Make your own action figures!

When I was about 11 years old, I wanted some Ninja Turtle toys. Since my parents wouldn't buy me any, I decided to make my own. I made up the pattern for the turtle bodies, and my Mom showed me how to work the sewing machine. They were the first things I ever sewed.

The finished turtles looked like green gingerbread men with lumpy green backpacks, but I thought they were awesome. Their respective purple, blue, orange, and red masks and armbands were made of felt that was hot glued in place, and they each had their own custom-made weapons.

As a kid I was quite pleased with myself, and I've been sewing and making stuff ever since.

I decided to make an updated version of my original homemade Ninja Turtle action figures for my own kids to enjoy. I also used the same body pattern to make a little Darth Vader figure as well.

The turtle design should offer some challenges, but still be simple enough for beginning sewers to complete.

The Darth Vader figure was more of a challenge--especially his helmet. I had to go Boba Fett-style on it, although in tiny scale. His lightsaber handle detaches from the light-beam (you know, for when he's not engaging in combat).

Step 1: The bodies

I've included a pattern for the basic body shape. It's fairly simple, and can be used to create figures that can be decorated and made up any way you can imagine. The pattern is my own design, created similar to the one I made up when I was a kid.

Constructing the body will require both machine sewing and hand stitching. Someone with a little bit of sewing experience may need to help beginners, as parts of this may be slightly difficult or frustrating.

This is a great sewing project for beginners--boys and girls alike. Homemade toys are more meaningful, plus the creating of them provides some great learning opportunities for kids (not to mention the good time spent with parents).

I decided to make the pattern so the head and body pieces are made and stuffed separately. That way, when they are stitched together, a definite "neck" shape is created.

This is different from what I did as a kid--as a kid I just cut and sewed together two whole pieces and stuffed the body through a section left unsewn on the side. You could do it this way if you wanted--but you would have to adjust the pattern accordingly.

Start by downloading, printing, and cutting out the body pattern. (The body is on two sheets, which will need to be taped together.)

i finally finished a couple of weeks ago.&nbsp; thanks so much for the idea and the patterns you provided, i'm really happy with the way it turned out!<br />
Yea! Somebody made one!<br /> <br /> That's awesome--it looks great. You got all the little details done quite nicely, too. This makes my day.&nbsp; Way to go! &nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; <br />
<p>you did an awesome job you have the coolest insructables ever thanks alo</p>
<strong><em>What type of the cloth material did u use??</em></strong> <strong><em>And cud u tell us how did u made the </em></strong><strong><em>Vader's belt and shoulder pieces, and face and the helmet detail ?? cud u pls!!!! ur kindly<br> &nbsp;<br> <br> Macboy98 :)</em></strong><br> <br>
I used fleece for the bodies and heads, and some cotton scraps for Vader's cloaks. <br><br>For Vader's helmet, belt, and shoulder pieces, I used bits of thin, single-ply cardboard to build up each piece. If you examine the photos carefully, you can see what the pieces were made of, and how they went together. I used regular white glue to glue them together. I do not have a pattern for any of these parts, as they were all made through trial and error.
<strong><em>Thank you for Replyin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D</em></strong>
i appreciate all the work and detail doing into each of these, especially darth vader's helmet. thats very neat! :D<br />
Thanks!&nbsp; They were lots of fun.<br />
hey how that helmet do in the vaders bodie its big pls answer i dont know how
The upper section of Vader's helmet was pieced together through trial and error using hot glue and thin cardboard. <br><br>It was a tricky process, and I apologize that I don't have any more photos to share.
hey can you post a picture for making dark vader helm the upper part
mine looked like a 5 legged black monster.
Nice ideas. It's a really cool instructable 10* (I'll try to do 10 star...)
That's just awesome!! I just taught my 9 year old how to sew an army pillow... I'm seeing bright things in his future now :-)
my sister would love these!
This is so cute, I would make one, but I doubt it will turn out right :P.
you made an awsome work, but where's the darth vader's helmet pdf? the pdf on step 11 only shows the first piece. thank you, keep doing it great.
I'm glad you liked this!<br /> <br /> I might not have stated it clear enough... that main piece that I've included in the PDF is all I have to offer. The rest will have to be done on your own. It kind of sucks, but there was so much trial and error involved that I wasn't able to produce patterns for the entire thing. Since the helmet is basically a sculpture, duplicating it on your own will require a good eye, patience, and a lot of determination.<br /> <br /> I&nbsp;felt the most useful thing I could do was share the piece that I started with, and at least get people headed in the right direction. <br />
nice! im goin to make a Domo plush!<br />
Kool, Im gonna try it<br /> thanks<br /> P.S. I will tell u if I poke my eye out<br />
Those look like something you'd find at a store!&nbsp;Very professional. Makes me wish I&nbsp;could sew without injuring myself and surrounding others.<br />
you should micro size them
Micro size them? How small are you thinking?
i dont know but maybe like 5 inches tall and 3 inches wide
i love and collect tiny stuffed animals. get me a picture!
My kid asked for a Yoda one, and about 5 inches tall would be just the right size to go along with Vader. Hmm...
ok and congrats on the gorilla glue cardboard contest
wow great instructable......i made one, however i did not have a sewing machine and had to do it by hand.it turned out good with a purple body and a blue mask and a jedi sord of coat.......i wish i had a camera so i could post a pic
Insane detail, how'd you make the buttons?
The buttons are just little tiny pieces of cardboard glued on to the bigger piece of cardboard with white glue. I was kind of scared off by these little details at first, but they weren't near as hard as the appear. I spray painted all the pieces black, and then added details with enamel model paint.
wow, you're good! you could really do a lil business out of it. You would really do fine, I'm sure.
You could use the shell for a helmet. Just a thought.
AMAZING!!! I'm making a Donatello as soon as I can!
That's what I like to hear! Please post a picture when you get it done!
That is flippin' amazing!
theres no helmet plan, can anibady helme? Thanks a lot!!
The third page of the "vader cloaks and helmet" PDF is the pattern for the lower half of Darth Vader's helmet. This pattern is for the piece shown in the second and third photos in step 13. You will need to use stiff, single-ply cardboard. I don't have any additional drawn out plans for completing the helmet. I had to sculpt, shape, and continually modify the helmet through trial and error along the way to get the results shown. To duplicate it, you will need to do quite a bit of sculpting and eyeballing on your own. The pattern for that main helmet piece should at least get you going in the right direction. Good luck!
100% sure you're going to win the contest with this Instructable. 5/5 stars!
sh£$%" that mask must have been hard to make
mine came out really really creepy looking:(
That's okay. (Is it creepy good, or creepy bad?) The real question is, did you learn anything new while you were making it? If so, it was a success no matter how it turned out!
This is awesome!!!
sorry but I cant find the helmet in the pdf, it only have 3 pag....... Can U put in again? Thanks a lot! ;)
looks like something you would buy in a store! great job!
Thank you!
those are both amazing! great job and great instrucable

About This Instructable


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Bio: I got an old sewing machine when I was just a kid, and I've been hooked on making stuff ever since. My name is ... More »
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