Portable Pocket Friend ( Altoids Tin Panda Bear)





Introduction: Portable Pocket Friend ( Altoids Tin Panda Bear)

About: Shiny is my favorite color. Blissfully living the American dream i never even believed in.

Recently i have become fascinated with the idea of making "kits" that fit into Altoids tins. I've always been intrigued with miniatures.. (miniature anything really..) so i guess it makes sense. I just wish this concept had been presented to me when my daughter was still little..but its ok.. 6 yrs or 26 yrs..everyone could use a portable pocket friend!

Step 1: Design Your Friend:

I freehand sketched a panda bear (daughter loves them) as well as the outline of his teddy bear, i then transferred each individual shape to poster board. To do this I stacked my paper on top of the posterboard and traced over each shape with a pen, using lots of pressure. The indentation became a line to follow with my scissors. My cat helped me with this. My cat helps me with most of my projects.

Step 2: Cut the Pieces Out of Fabric (i Used Felt)

Don't forget you will need two pieces of the 'arms' and 'head' and 2 pieces for the teddy bear. Instead of cutting out two 'bodies', I folded my felt over and made both sides as one piece to make sewing easier, but you could also make this in 2 pieces (I added in a pic from further step to illustrate the way i cut my "body"). I laid them all out together to make sure I had a complete bear before going any further. I used one piece of black felt, one piece of white felt and one piece of tan. I also purchased embroidery floss in matching colors. As well as using some pink for the teddy mouth.

Step 3: Start Sewing...

I started with the teddy bear because.. well.. sewing is not my specialty. I imagine you could also use glue.. but I suspect it wouldn't be durable. first i split my embroidery thread and only used 3 strands at a time. I stitched a little face on the bear. Then i put my needle through the bottom layer first , and stacked the top layer over it to start sewing (this ensures your knot is inside). I used a blanket stitch for the teddy bear. And I'm sure someone with more sewing experience could make it look a lot neater. Right before I got to the last leg, I stuffed a small chunk of fiberfill inside and finished sewing him shut.

Step 4: Now the Fun Part!

I did the panda face next. I sewed on the eye circles and the nose, then stitched a tiny mouth. I threaded on 2 black seed beads for his actual eyes. For the ears I cut a slit at the bottom edge as shown, and sewed that together to make them slightly 'cupped' I then sewed them onto his head.

Step 5: Check Your Sizing and Layout!

First i sewed the tail onto the back panel of the bodyTo determine how i wanted his legs to be, I pieced him together and laid him out next to the tin.. you will note that in picture 'A' he would have been to wide to fit so I went with 'B'. I then tacked the legs in position before sewing the body. I sewed the entire edge until the last 1/2 inch and then stuffed the body with fiberfill. you'll note that the opening is in a place that will be covered by the arm piece. This isn't necessary, but for an amateur like me, I think it resulted in a more polished finish. I sewed the arms on next.. making sure I positioned them to cover the opening i stuffed the body through. I stuffed the head through the bottom and then sort of sandwiched the body in it before sewing it on (so you get the full head image from both sides instead of just sewing the head onto the front)

Step 6: Now He Needs a Bed!

I cut fiberfill into the shape of the tin, as well as the shape of a tiny pillow. I used some scrap fabric for the 'sheets'. i laid the pieces inside out to sew then pulled it back through the opening (to be right side out) when I only had a small section left. I rolled the fiberfill into a cigar shape to fit it into the "mattress" and then just massaged it into place before sewing off the last bit. I then just cut a rectangle to act as the top sheet. For the pillow I used hot glue and felt..and flattened the edges of it together. if you choose to do the pillow this way, please take care.. I did burn my fingers with the glue (but on some level I have a strange belief that all good projects require a few blisters..)

Step 7: Tuck Him Into His New Comfy Bed!

If anyone is interested in making this in the exact same way.. I did save the pieces and would be happy to upload them in some sort of facsimile of a pattern (I will probably do this anyway after the christmas rush passes.. I just really am not entirely clear on how to do it and time is so short!)

My next altoids tin creation will be here soon so keep your eyes open for it!

(and here is the obligatory shameless pandering for votes! If you like my instructable, please take the time to give me a vote!)

Step 8: Hopefully I Did This Right...

you will need 2 of the tiny circles as well

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10 Discussions

I just copied your instructions. I have three grandchildren who would love this Pocket Friend. I may have to join for a year just to be able to download the PDF. I will post a picture of the finished product. I Promise..

1 reply

check your private messages.. sent you a surprise. Welcome to the site and I cant wait to see how they come out!


1 year ago

I have a cat who helps me with my reading, another who helps me on the computer, so I'm hoping I can end up with our other cat to help me with this project.

Thanks. Great idea.

1 reply

yeah..I'm pretty sure my cat is convinced she needs to keep a close eye on my actions at all times or you never know what trouble i might get into.

Our kids are grown now, but projects such as this adorable one make me extra-glad to have young granddaughters and great-granddaughters! Now I have a new project with which to surprise them! I imagine one will be a penquin since our daughter has loved them for years. Last year I made her small Christmas tree stocking in the shape of a penguin, open at the top so that it was just wide enough to accommodate a gift card and candy cane. I don't have many pictures but I guess I could try to write it up.

In making all these Altoids projects, have you discovered that the recipients seem to think the new toys should be accompanied by Baggies full of - Altoids?!

Thanks for sharing this. Great photos! And sure, I'll vote!

1 reply

ty so much! i really do appreciate it! if you make one, i would love to see it! Re: the altoids.. i certainly hope not..since I have been eating them myself lol. Although i do have a few bags laying around still xD

Very nice. My 28 year-old daughter would love a penguin. I may give this a try. I voted also.

1 reply

thanks so much for the vote! you could do a bear.. with a penguin plushie instead of a teddy bear.. i bet it would be adorable!

thanks! sewing isn't really my forte so I'm pretty pleased with how cute it came out!