Making Amigurumi: Cute Tools of the Trade

Making Amigurumi - Tools of the Trade by Awkward Soul

Welcome to my new tutorial series, Making Amigurumi! This is the first installment!

New to making Amigurumi? You’ll need some tools first.

I will discuss –  1. Must Have purchases, 2. Project dependent items, 3. Optional Tools, and 4. Do not buy

Required Tools:

YARN – If you are new to crocheting I’d start off with a Worsted Weight yarn – it is easy to find at craft or yarn shops.

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What type of yarn? Optimally, acrylic is inexpensive and washes well – thus very good for starting the amigurumi hobby. You may also chose wool based yarn. For a newer crocheters (or one not used to TIGHT gauge) I’d avoid 100% cotton yarns for now as they don’t have much give, thus harder to work with. Blends of acrylic, wool, cotton, bamboo work well. Check out my Yarn Reviews for yarns that work well for amigurumi.

Do not get nubby yarn. Do not get crazy fuzzy yarn. Heck, I’m still not patient enough to use nubby lumpy yarns – the tight gauge makes the stitches hard to see and the yarn snags on the hook too much.
What colours? What do you want to make? (pssst, how about my easy Octopus amigurumi pattern?)
Getting started, I’d purchase a white and some attractive solid (non varigated) colours.

HOOK – Which size of hook you will need will range greatly on how tight you crochet and the yarn used. Sadly, all worsted weight yarn is not created equal – some are thinner than others.

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3.5, 3.75, 4, 4.25mm hooks cover me for all of the variances of worsted weight. If you were looking to not buy a ton of hooks, I’d start with a 3.5mm and 4mm hook for worsted weight, and go from there.

Not all crochet hooks are the same as brands like to sometimes have different handles and head shapes. They also come in various materials such as metal, wood, bamboo and plastic. I HIGHLY recommend metal crochet hooks – if you don’t know your “sweet spot” gauge yet + crocheting tightly = snapped hooks, especially the plastic ones. The plastic hooks look very nice, but don’t buy them! When I was new to crochet, I bought the pretty rainbow pack of crochet hooks and broke all of them. Bamboo and wooden crochet hooks are pretty nice and have a bit of grip to them – I’d go with those if you cannot get a metal one.

Crochet hooks are easy to find at yarn or craft shops, and even at places like Walmart and dollar shops. Another good hotspot for crocheting or knitting tools is thrift shops or garage sales.

STITCH MARKER –  To decrease errors, you’ll want to mark each start of the round. There is lots of stitch markers out there, but I prefer the trusty small gold safety pin. Safety pins are cheap, easy to find, and have multiple uses. The crummy issues with safety pins is accidentally getting stabbed in the finger, and yarn getting caught in the spine of the pin.

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They make these nice plastic stitch markers, however I find them a little too big for the size of amigurumi I make.

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Ditto with these spiral things being too big for amigurumi crocheting.

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You may also use scrap yarn and thread it through the stitch, but I find using a closing pin is much more secure and faster to use.

STUFFING –  You will need to fill your amigurumi with something! Thankfully, polyfill is pretty cheap – cheaper if you buy it in larger bags.

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I prefer this style of fill – it lasts a long time, squishy yet holds form.

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I used use a different stuffing that was “Eco friendly” but found my amigurumi turned out really hard, heavy and not as filled up.

It is easy to get mixed up and buy the wrong fill! I’ve received fill that was actually quilting backing or pillows – not the same stuff!

Finding stuffing can be hit and miss. Craft stores should have it. Yarn shops sometimes have it. Walmart sometimes have it in stock. Dollar stores (especially Asian dollar stores like Daiso) have stuffing, but often in small packages enough for 1-2 amigurumis, thus not cheap if you plan to make more amigurumi than that.

EYES – this will be the trickiest part, but thankfully, I have been noticing safety eyes showing up more at craft stores. See my Amigurumi Eyes FAQ for further information.

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YARN NEEDLE – These yarn needles piss me off as I constantly lose them. Some shops dare to sell the plastic pink ones for like $3 each. You can get a wide, blunt metal one for $0.25 to $4. Find one that has a wide “eye” so you can thread your yarn through.

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I prefer the metal needles as they have weight to them, plus are thinner making it easier to fit inbetween tight stitches.

If you cannot find a wide eye’d needle, you may be able to get away with your crochet hook, though life is much easier with the yarn needle.

SCISSORS – you know, to cut your yarn with. You probably have some on hand.

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Depending on your project, there are a few other tools you might need:

EMBROIDERY FLOSS – You’ll need this stuff if you want to sew on mouths, noses or even eyes. Floss will be your friend if you are making amigurumi for young kids, as safety eyes aren’t recommended for young children.

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Luckily, floss is cheap! $0.25 each cheap, though it can range up to like $2 for high-end silk material. You can find floss at most craft stores, dollar stores, and Walmart. Sometimes they sell them in the toy section in friendship bracelet kits.

Colours? This is project dependent, but 90% of the time I use black embroidery floss. Occasionally I will use white, pink and red.

SEWING NEEDLE – You may need a needle that has a sharp point instead of the yarn needles blunt point. The eyes on these are usually really small, so you couldn’t use as your yarn needle.

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This is needed to sew on the embroidery floss – especially if you want to stab the floss through stitches. You can also use a sewing needle to sew on felt pieces.

FELT – Felt can be used for many things: eyes, face, noses/beaks, pink cheeks, feet, spines, spikes, hands, ears, clothing, tails and more! If you can’t crochet something (like the beak is too tiny) you can glue or sew on a bit of felt to compensate. You can add felt behind the safety eye to change the look of the amigurumi or make the eyes bigger. Luckily, felt is quite cheap and easy to find at craft or dollar stores.

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You can also find felt that is stiff, patterned or covered in sparkles.

Of course colour selection is project dependent, but for me the most commonly used colours are white, black, orange, and pink.

FABRIC GLUE – If you choose not to sew on felt pieces, simply fabric glue them on. Good fabric glue can be flexible enough so the form can move, but also hold up to spot clean up.

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You will also want a glue that is clear and does minimal discolouration when dried.

NOSES – Maybe your amigurumi needs a nose? You can purchase plastic noses, similar to safety eyes. I touch on this briefly on my Amigurumi Eyes FAQ.

Optional Tools:

PLASTIC PELLETS – If you want to add weight to your amigurumi, say to keep it sitting upright, you’ll want plastic pellets. Plastic pellets work amazing for amigurumi with feet to keep the toy standing! I put plastic pellets into “very optional” category as I feel I can live without them. You can somewhat make do with rolling and packing stuff tightly on the bottom and some amigurumi can sit on their own with a well made pattern or feet/tail balancing. (Of course not applying to an amigurumi that’s all big head + no body)

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In my experience, plastic pellets are not that cheap and pricey to ship due to weight. A few times I’ve see a good deal on them, but it is for like a giant bucket of them. If you are truly desperate and cannot find the pellets, cannibalize a beanie baby or stuff toy for them. Plastic pellets are also a choking hazard for young children.

To use, I just simply sprinkle then pack them into the feet or bottom of the amigurumi. From there, stuff the rest of the form. You may also sew the pellets inside scrap fabric.

How about beans or rice?  Those can attract pests or have issues if you amigurumi get wet. I had a nice frog a cousin made me for Christmas, stuffed with beans. His legs got wet and he swelled up and started to stink – it was awful.

PINK OR RED FABRIC PAINT / BLUSH – Want blushing cheeks on your amigurumi? You’ll want fabric paint , though cosmetic blush does the job too. By the way, you’ll want something to apply the paint or blush with, such as a brush or q-tip/cotton bud. I prefer to glue on pink felt as cheeks.

STITCH COUNTER – these doo hickies are little counters you can use to keep track of what row/round you are on.

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Stitch counters are mostly found with knitting supplies as you can attach them to your knitting needle. They work just as good not attached to anything. They are fairly cheap, running around a couple dollars a piece.

Do you need one? Maybe. I use them, especially if I’m crocheting away from home. Can you live with out it? Most likely. You can keep track of what round you are on by simply printing out the pattern and marking rows completed or use  scrap paper or text document on your computer to keep count. If you are crocheting on the bus, using a stitch counter is easier than pulling out paper and a pen to mark your rounds.

Don’t bother to buy:

Stuffing stuffer tools – I had one come free with my package of stuffing, but you can also buy them from craft stores and amigurumi crafting sellers. Don’t bother to buy! First off – your fingers can stuff your amigurumi easily enough. If you need to insert stuffing in really small spots, like long narrow legs, you can simply use the back end of a crochet hook, knitting needle, pen, chop stick or yarn needle.

The stuffer I got for free with my giant bag of stuffing is pretty much 1 wooden chop stick. Other models look like a plastic yarn needles with the “eye” chopped, giving you a 2 pronged device, which you can make yourself, though using the end of your crochet hook works just as well!


I hope this post helps you inspiring amigurumi makers out there! I plan to do a few more related tutorials in the future!

Finishing Amigurumi Tutorial: Sewing the body closed and hiding yarn ends

Finishing Amigurumi Tutorial - Awkward Soul

What do you do are making an amigurumi and you finish the last row of the main body. You may have a neat little circle opening that needs to be sewn shut. The amigurumi instructions say something like “Fasten off, sew the body shut.”

Here’s what to do when you need to close an amigurumi form:

TIP: This works best for 6 stitches remaining. More than that, I’d a number of decreases until you get 6 stitches left.

1. If you haven’t done so already, Slip stitch the next stitch, snip the yarn with a few inches of leftover, and pull the thread through.

Thread the yarn tail.

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2. Insert the needle into the next stitch, and out the stitch after that.Finishing Amigurumi by Awkward Soul (2)

3. Insert the needle the same way as the previous step, but for the next pair of stitches.

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Keep doing this until all stitches are worked in this manner.

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I left large loops to help show, but more often you won’t have big loops like this.

4. Pull the yarn tail, which will close the circle closed. Do not pull too hard as the yarn could snap.

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5. Knot off the tail. I insert the needle in the next stitch and tie the yarn off from its loop to secure the tail. Do this as neatly as possible if this is the top head of an amigurumi.

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Now, what to do with that yarn tail?

Hiding the Yarn ends/tail

Use this method to hide the yarn tail. This method works for all yarn tails, such as tails leftover from sewing on legs/arms/head/tail.

1.  Using your needle with the yarn end threaded, stick the needle through the body of the amigurumi – through the stuffing.

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As you can see here, I made the needle go right through the entire shell.  At least have it go an inch or so through the body. You can squish the body to help the needle pass more distance.

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2. Pull the yarn through. If you place your fingers against the body while you pull the yarn, you are less likely to have stuff fuzz out.

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3. Snip off the excess yarn tail. If there is a bit of contrasting yarn colour peeking out, use your crochet hook to stab it back inside the amigurumi.

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And you are done!

The turtle featured in this tutorial is my Turt the Turtle Amigurumi Pattern!

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Amigurumi Eyes – Where, What, How To’s / FAQ / Info

Amigurumi Eyes – one of the big roadblocks in getting your amigurumi to look like all the other amigurumis out there. Roadblock? Well, it can be a pain in the butt finding a place to buy these eyes for a good price! I remember when I was starting out to make amigurumi, I couldn’t find the eyes anywhere, and the finished product just doesn’t look right without those round black eyes.

I’m going to talk about 1. Where to buy, 2. What to buy, 3. Other options

Firstly, here’s my eye stash
amigurumi eye faq
(yeah, there’s some bells mixed in there)
From top row, left to right – 8mm noses, bells, 10mm brown eyes, 12mm blue eyes, 4mm black eyes, 8mm black eyes.
middle row – 15mm noses, bells, 10mm yellow eyes, 12 mm cat eyes, 6mm black eyes
bottom row – googly eyes, bells, 10mm blue eyes, mix of amber eyes, 4mm clear eyes, mix of 8mm clear eyes and red eyes.

I’ve recently had to order more as I need some bigger black eyes, around 10mm-15mm, plus more clear eyes in a larger size… and some noses.

Where to buy:

+ Cheapest price, especially in bulk
– Have to wait for shipping
(- sometimes you don’t want the eyes in bulk or you prefer to buy locally)

I’m all for going online to buy my eyes. I’m not paid by these guys, but I’ve gone with CR’s Crafts with great success. At the time I write this, 8mm x 100 eyes are $5.12. 100 of them! That’s 50 amigurumis!
Also, Etsy has plenty of sellers that sell eyes!

Craft Store
+ Local, can see the product in person
– can be expensive
– limited options

When I first got into amigurumi, I hit my local craft store. All I could find was this stuff:
amigurumi eye faq
Which is fine, but if you want that black eye look you are SOL. When I bought those eyes, it was on sale for like $4.99 for 6 (vs online for $5 for 100 = WTF).
Also, these coloured eyes are inferior to the clear eyes, which I’ll talk about later on.

Asian Craft Store or Asian Dollar Store
+ Better bet to find black amigurumi eyes
– still not as cheap as online
– limited sizes or selection

I’d recommend hitting (if you have one) an asian craft store or dollar store. One craft store (Yaohan Centre in Richmond, Vancouver, if the craft store is still there) I snagged some black eyes that were sold seperately but I can’t remember how much, lol… around $0.50 an eye I think. However, I’ve also found eyes at Daiso and Yoko yaya – Japanese dollar stores, in their craft section. There, everything is $2, thus a pack of 6 eyes is $2.

So, to sum that all up, if you are new to amigurumi, I’d hit Daiso if you can. If you want ultra cheap, need eyes for your amigurumi octopus death army go online. When I order, I order a lot to save on the shipping. Maybe see if your crafting buddies need some too and order together!

Now you have some ideas where to go… but What to buy? It really depends on the size of the amigurumi you make.
With my patterns, I mostly use the 8mm black eye for an amigurumi around 4″ to 6″ round. For mini amigurumi that’s around 2-3″ round, I use the 5mm or 6mm eye.
amigurumi eye faq

I have a lot of teeny eyes, 4mm and I NEVER use them! Unless you are making amigurumi that are like 1″ long, or want squinty tiny eyes, I wouldn’t buy them. The picture below is the 4mm eyes I never use.
amigurumi eye faq


Noses have great uses too. Here is 9mm and 15mm noses.
amigurumi eye faq
I’ve used them for noses of course, but they make great bird beaks! Again, size is tough for these depending on your look, but I found the 15mm is the best for the 5″ amigurumi. There are also more oval noses (which I just ordered) that would make good eyes as well.


Clear eyes are great purchase instead of coloured eyes. Why? Flexibility!
When you look at most coloured eyes, it’s just the backing that is coloured. Also, those fancy glittery glass eyes are pricey, and you can get a great effect with the clear eyes.

I use nail polish (which I have a TON of) to paint the back of the eyes. A Duo-chrome, multiple toned polish works great. You can also use glitter polish. Below, I used a Sally Hansen HD polish in “Lite” (yes, that gnary yellow polish)
amigurumi eye faq
Here I hold the eye with a set of tweezers so I don’t get polish on my fingers and ruin my current manicure (OPI in “Stranger Tides”). Feel free to go crazy and paint in more detail like lines or a different colour around the rim of the eye. You may also apply tape around the edge of the eye so you don’t leak polish onto the globey round part (or just use nail polish remover to take off any smears).

amigurumi eye faq
The result is a pair of glittery yellow eyes that sparkle!


Also to keep in mind is if the backing is included in the eyes or noses
amigurumi eye faq
Backing varies between eye size, but either way it holds the eye onto the amigurumi. Some eyes do not have a backing but a hole through the stem which you will need to tie the eye on from the back, or have a more dangly eye look.  In the past I’ve ditched the backing and would glue on the eyes, but using the safety snap backing is a more secure option.


What are you other options?
What if your amigurumi is for a child? Or you cannot find eyes at your local craft store/ don’t want to buy online? What if you need bigger, crazier eyes (like psychotic spiraling red ones for your amigurumi octopus death army)

– Embroider on the eyes with black yarn or floss
– Buttons (you can get buttons that have a backing instead of the typical holed front ones)
– Make them yourself with polymer clay


If going the clay route, pick up some glaze to make your eyes shiny! There is also transparent clay so you could make some interesting effects!

Hopefully that helps some of you with your amigurumi eye problems. Now I have to sit tight while I wait for my eye shipment to arrive… around 400 eyes and noses! Shoot, I better make enough amigurumi for that!

Tiny Crochet

I’ve been experimenting with size lately. First, I had some idea to make one of those thread yarn coaster things (of course, a spider web pattern) and it failed with me trying to crochet a round. Thread yarn and with a hook that small (1.4mm) was going to make me more blind! >__< This gives me even more respect for the people who can crochet that small!

So, next plan – How about some small amigurumis?
teeny orca 1

Making smaller amigurumis is very simple. Typically, amigurumis are made with worsted weight yarn with around 3.5mm to 4.25mm hook. For the tiny ones, I went for sport and fingering weight yarn and a much smaller hook and squinting eyes.
I followed my pattern the same, but with 2.5mm hook, sport weight yarn and 4mm safety eyes. For more on how I created this pattern, see my Orca post. I wish I had the normal sized Orca’s around to compare sizes. Either way, so teeny! For this Orca I added a little magnet in his tummy, he can become a fridge magnet for my boyfriend or something.

teeny orca 2

Changing the size via yarn weight is pretty easy. The only thing extra you will have to figure out is what hook to use with it and what size it’ll become. There is lots of great sock yarn out there, as well as baby type yarns.
Mini Tako 2

For the tiny octopus, I used a fingering weight yarn with again a 2.5mm hook. I was hoping he was going to be smaller, like the orca, but turned out a little bigger than excepted. He still looks like a baby compared to the worsted weight official pattern size.
Mini Tako 3

Maybe when I’m older and crazier I’ll try making those crochet thread doilies. Until then, teeny amigurumis!
Mini Tako 1

Patterns for the Orca and Octopus are available at

Felting v-card

I’ve never felted before.

It seems felting got popular a buncha years back and I didn’t jump on the bandwagon because:

  1. I was too poor and only bought cotton or acrylic.
  2. I’ve never owned a laundry machine, and not gonna pay $2 a load to attempt to felt.
  3. I mostly make amigurumi, scarves and other small projects.. usually not felted (that or I don’t look at the felted patterns).
  4. I again don’t buy wool as amigurumi works up great with a cheap, stiff acrylic yarn
  5. Felting seemed scary – if you screw up, theres no going back! OMG O__O

I came across this wonderful pattern (Raverly link) in crochet form and HAD TO MAKE. I do have felting happy wool (Yarn Addiction + a close out sale on discontinued Bernat Lana) and been buying wool at Dressew’s $2 a ball deal (Vancouver, Canada – best craft/fabric store ever).

With that said, I got the mats, the mad skillz and bought the pattern… shit I should felt the swatch, eh? And screw $2 a load in the washer in my apartment building.

I HATE doing swatches. Crocheting up a square to check my gauge sucks. I NEVER get near the right gauge, I crochet tight – worse as a beginner – you couldn’t fold my dishcloths! I find crocheting the square, pulling it, doing it again to be a chore. Luckly with amigurumi, gauge isn’t too important when you know how tight you crochet and the yarn you are using.

So I torture myself and make this:
Felting 2

As you can see, I needed a bottle of Vex so I wouldn’t get pissed off I am wasting nice wool yarn. In retrospect, I shoulda made it a triangle so I’d get a cool pirate patch out of the deal. At least I did it in half-double crochet stitches, I like that stitch.

Screwing the coin washing machine – I’m doing this by hand. I’m crazy, I’m cheap and I’m bored with yarn, a pattern I wanna attempt, and a couple bottles of Hard pink lemonaide.

So, Felting by hand =

  1. Put project in warm or hot water with a bit of dish soap (as per
  2. Swish around your project, re-creating agitation – the action creating the fibers to join together.
  3. Continue to shake/wave/swish your project until it has shrunk/become dense enough to the desired effect. Ensure you are checking your work frequently to prevent over felting.
  4. Remove excess water, then block.

So what happened to me – I went stupid and added way too much soap, creating a bubbly mess that looked like a super bubble bath.
Felting 1

This pic was after I scooped most of the bubbles out after a few swishes. I grabbed my bottle of Vex and a novel to kill the time and shook the swatch in the hot water. For a swatch this small, it took only minutes, however bigger stuff I suggest you bring something to do (or drink *wink*). Again, the excess of soap bit me in the ass and I rinsed out the soapy swatch.

The result:
Felting 3

Hmmm it worked…very well – very effective – not a pain in the ass – not scary…. that was it?