From the Old Toybox: Ragdoll Articuno Plush

An old Articuno ragdoll plush, made about 15 years ago.
A remake of the old ragdoll Articuno plush.
A side-by-side comparison of the ragdoll Articuno plush toys.

This is one of my favourite plush that I made back in the early 2000’s – a light blue cotton and velour rendition of an Articuno. At the time, I was around 11 or 12 years old; in celebration of about 15 years of its existence, I decided to remake this plush using flannelette, fleece, and other remnants.

The challenge was to recreate this plush, by using almost the same patterning and keeping the style, while showing my improvement in stitching and technique. Here’s the key parts that I loved about the original:

1.The Metal Snap Button Eyes

A closeup of the old Articuno plush, showing the metal snap button eyes.

There’s something about taking an official design and then having it look so different, that it makes you like the character even more. Younger me was inspired by the old digimon toys that were available from that time (I even started making amigurumi because of them).

Image result for digimon plush 90s - it is part of the digimon pals series.

I didn’t have the same metal snap buttons, so I ended up using regular buttons; I wish I could find more colorful snaps though. I was debating whether to use uniform buttons with slightly pinkish colour, or two slightly different buttons that had matched the original colour better; I ended up using the slightly different buttons.

Close up of the old Articuno plush, next to two different sets of red buttons.

2. The Gourd-Shaped Body

Side-by-side comparison of the two Articuno plush toys, taken from an angle.

I feel like this Articuno would not feel like a ragdoll without its lumpy body shape. Everytime I look back at it, I wonder if I was trying to stay true to the official art, or if I was actually going for the ragdoll look.

Younger me didn’t realize my first cutout would make such a round body, so a post-op cut to the back was made to synch the waist. This procedure left some wrinkles near the neck, which is why the cut is L-shaped.

Side-by-side comparison of the two Articuno plush toys, the backs of both plushies are shown. The old one has a noticeable L-shaped stitched scar on its back.

3. The Obsessively Complicated Wing Fingers

Side view of the old Articuno plush, with one of its wings held up.

Another key element I still love are the finger wings! For younger me, it was absolutely necessary to give the Articuno fringes, and I still find it amusing how I vividly remember the need for this detail.

I wanted to make the wings out of the cotton material, and the fabric was prone to fraying if it was handled too much. It would have been easier to cut out the fringed area in felt, but I didn’t want to compromise the thickness or longevity of the final result. Since the fabric was prone to fraying, it needed to be stitched together; each ‘fringe’ became finger-like once they were stuffed.

To support the weight of the wings, I had added plastic boning for structure near the base; this time around, I used two long zip ties.

Side view of the new Articuno plush, with its wings held up.

4. The “Derpy” Appearance

Side-by-side comparison of the two Articuno plush, showing the Derpy looks they have when they are seen head-on.

It was important to keep the dopey look that the original gives off, especially when you look at it head-on; it looks like a clueless parakeet, and I love everything about that. If I had tried to make the eyes look like the artwork at the time, I probably wouldn’t be so drawn to it as I currently am.

5. The Bacon Strip Velour Tail

The tail piece from the old Articuno plush, which resembles a floppy piece of bacon.

Last but not least, the bacon-strip velour tail! I love how I can tell that younger me was getting too excited to focus on completing the tail nicely – it didn’t matter how it looked, because it was almost done and ready to be played with! I used some dull scissors on the stretchy velour, creating the uneven sides; to me, the shape of the tail resembles a really fatty piece of bacon.

It wasn’t a coincidence that either side of the tail were made from different shades of blue – the lighter blue was on the underside, in reference to the anime where snow was falling from underneath the bird. In reference to this reference, the newer version has a glittery underside.

Side-by-side comparison of the two tail pieces, one looks like bacon, and the other looks like a banana peel with a glittery underside.

And there you have it, my favourite parts from my old ragdoll Articuno! Have you tried to remake something you’ve made from years ago?

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