Introduction: Darth Vader Plushie

Picture of Darth Vader Plushie

Make your own plushie action figures!

Here is how I made both a Darth Vader and a Donatello plushie. This basic body shape can easily be decorated to become any character you want.

This a fun little intermediate sewing project. I hope you'll make your own plushie Darth Vader, Donatello, or whatever you want. Enjoy!

Step 1: The Bodies

Picture of The Bodies

I've included a pattern for the basic body shape I used for both Darth Vader and Donatello.

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.

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.

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

Step 2: Trace Pattern and Cut Out Shapes

Picture of Trace Pattern and Cut Out Shapes

I used green fleece for the turtle body. Whatever you use, begin by folding the best sides of the material together so that there are two layers (so you only have to cut out the pattern once).

With the best sides of the material facing each other, you can cut out the pieces, pin them together, and take them straight to the sewing machine without ever adjusting them. Then when you turn the thing right-side-out, you will have the nicest sides showing.

I typically use Sharpies to trace out pattern pieces, although the ink tends to bleed a lot with certain fabrics.

I often use both scissors and a rotary cutter to cut out material--whichever works best for the type of cuts I need to make.

Step 3: Pin Sides Together

Picture of Pin Sides Together

Pins are our friends.

Without pinning the pieces together, they may tend to slip and move when you begin sewing them together.

Sometimes I get lazy and don't use pins when I should, and then I have to waste time picking out avoidable mistakes.

Step 4: Sew Sides Together

Picture of Sew Sides Together

For seam allowances, I usually just line things up with the edge of the presser foot, and off I go. This gives about a quarter inch seam (see main photo).

When you get to a sharp corner, put the needle in the down position, lift up the presser foot, and pivot your material (see the second photo).

When you're going around a tight curve, hold the material somewhat firmly with your fingers, and really let the machine feed the material to the needle. This helps keep things from shifting and getting all puckered (see the third photo). Sometimes you'll need to lift the presser foot and pivot your material in these situations as well.

Be sure not to sew the top of the neck shut, or the bottom of the head. You have to turn things right-side-out and stuff the parts through those openings. Once you've sewn around the body and head sections, check to make sure all the seams look good, and aren't too close to the edge (last photo).

Step 5: Turn Things Right-side-out

Picture of Turn Things Right-side-out

Use your fingers, a dowel, a pen, or the handle of a wooden spoon to turn everything right-side-out.

Step 6: Stuff the Body and Head

Picture of Stuff the Body and Head

Use small wads of filling to carefully stuff the entire body all the way up to the top of the neck.

For the head piece, fold up a little of the bottom neck area up into the head, and stuff it mostly full (main photo).

Now, wedge the head on top of the body's neck (second photo). You may need to add or take out a little stuffing to make this fit well.

Step 7: Stitch Head to Body

Picture of Stitch Head to Body

You'll need about two and a half feet of thread. Feed it through the eye of a hand stitching needle and tie the two loose ends together.

Begin by going through the body's neck and up into and out of the lower part of the head, and then gently pull it snug (main photo).

Keep doing this same thing, all the way around the neck. You will have to tuck, pinch, and tug as you go to keep the head where you want it. After you go around the entire neck once, you might as well go around again and make sure that head is on there good and tight. When you're satisfied (or when you're almost out of thread), tie it off.

The first time you do this, you may end up with a sloppy, lumpy transition from head to body. I did. But I got better with practice.

You have now created your very own plush action figure! But it still has no identity...

Decorate away, and be sure to make it cool!

The following steps show what I did to finish my Ninja Turtle and Darth Vader action figures. I've included some plans for the turtle shell, as well as some of the parts for Darth Vader. Good luck!

Step 8: Turtle Shell Construction, Part 1

Picture of Turtle Shell Construction, Part 1

Alright, if you've made it this far and you want to make your action figure into a Ninja Turtle, the next thing you need is a good shell. Download the pattern and begin by cutting out the shapes you need (second photo).

There are slits around the sides of the piece that will become the top of the shell. These are what make the top of the shell rounded. You need to sew each of these together (third and fourth photos).

Before you sew the top and bottom half of the shell together, you need to cut a slit in the piece that will become the bottom of the shell. You will stuff the shell through this hole (fourth photo).

Step 9: Turtle Shell Contruction, Part 2

Picture of Turtle Shell Contruction, Part 2

Pin the top piece of the shell to the bottom piece (right-sides-in!), and sew them together.

When you turn the shell right-side-out, you should have something similar to the fleecy blob in the second photo. To make this look clean and neat, sew around the outer edge to create a nice turtle-shell-like lip (third photo).

Now stuff the shell through the slit you made in the bottom, and if you want, put a couple of stitches across the slit to keep the shell in a shell-like shape.

Step 10: Add Details

Picture of Add Details

I made my turtle to be Donatello, since he was my favorite when I was a kid. Along with his shell, all of the details from here on are hot glued in place. Perhaps a cleaner, neater option for all these pieces would be to stitch them in place with a needle and thread.

His chest, mouth, eyes, armbands, legbands, and belt are made of felt. I sewed lines on the chestpiece with the sewing machine using black thread prior to gluing it onto the body.

Another option for the chestpiece would be to sew it directly to one of the body pieces prior to sewing them together.

His eye-mask is made of fleece, with white felt eyes glued on top.

His bowstaff and Darth Vader's lightsaber are made from painted dowels.

If you're doing the turtle version, you're done!

Step 11: Vader's Cloaks

Picture of Vader's Cloaks

I made up all of Darth Vader's stuff by examining a handful photos and movie stills that I printed out.

I've included the patterns I made for his cloaks, along with a pattern for the main piece to start his helmet.

Step 12: Vader's Belt and Shoulder Pieces, and Face

Picture of Vader's Belt and Shoulder Pieces, and Face

For these pieces I used cardboard, glue, paint, some nylon webbing, and a little bit of Velcro.

Going into this, I wanted to him to have a removable helmet with a face underneath.

To make this face, I used black thread to basically "draw" it on.

Step 13: Vader's Helmet

Picture of Vader's Helmet

Darth Vader's helmet was made with cardboard, various glues, wood filler, and paint.

If you're interested in making one, there is a pattern of the main helmet piece included in the PDF in step 11. This is the piece shown in the second and third photos here (the attached pattern includes some changes that I had to make along the way with mine. That's why it appears slightly different than the piece in my photos).

Once you have this piece glued together, you will need to piece together a dome structure, and then slather it with putty or wood filler.

When it is dry you can sand it down to the shape you want. Mine needed a few filling and sanding sessions to fill in all the cracks and bubbles in order to create a smooth finish.

For the face section, I added little pieces here and there through trial and error until I got the results I wanted.

I gave the helmet a few coats of primer, lightly sanding between coats. The face got a coating of flat black paint, and the helmet got a coat of gloss black. The eyes were touched up with gloss black, and silver details were added.

The last thing I did was glue a piece of fabric around the inside so the jagged cardboard edges wouldn't snag on the figure's fuzzy head when you pull in on and off.

Step 14: That's It!

Picture of That's It!

I hope you enjoyed this; thanks for taking a look!

If you make something similar, be sure to share photo in the comments. I'd love to see how your plushie action figure turns out.


jeshika (author)2009-12-08

i finally finished a couple of weeks ago.  thanks so much for the idea and the patterns you provided, i'm really happy with the way it turned out!

Crazycat567 (author)jeshika2016-04-14

that's real cool I'm going to make it


seamster (author)jeshika2009-12-08

Yea! Somebody made one!

That's awesome--it looks great. You got all the little details done quite nicely, too. This makes my day.  Way to go!      

starwarsgeek1 (author)2014-06-29

you did an awesome job you have the coolest insructables ever thanks alo

seamster (author)starwarsgeek12014-06-29


macboy98 (author)2012-02-05

What type of the cloth material did u use??And cud u tell us how did u made the Vader's belt and shoulder pieces, and face and the helmet detail ?? cud u pls!!!! ur kindly

Macboy98 :)

seamster (author)macboy982012-02-06

I used fleece for the bodies and heads, and some cotton scraps for Vader's cloaks.

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.

macboy98 (author)seamster2012-02-26

Thank you for Replyin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

YolksterXD (author)2010-02-04

i appreciate all the work and detail doing into each of these, especially darth vader's helmet. thats very neat! :D

seamster (author)YolksterXD2010-02-05

Thanks!  They were lots of fun.

uyaymir (author)seamster2011-03-12

hey how that helmet do in the vaders bodie its big pls answer i dont know how

seamster (author)uyaymir2011-03-12

The upper section of Vader's helmet was pieced together through trial and error using hot glue and thin cardboard.

It was a tricky process, and I apologize that I don't have any more photos to share.

uyaymir (author)seamster2011-03-12

hey can you post a picture for making dark vader helm the upper part

BitterBanana (author)2011-01-06

mine looked like a 5 legged black monster.

BalintRules (author)2010-10-19

Nice ideas. It's a really cool instructable 10* (I'll try to do 10 star...)

AlpineButterfly (author)2010-10-12

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 :-)

chapa-de-frente (author)2010-10-07

my sister would love these!

BatAndOwl (author)2010-09-26

This is so cute, I would make one, but I doubt it will turn out right :P.

caradepoto (author)2010-05-03

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.

seamster (author)caradepoto2010-05-03

I'm glad you liked this!

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.

I 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.

toogers (author)2010-04-02

nice! im goin to make a Domo plush!

SirNoodlehe (author)2010-03-13

Kool, Im gonna try it
P.S. I will tell u if I poke my eye out

bassclarinet23 (author)2010-03-03

Those look like something you'd find at a store! Very professional. Makes me wish I could sew without injuring myself and surrounding others.

GianniMora (author)2009-09-16

you should micro size them

seamster (author)GianniMora2009-09-16

Micro size them? How small are you thinking?

GianniMora (author)seamster2009-09-16

i dont know but maybe like 5 inches tall and 3 inches wide

jumpertoad (author)GianniMora2009-10-10

i love and collect tiny stuffed animals. get me a picture!

seamster (author)GianniMora2009-09-16

My kid asked for a Yoda one, and about 5 inches tall would be just the right size to go along with Vader. Hmm...

GianniMora (author)seamster2009-09-17

ok and congrats on the gorilla glue cardboard contest

seamster (author)GianniMora2009-09-17


basman217 (author)2009-10-02

wow great instructable......i made one, however i did not have a sewing machine and had to do it by 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

lobo_pal (author)2009-09-29

Insane detail, how'd you make the buttons?

seamster (author)lobo_pal2009-09-29

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.

XxBlackAngelxX (author)2009-09-23

wow, you're good! you could really do a lil business out of it. You would really do fine, I'm sure.

eulaliaaaa! (author)2009-09-22

You could use the shell for a helmet. Just a thought.

srwoodruff (author)2009-09-21

AMAZING!!! I'm making a Donatello as soon as I can!

seamster (author)srwoodruff2009-09-21

That's what I like to hear! Please post a picture when you get it done!

Liachu (author)2009-09-20

That is flippin' amazing!

Rufda Camen (author)2009-09-18

theres no helmet plan, can anibady helme? Thanks a lot!!

seamster (author)Rufda Camen2009-09-19

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!

novakfor3 (author)2009-09-19

100% sure you're going to win the contest with this Instructable. 5/5 stars!

sh£$%" that mask must have been hard to make

skimmo (author)2009-09-18

mine came out really really creepy looking:(

GianniMora (author)skimmo2009-09-18


seamster (author)skimmo2009-09-18

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!

CarlosPCMac (author)2009-09-18

This is awesome!!!

Rufda Camen (author)2009-09-18

sorry but I cant find the helmet in the pdf, it only have 3 pag....... Can U put in again? Thanks a lot! ;)

Sandisk1duo (author)2009-09-17

looks like something you would buy in a store! great job!

seamster (author)Sandisk1duo2009-09-17

Thank you!

etsay2 (author)2009-09-17

those are both amazing! great job and great instrucable

About This Instructable




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 »
More by seamster:Farmhouse Play KitchenTop 100 Instructables of 2017Making Quick & Easy Work Tables
Add instructable to: