Zero Waste Toys

A short post of thoughts on toys…

One of the nice things about having children in your life is going to toy shops to choose presents, or making toys at home. Or even showing children the toys from your own childhood that you kept.

Some months ago I was challenged to try making a zero waste toy.

I had a poke around the Internet looking for zero waste toys, and found some dolls manufactured from recycled plastic and soft toys stuffed with their own scraps. While there were toys labelled sustainable and eco-friendly, it looks like zero waste hasn’t made many inroads to Toy Land.

Certainly, you could sew a toy and stuff it with its own or other scraps. There are multiple ways to do zero waste and this is a good way to use up fabric scraps in your sewing room.

But what if you could make a toy with no scraps and use all the fabric, and stuff it with only stuffing rather than virgin fabric?

I came up with a zero waste cloth doll, which I’ll introduce to you a bit later this week. I have to say, it was a lot of fun – probably the most fun zero waste pattern I’ve made yet. Sitting around sewing doll’s clothes took me way back to my sewing roots!

If you’re a designer of toys or zero waste things, I highly recommend the challenge of a zero waste toy. It’s low-outlay, lots of fun and certainly not a saturated market.



  1. Michelle Cahill on December 14, 2021 at 12:51 am

    I don’t have a reason to make a doll but I’m still looking forward to this pattern. One would think there would be more zero waste toys patterns out there.

    • lizhaywood on December 14, 2021 at 5:31 pm

      Maybe there will be in the future. It was interesting to read about changes toy manufacturers are making re: plastic packaging and plastic compositions in toys – I sort of went down a rabbit hole reading about toys and the environment.

  2. Anthea Martin on December 14, 2021 at 2:40 pm

    Well done, Liz.

    • lizhaywood on December 14, 2021 at 5:31 pm

      Cheers Anthea!

  3. Heather Lindon on December 15, 2021 at 3:04 am

    Hi Liz, nice idea, and toys are so fun. I found this you tuber, DinLife has some creative ideas for zero and low waste dolls and teddies, see an example here

    • lizhaywood on December 15, 2021 at 8:26 pm

      Thanks for the link Heather – a beautiful video and the whole doll thoughtfully sewn by hand! Thanks for sharing.

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