An I SPY bag, a last minute gift idea!

Kelly, from According to Kelly shares a wonderful tutorial for making an I SPY toy. What a perfect little stocking stuffer. This quick and easy homemade game would be great for keeping kids busy while in the car, waiting at  appointments or .………

Kelly writes,

easy sew i spy bags

I’ve been collecting little doo-dads forever (paper clips, foam stickers, confetti), wanting to make “i spy” bags for the boys. (click on pictures to enlarge.) finally, this weekend, i actually got around to making them. they came together easily & were super quick to make. the best part… the boys love them. here are the directions, they might be wordy, but it’s just because i’m trying to explain everything the best i can. really they truly are easy!

Supplies for I SPY soft toy

2 fleece squares that are 7″ square
a 4″ square of clear vinyl (at least 4 mm or thicker)
Inkjet Fabric (can be found at most craft stores, or you can make your own HERE)
poly-pellets (can also be found at craft sores… it’s usually used for doll stuffing)
aprox. 30+ small doo-dads to fill bag (peruse craft stores, etc. for “little” stuff. buttons, scrapbook stuff, household odds & ends. for ex: paper clip, button, penny.)

How  to make an I SPY bag

assembly (click on the pictures, to enlarge them for a pictorial how-to):
easy to make i spy bags1. on the wrong side of one piece of fleece, using a ruler, find the exact center of the square. using your ruler, measure out from the center & draw a line 1.5″ from the center on all sides of the square (make each line about 3″ inches long). then using scissors or a rotary cutter, carefully cut along the lines to make your “window”.
2. center the vinyl over the window, on the wrong side of the fleece. you might find it helpful to use a bit of tape to hold it in place. very carefully sew the vinyl to the fleece. *vinyl can sometimes stick to the sewing machine, so you might want to test it first. if you find it sticking, you can use a piece of tissue paper between the vinyl & whatever it’s sticking to & just tear it away when you are done.) i personally like to sew with the fabric side against the pressure foot, but do whatever works for you. be sure to double stitch to prevent anything from falling out! i do a straight stitch around the window, and then go over the straight stitch with a decorative zig zag stitch.
3. if you haven’t already, now would be a good time to gather all your little doo-dads, type up your “i spy” list in a word processing program like word. i like to type it in a 3×3″ square text box. then, print the list out onto the fabric paper. cut out your list, make sure to leave enough room around the list, so you can sew around the edges (i figured this one out the hard way.) place your “list” on the solid (back) fleece square, with the right side facing up. zig zag around the edges to prevent it from fraying (you can also dab a little “no fray” on it as well).
4. now that your front “window” square, and back “list” square are done, pin them together, wrong sides together, & carefully sew around the bag, making a sem of about 1/4″ – 1/2″. again, i like to double stitch – the first time around i did a straight stitch, & then i did a decorative zig zag stitch the second time around. *be sure to leave a small opening on one side of the bag that you can use to pour the contents in.
5. fill your bag with your doo-dads, then start pouring in the poly-pellets, a funnel is really useful here. i start with about a cup of poly-pellets & slowly add. personally i like the pellets to fill the bag, to the top edge of the window, but it’s all personal preference. you just don’t want to add so many pellets that it’s hard to manipulate the bag & objects.
6. when you are down filling, carefully shake everything to the bottom of the bag & carefully sew up your opening. & then, ta da! you are finished.

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  1. I’m totally making this! Except I plan on using rice to fill, as I have a ton extra from making rice bag warmers as last year’s xmas gifts!

  2. It’s a little too close to Christmas to make one for my daughter, but her birthday is right after…this will be the perfect gift! Thanks 🙂

  3. These are great….i work with kids and i know this is an educational, fun thing to make for them. gonna give it a go. this toy covers so many development areas…well done “skip to my lou”

  4. I made several of these a few years ago, they have since changed the label on those poly-pellets to read that they are not to be used for children’s toys, rice is a good alternative if the pellets are a concern.

  5. I think these are great. I’ve also been saving little things to hopefully make one someday. Unfortunately I’m very short on time these days so I actually purchased one for my 3 year old for Christmas. I found someone who attaches a tag with pictures of the actual items inside which is great because she can’t read yet.

  6. I just made some of these to give as gifts as well. They are so easy and really fun to make. 🙂

  7. I was just wishing my kids were young enough to enjoy the I SPY bags so I could make them, then I remembered- I HAVE GRANDKIDS! Sheesh. How do you forget that? Thank you for the adorable idea. This will be an easy throw together craft for Christmas. You are amazing!

  8. This would be a great gift for my niece. I am sending this link to my sister now! Thanks!


  9. These are so fun! I obsessively made different levels of difficulty for my nieces last year… you can read how I did that here. Mine are big enough that they got kinda heavy, though. :>)

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