What Materials Are in Stuffed Animals?

The first commercially available stuffed animals date to the early 1900s. Although stuffed toys had existed for centuries in the form of rag dolls stuffed with fabric offcuts, the stuffed bears of the early 20th century revolutionized the toy market. Today, stuffed animals are one of the most common types of toys for children and are sold in hundreds of varieties. These toys are made out of a wide range of different materials.

Outer Covering

Stuffed animals have a variety of outer coverings 1. Early stuffed animals often used a soft plush fabric for the bear's "coat." This fabric was originally made from mohair, but today is usually made with synthetic polyester fibers. Fake fur is similar to plush but with longer fibers. Like plush, it is usually made with synthetic materials. Some stuffed animals are covered with plain fabric, sometimes printed with designs. In many stuffed animals, several types of covering may be mixed together in a single item. For example, a stuffed lion might have one type of covering for its body, but use fake fur for its mane and tail.


Early homemade stuffed toys were stuffed with material readily available in the household, such as straw or fabric scraps. The use of fabric scraps led to the name "rag dolls." Other materials used as stuffing in toy animals include cotton, wool or kapok fibers. "Beanie Baby" stuffed animals took their name from the plastic pellets or "beans" used to stuff the toys. As with most elements of stuffed animal production, synthetic fibers and materials, such as polyfill, are increasingly common in stuffing used for toys.


Most stuffed animals have details such as eyes, noses or mouths. Noses and mouths are often depicted using thread sewn onto the covering. Alternatively, they may be made from shapes of felt or other items attached to the toy. In some cases, eyes and noses are made from buttons or other household objects. Other details often sewn onto the covering include lines to indicate spaces between the digits.


Stuffed animals often have accessories such as clothing or ornaments. In some cases, this is part of an established character. For instance, Paddington Bear toys wear the character's signature duffel coat and sou'wester hat. These accessories are often made from felt or another durable fabric. Other common accessories include bows or ribbons, which are often used to distinguish "boy" bears from "girl" ones. These ribbons are made from satin or, more frequently, from synthetic materials.

Related Articles

  1. What Plastics Are Used to Make Toys?
  2. How to Identify a Berenguer Doll
  3. Difference Between Flat-Fold & Prefold Diapers
  4. Parts of a Marionette
  5. The History of Pull Along Toys
  6. What Is the Difference Between Feeding Bibs & Teething Bibs?
  7. How to Clean Little Tikes Plastic Toys
  8. Silly String Hazards
  9. LEGO Compatible Building Blocks
  10. How to Make Wax Dolls
  11. The History of Rag Dolls
  12. Does an Allergic Reaction From a Cat Produce a Rash?
  13. Petroleum Jelly Versus Diaper Cream
  14. How to Clean Japanese Dolls
  15. How to get ink off of dolls
article divider