Soft Toy Creation for Beginners

A course by Maria Mandea
Play Designer. Bucharest, Romania.
Joined August 2020
, Play Designer

Design and sew your own playful textile characters using paper, thread, and your imagination

  • 97% positive reviews (207)
  • 2971 students
  • Audio: English
  • English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Polish, Dutch

Design and sew your own playful textile characters using paper, thread, and your imagination

  • 97% positive reviews (207)
  • 2971 students
  • 13 lessons (1h 55m)
  • 21 additional resources (11 files)
  • Online and at your own pace
  • Available on the app
  • Audio: English
  • English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Polish, Dutch
  • Level: Beginner
  • Unlimited access forever

Maria Mandea has a mission: to create playful objects and characters that help play become a part of our everyday lives. From establishing her own brand, Micul HAOS, to her PhD education in play, Maria specializes in researching and designing how play occurs for all of us, regardless of age or place.

In this course, explore your imagination and learn how to create your own playful textile toy character. Using basic materials like paper, fabric, thread, and buttons, stimulate your creativity by developing a unique concept and turning it into an original character that can be easily shared with the online creative community.

What will you learn in this online course?

Course table of contents

  • U1
    U1. Hello Hello!
  • U2
    U2. Generating Ideas through Play
  • U3
    U3. Let’s Do the Sewing
  • U4
    U4. Adding Details
  • U5
    U5. Get Your Character Out into the World
  • FP
    FP Final project
View details

Start your course by getting to know Maria, learning about what she does and why she does it. Discover some of the artists that influence her work and hear Maria’s thoughts on how you can use play to unlock your creativity.

Now it’s time to start developing your idea and drawing your pattern. First, see the materials and tools you need to begin. Then, see how to create playful dialog and use it to generate ideas, including how to collect some ideas for a rainy day. Start your final project by getting out some colored paper and using your scissors to define the shape of your character.

With the parts of our toy character ready, it’s time to sew the pieces together. Start with the hands and go through the entire construction process step by step. See how to hand stitch and use a sewing machine to create your toy. Once sewn, turn your character inside out, fill it with stuffing, and make some final stitches to close it up.

Learn how to add details to your character and give it personality. Using Maria’s tricks and tips, see how to add more complex elements into your designs. Discover how to illustrate the face, attach the hands, and easily attach a pocket. Finish your toy by assembling all the pieces and finalizing the small details.

Time to start playing! Learn how to create a simple photo setup with a colorful backdrop and artificial lighting. Photograph your unique character and share it online with your friends and followers. Discover what can happen when you share your creation with the world and bring your character to life with a unique story.

What is this course's project?

Design and create your own unique soft toy character. Learn how to find inspiration and develop your concept before sewing, finishing, and sharing your final project.

Projects by course students

Who is this online course for?

This course is for anyone who has an interest in play—from absolute beginners who want to create their own toy, to professionals interested in unlocking new ideas for their characters.

Requirements and materials

No specific skills are needed to take this course, but previous sewing experience and a playful spirit are nice to have.

Necessary materials include colored paper, cotton fabrics, scissors, a pen or a pencil, a fabric marker, a needle and thread, and a sewing machine (optional, but recommended).


2971 Students
207 Reviews
97% Positive ratings
  • More reviews

Maria Mandea

A course by Maria Mandea

Teacher Plus
Play Designer

Maria Mandea specializes in researching and designing how play happens in our daily lives. She is the founder of Micul HAOS (“little chaos” in her native Romania), a brand focusing on creating playful objects and characters that help develop a culture where play can happen for everyone.

Maria is also the co-founder of Super Serios, a design studio that develops urban games and playful art installations across a range of different mediums, including toys, human-scale board games, and stop-motion animation. You can find out more about Maria’s projects on Instagram and her websites.


  • U1

    Hello Hello!

    • Presentation
    • Influences
    • What Will We Do in This Course?
  • U2

    Generating Ideas through Play

    • Materials
    • How to Create Your Sketch and Choose the Colours
    • Creating Our Pattern
  • U3

    Let’s Do the Sewing

    • Hand Sewing
    • Going Faster with Our Sewing Machine
  • U4

    Adding Details

    • The Head
    • Assembling
    • Plugging All the Pieces Together
  • U5

    Get Your Character Out into the World

    • Creating a Simple Setup to Photograph
    • Sharing the Character with the World
  • FP

    Final project

    • Soft Toy Creation for Beginners

What to expect from a Domestika course

  • Learn at your own pace

    Enjoy learning from home without a set schedule and with an easy-to-follow method. You set your own pace.

  • Learn from the best professionals

    Learn valuable methods and techniques explained by top experts in the creative sector.

  • Meet expert teachers

    Each expert teaches what they do best, with clear guidelines, true passion, and professional insight in every lesson.

  • Certificates

    If you're a Plus or PRO member, get a custom certificate signed by your teacher for every course. Share it on your portfolio, social media, or wherever you like.

  • Get front-row seats

    Videos of the highest quality, so you don't miss a single detail. With unlimited access, you can watch them as many times as you need to perfect your technique.

  • Share knowledge and ideas

    Ask questions, request feedback, or offer solutions. Share your learning experience with other students in the community who are as passionate about creativity as you are.

  • Connect with a global creative community

    The community is home to millions of people from around the world who are curious and passionate about exploring and expressing their creativity.

  • Watch professionally produced courses

    Domestika curates its teacher roster and produces every course in-house to ensure a high-quality online learning experience.


Domestika's courses are online classes that provide you with the tools and skills you need to complete a specific project. Every step of the project combines video lessons with complementary instructional material, so you can learn by doing. Domestika's courses also allow you to share your own projects with the teacher and with other students, creating a dynamic course community.

All courses are 100% online, so once they're published, courses start and finish whenever you want. You set the pace of the class. You can go back to review what interests you most and skip what you already know, ask questions, answer questions, share your projects, and more.

The courses are divided into different units. Each one includes lessons, informational text, tasks, and practice exercises to help you carry out your project step by step, with additional complementary resources and downloads. You'll also have access to an exclusive forum where you can interact with the teacher and with other students, as well as share your work and your course project, creating a community around the course.

You can redeem the course you received by accessing the redeeming page and entering your gift code.

If you're a Plus or PRO member, when you complete a course you'll instantly get your personalized certificate. You can see all your certificates in the Certificates section of your profile. You can download your certificates as PDFs and share the link online. Learn more about certificates
Soft Toy Creation for Beginners. Craft course by Maria Mandea

Soft Toy Creation for Beginners

A course by Maria Mandea
Play Designer. Bucharest, Romania.
Joined August 2020
  • 97% positive reviews (207)
  • 2971 students