Bean Bags: A Scrap-Busting Tutorial

My kids are hands on, tactile kids. They love to kick balls, throw stuff and investigate the consequences of each and every action.

I decided to make them some beanbags, in the hopes that perhaps I could make a felt target for the floor and they could amuse themselves for a few minutes with it. I didn't expect the extent of their imagination. The beanbags have been in use for about a week and in that time they've been building blocks, hats, Pip had made them into a bed for her cars and then one was a blanket on top of the cars. In short, we love open ended toys. Gross motor skills, sensory experiences and so on and so forth. Or: they feel really cool in your hands. You can heat one up to fix an ouchie, throw one in the freezer for an ouchie, pile them on top of each other and knock them down. They also look pretty snazzy.

Gather materials

Fabric either 7 inches x 14 inches OR 2 x 7 inches
Wheat to fill the beanbags
Coffee to fill your tired brain
Iron
Scissors/Rotary cutter (I rotary cut mine)
Pins/ Safety Pins

Notes: I got my wheat from a local animal supply shop. I got my coffee from my kitchen pantry. I have also heard of people making calico beanbags for their inner beanbags. I didn't do this. The wheat I have used isn't particularly pointy and I used a small stitch to make the seams as durable as possible. If you were making these for very young children or to sell, I would be more inclined to overlock/serge seams as well as perhaps making an inner bag. I think this is a great way to use up odd shapes of material you have kicking around. You could also make a giant patchwork piece of fabric and cut it into the rectangles. Have fun!


Method:


1. Cut fabric for your beanbags. I used one piece of fabric per beanbag and cut it 7 inches wide by 14 inches tall. This is going to give me a square beanbag.

I meant to cut just a few... 
2. Wrong sides together, sew around the edges using a small stitch length (2.2mm) and a 1/2 inch seam allowance leaving a gap at the top. Trim your corners as demonstrated to make a crisp corner.

It took me 10 minutes to put the red lines on the picture.
I got Pippa a drink, broke up a toddler fight, got everyone
an apricot ball, explained that when you clean up the toys
we can watch ABC and thought about coffee.
3. Turn your beanbag inside out and press the top gap seam allowance to the inside.

I deliberately took these pics the day after I'd painted my nails.
Take heart that they no longer look like this.

4.
Prepare your beanbag filling area. Take note of the important items.




5. Scoop some wheat into your jug from the bag and holding the beanbag open over the bowl, carefully pour the wheat into the beanbag. Pin the opening closed with one or two pins. This step can be done with toddlers underfoot but is exponentially faster without. That is why there are no pictures of this step.

A visual of how much I filled my bean bags.

6. Sip your coffee and ensure that you drink it before it's cold. Priorities, please.

7. Stitch your opening closed, going back and forth at the ends a few times.






8. Oh my goodness children, stop yelling at the cat. Pip, here's your dummy.

9.
Hooray!


I initially meant to sew just a few up and when I began sewing the fabric I'd cut I noted that it was taking an extraordinarily long time. When I counted the cut fabric I'd cut 34 beanbags out. We have a plentiful supply now and I have given some away as a gift. Which brings me to:

GIFT IDEAS

I can hear the refrain of 'Humpty Dumpty' coming from my bedroom. Will I be putting a pre-emptive beanbag in the freezer?