pattern before beginning. This can give you an idea of their expectations and a chance to work out any major issues before you’re all right in the middle of your sewing project.
Two DIY gingerbread plushies on a baking sheet with felt stars sitting on a green surface surrounded by glitter, pine branches, and twine

More ways to use our gingerbread plushies and gingerbread man plush pattern…

  • Throw a couple of these cute gingerbread stuffed toys into the car or a travel bag and use them as plush kids’ travel pillows. They’re just the right size, and a great little cuddler for kids who might be a bit anxious, overstimulated, tired, or just plain bored.
  • Instead of making a finished gingerbread plush for someone, gather all the pieces together and gift a DIY gingerbread doll kit to your favorite young sewer. Simply print our instructions, cut the pieces out of felt, and package with stuffing, small baggies of decorative elements, and colorful embroidery floss.
  • Pay homage to everyone’s favorite sweet + salty movie cookie by making a Shrek-inspired gingerbread man plush!
  • These cute cuddlers provide a wonderful way to practice different kinds of stitches and embroidery techniques. Sew on buttons, practice knots, stamp with fabric paint, and glue on sequins or ribbon bows. The hand-picked choices and handmade charm are precisely what make these so darn delightful!
Two of our handmade gingerbread plush toys running down a cardboard road in front of a row of miniature pine trees

Happy holidays friends! Here’s to getting through one hard candy Christmas safely together (but apart!) with the promise of a rip-roaring, blow-the-roof-off celebration together (truly TOGETHER) in 2021!

Hungry for more gingerbread? We’ve got you covered with our new gingerbread play bakery kit! Use it to make your own felt gingerbread bakery, felt gingerbread ornaments, decorate a set of cardboard gingerbread houses, and much more!

Find even MORE winter creative crafting fun with our pine tree art template bundle – a huge collection of custom-designed evergreen templates for art-making and play (complete with lacing cards for toddlers!).


*A note about affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Amazon, Etsy, or Woodpeckers Crafts. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click through to make a purchase we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!

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Amanda E.

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help kids and families discover their creative potential through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. Amanda has a background in graphic design, environmental design, and art curation. When not playing with ideas and designs for barley & birch, she enjoys working in freelance design, art, and illustration.

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