I've been putting together a new list of pony resources over the last few weeks. It's been a while since I did the first journal post on the topic and unfortunately a lot of the original links went dead when !BabyLondonStar deactivated her account. I also wanted to include some links for other non-eye and mark related things that I've found over the time I've been on deviantART.
There's a really cool tutorial by *BeeZee-Art for making spiral plushie horns that I thought folks might like to see for their unicorns. I think you could also apply it to plushies where the horn is sewn in already, getting your needle in there might be a little harder though.
Once you've finished sewing your pony you may want to take a look at ~Voodoo-Tiki's guide for taking photographs of plushies.
10 Tips for Taking Better PhotosA good photo is key to selling your plushie online. Your customer can't hold it in their hands and look at it from all angles, so it’s up to you to provide clear, sharp photos that will capture their interest and convince them to buy from you.
1. Use a tripod. A steady camera means a sharper image, and lets you concentrate on framing the shot. You can get a small, simple, perfectly satisfactory tripod for about $10, or in a pinch you can prop your camera on a flat surface If for some reason you are obliged to hold the camera, grasp it with both hands, draw your elbows in until they touch, press your arms as tightly as possible to your chest, and hold your breath while snapping the photo.
2. Unlike most subjects, plushies aren't going to fidget, so you have plenty of time to compose your shot (if your plushie does start fidgeting, run away as fast as you can and call an exorcist). Make sure the plushie is centered and fills up most of the frame. Most c
Edit: For choosing colors for embroidery floss, take a look at this nifty color matching tool by *thurinus.
Sulky embroidery floss colour matching tool!For all the standing I do in front of the embroidery thread shelf at Joann matching colours to a reference sheet, I've always had this nagging feeling that I could have picked better colours for the pony cutie marks and eyes. I've found brand conversion tools online, but no reliable RGB-to-thread conversion. I recently came across a spreadsheet offered on Sulky's official site that gave RGB value equivalents to their entire offering, and I got this idea to build a tool to help me narrow down candidates for a target colour.
Thought I'd share it with anyone who might find this useful
Sewing and Fabric Handling
Edit: I've separated the sewing and fabric handling links into their own section because the general section was getting a little overcrowded.
If you're interested in sewing your plushies by hand, you should definitely take a look at this hand sewing tutorial by *otohime0394. It shows you how to do most of the stitches you'll need to make lovely plushies.
Edit: *ShadowedPorcelain has also shared this very nice guide to beginning hand sewing. It includes a bunch of helpful stitches with numbered diagrams and some other sewing details as well.
Also take a look at this awesome ladder stitch tutorial by ~Saint-Angel. This is the same basic stitch I use to I sew the heads onto my ponies (although mine don't look nearly as nice as her example in the tutorial!).
Edit: Here's another great tutorial by *MLPPlushies showing how to use ladder stitch. This one has an example that's part of a pony plushy.
Edit: *MLPPlushies also put up this sweet tutorial of how to she attaches manes and tails to her plushies. This one has great example pictures.
I've seen two good posts lately with tips for dealing with minky.
One is by *MLPPlushies and you can find it here: [link]
The other is by ~Voodoo-Tiki and you can find it here: [link]
I don't usually work with minky, so I'm hoping that these will be useful next time I do!
~gurliebot has also posted this pretty sweet comprehensive guide to dealing with minky. It includes notes on tools and techniques including some pinning and clipping tips. I tend to pin with the heads of the pins outward so I don't get stabbed as much, but this is a good place to start if you haven't sewn much before.
Edit: I'm separating the fabric sources into their own section here since they've grown in volume a lot. There's a bunch of info on minky sources in this section.
Some people have asked me where they can buy fabric for plushies. I prefer to buy from my friendly local quilt store, but I understand that not everyone is lucky enough to have one of those. I've personally used and can recommend Fashion Fabrics Club [link] (although their search engine is terrible, so you have to sift through their listings to find what you want).
Other plushy makers have suggested the following online stores (which I haven't used) :
The Minky Boutique [link]
Fabric.com [link] (serious warnings below)
Fabric Depot [link] (serious warnings below)
Distinctive Fabric [link]
Quilt Expressions [link]
Minky Baby Fabric [link]
(For people in Europe) Plush Addict [link]
Some plush makers have been specifically having major problems with Fabric.com. Take a look at *WhiteHeather's journal post (and the comments) for details of problems that some people have had with them.
Do not ever order fabric from Fabric.comAs my last journal entry stated, I've been having issues with my most recent order from Fabric.com. I know many other plushie makers are also experiencing problems with them. I would encourage everyone to avoid purchasing from them and spread the word that they are no longer a good source for minky. I placed and order for four yards of fabric and a swatch on August 26th. Their website states that orders will be shipped within two business days of purcahse. Nearly two weeks later on September 7th, I received an email saying one of the colors I purchased was out of stock and that those two yards would be canceled. They say that there is a 7-10 day wait for a refund if an order is canceled. I think this is ridiculous when I did not cancel the order myself and when I paid through paypal and they could easily refund the cost with the click of a few buttons. However, I waited the 7-10 days. Thi
Edit: ~averisimilitude reports having some luck ordering from Fabric.com and getting prompt delivery if you stick to things that they have in stock. *WhiteHeather also reports that as of mid-April Fabric.com had a huge glut of orders causing delays, so you may have better service if you call them to order over the phone.
Edit: *PrinceOfRage has also had some serious problems with the Fabric Depot. For more details, see this helpful journal post discussing their experiences with Fabric Depot and several other online minky sellers.
Minky OrdersSo, as promised here's been my experience ordering from the various minky companies I ordered from:
The Minky Boutique--
Date Ordered: March 17
Date Shipped: March 19
Ordered: Baby Blue, Royal Blue, Purple, Grey, Azure, Samples
I've ordered from them before and they've always been super nice. They ship fast, they offer quality product, and they let you order in half yard incraments INCLUDING a 30x36" square instead of an 60x18" rectangle which is GREAT if you need the grain going a certain way. Their colors are true to to the name and match colors from other places by the same name (EXCLUDING MINKY BABY FABRIC--SEE REVIEW UNDER). They offer a very affordable swatch pack that I highly reccomend buying. Also, when using their website be sure to look at the NAME of the fabric, not the color shown. Some of their pictures are glitched and show the wrong color entirely. I always try to buy at least 5 yards from them to take advantage of their discounts making the minky very affordable. More
*Nsomniotic pointed me to this really neat post by *MLPPlushies talking about minky colors for use when making ponies. If you're interested in matching specific ponies it's definitely worth a look!
MLP Resource: Minky Color Guide(Please keep an eye out for more helpful journals centered around plushie making! More will be made in the future!
Also, keep checking back, as more characters and their colors will be added soon!)
MLP: Minky Color Guide:
Which minky color works best for ______ (insert MLP character here)?
This journal is an attempt to answer that question. There are more than 50 shades of minky out there, and as a plushie maker, I realize that it can be difficult to know which color will work best for the particular pony you're working on. This is made even more frustrating by the fact that many of the images of the minky do not show the true color!
I recently ordered a ton of swatches from fabric.com, and I'm continuing to collect swatches from various websites, in an attempt to get most of the minky colors. Because I have the actual fabric with me, I can compare it to the characters' colors to see which fits best, to ensure that you can make a plushie that is as show-accurate as possib
Edit: ~munchforlunch has also posted this excellent minky color guide for the big minky suppliers.
Eyes & Marks
I'm going to run through a bunch of different ways to handle putting eyes or marks on your ponies with examples. I'm leaving embroidery until the end because I've gathered a bunch of links for embroidery specifically.
Paint on Eyes
I've been warned by other deviants that you can't paint with any of these techniques on minky because the fabric is too fuzzy to take the paint evenly. You can however paint onto felt or fleece and then applique that onto your minky (see the applique section below).
The first way you could do eyes is with paint pens. This is the way I've done them in the past. I used paint pens for t-shirts that I got from my local fabric store. You need to watch out to get the ones that are paint (non-transparent) rather than ink (transparent) so they'll work on all colors of fabrics. They're usually marketed as "for dark/black shirts". Some paint pens need to be ironed or steamed to make them permanent, so be sure to read the directions. The ones I bought were similar to these: [link]?
I printed out an image of the eyes I wanted on my pony, cut part of it out with a craft knife and then traced it onto my pony in pencil. Then I had to free hand draw the eyes over the pencil lines using my paint pens. You could also draw the eyes totally freehand if you're a better artist than I am.
If you're comfortable painting with standard paint, check out this tutorial for painting eyes on fleece by ~mousenet. I think the tutorial is using acrylic paint, so your mileage may vary as far as washability based on the paint you use.
If you happen to be painting on a flatter cotton fabric you can also check out this lovely detailed tutorial by *pheleon.
Edit: Here's a lovely tutorial by =Siplick for painting eyes as a separate piece on felt using acrylic or fabric paints. The eyes in this tutorial are much more anime-esque, so it should be easy to adapt to pony styles. You'll need to stitch the felt eyes onto your pony once they're finished.
There are lots of nice options for printing eyes. You can print onto t-shirt transfers (you want the ones for black shirts) or there's some lovely printable canvas nowadays. If this sounds good to you, check the vector section below to get yourself some vector eyes and then look at ~nitanita's tutorial for ironing on eyes.
If you're feeling adventurous about what you put through your printer, you could also print your eyes more directly using *dolphinwing's technique (video explanation only).
Edit: Here's another explanation of how to print on fabric using an inkjet printer by ~catfruitcup (this one's in the form of a detailed PDF with lots of photos ).
If less traditional 3D eyes sound neat to you, take a look at *Renegar-Kitsune's tutorial for making fimo plushy eyes.
Edit: ~nfasel has also put up this helpful tutorial on how to make polymer clay eyes for plushies that discusses how to build the structure behind the eyes as well as how to attach them seamlessly to your plushie.
I'm a big fan of the look of applique myself. If you haven't heard of it before, applique is sewing another piece of fabric on top of your piece of fabric, like the eyes on this lovely girl by *WhiteHeather
If you look at her eye you can see the layers of fabric that *WhiteHeather sewed on, with stitches around the outer edge of each layer to hold it down securely.
There are lots of good applique tutorials around deviantART and on the web. Here is a hand appliqued tutorial I found online [link] and a machine applique tutorial [link] . Both of those use felt, but you could use fleece with those techniques.
You can also use other fabrics if you're willing to sew all the way over the edges so they don't ravel. ~dust-bunny and `taeliac have both made lovely machine embroidery tutorials that explain the general technique for that.
Embroidery is a big topic, so I've separated it off here at the bottom. You need a bunch of kinds of resources if you want to embroider eyes and other marks on your ponies.
You can make up your own embroidery designs from scratch if you want, or start from an existing vector image. There's a list of vector links after the embroidery section.
If you want to try hand embroidering your pony's eyes, check out this awesome tutorial by *caashley.
Edit: You can also look at this tutorial by *Essorille describing a slightly different hand embroidery technique for eyes and marks.
Edit: Here are some pretty sweet tutorials by ~EthePony.
How to machine embroider patches and use stabilizers: [link]
The economics and supplies for setting up a custom embroidery business: [link]
How to embroider fabric for plushies: [link]
You will need a pattern to give your machine so it knows how to embroider the eyes and several people have written lovely tutorials for that step.
There's this one by ~munchforlunch
And this one by *SpaceVoyager
So you want to digitizeIn this tutorial I'm going to attempt to explain how to autodigitize images into embroidery files. There are many different software programs out there. Here is a link to some free software called Stitch Era: http://www.imprimeo.net/howget.htm
I rarely use Stitch Era so in this tutorial I'll be showing you how to digitize using PE Design Lite!
This software is best used in conjunction with an image editing program like Adobe Photoshop. I've found that PE Design Lite is quite finicky with colors so you need a high quality vector image of the design you want to digitize.
So the first thing you need to do is find or create your design. Once you have a good quality image open your software.
Note: PE Design Lite has only the most basic of functions. For more embroidery options you'll need to buy/download more advanced digitizing programs.
Step 1: Open software
Step 2: Import your image
This is the file I want to digitize:
Step 3: Click the autodigitize button and the color grid will pop up.
You can also check out this post by ~EthePony where he talks about his design process. [link]
Edit: Here is another embroidery pattern-making tutorial for the program SophieSew by *adamlhumphreys
Edit: Here's another tutorial (this time video) on digitizing embroidery patterns by the talented *Noxx-ious
TUTORIAL: Digitizing for Embroidery! [Video+Audio]Hey everyone! So here is my tutorial on digitizing for embroidery. I took some video screen capture with Jing and commented on what I was doing! (Ohlordmyvoice. XD )
- Photoshop CS 5
- PE Design 7
- Brother SE400 sewing/embroidery machine.
If you have PE design lite, I think this is about the same. And the process should at least be similar with other programs as well. Enjoy, and I hope this helps!
Edit: If you use Stitch Era Universal (a free embroidery program) you may want to take a look at this four part tutorial by ~Yukamina-Plushies describing how to make your own embroidery files:
~EthePony has also started selling bundles of embroidery patterns. [link]
Edit: ~TheHarley also carries some lovely packages of pony-specific machine embroidery designs in her etsy shop. [link]
Which ever source of pattern files you go with, you'll probably want to check out E's awesome chart of eye size vs pony size! [link]
If you don't want to go through the hassle and expense of setting up a machine you can get someone else to do your embroidery for you.
The awesome ~EthePony sells embroidered patches and machine embroidered kits with minky ( [link] ).
Edit: ~TheHarley also sells some nice looking finished patches in her etsy shop. [link]
You could also look for someone more local to you with an embroidery machine. There are lots of people who sell commissioned embroidery professionally, but the prices are often high for sets of only a few pieces (like two eyes) as opposed to bulk orders of thousands.
If anyone else who does commissioned pony embroider would like to be listed in this section let me know. I don't buy a lot of embroidery, so I'm limited by the sources I find out about through friends or by browsing deviantART.
I've been referred to *datNaro several times for this super awesome gallery of vector eyes: [link]
You can also make your own vector eyes. Most of the tutorials I can find are for Photoshop or Illustrator, but I use the free program Inkscape ( [link] ) for my vector work (all my patterns and diagrams are drawn as vectors) and it appears to have much the same controls.
*Bernd01 has a lovely tutorial on creating eyes from scratch in Photoshop.
~SirCxyrtyx has a general pony vector making tutorial for Illustrator...
And a more specific eye tutorial as well.
=mandydax also has this general pony tutorial for Inkscape.
If you're interested in doing more vector work you might also want to check out ~Quasdar's guide to doing high quality vector work (I learned some neat things from it about how the miter limit controls work in Inkscape!).
I'm working on prototypes, but this week has rather wiped me out (we had some of my husband's relatives in town so there was a lot of obligatory visiting time). Hopefully I'll have more of my own stuff to show you tomorrow.
In the mean time, I'm going to leave you with some pretty pictures of ponies made by other people.