Introduction: Longifying Your Furby
Welcome to longifying your furby!
If you just stumbled on this, I’d assume you’re very confused and possibly horrified.
We have two long children, Boots and Mothball, and plenty of commissions and adopts moving through our house constantly. We've made them from a 1998 Classic, a 1999 Furby Buddy, and a Mc Keychain. All of them are complete re-furb-ishments, where I replaced the head fabric before adding the length. In this instructable, I will show you how to do this style and how to simply lengthen the existing body.
More pictures of our babies: Instagram @boots_with_the_furb
Edit 1: Added pictures of The Count, especially for creating the feet and ears.
Edit 2: Added pictures of Mothball to the Classic disassembly step and explained it in more detail.
Edit 3: Re-wrote intro, added step on eye chip replacement! Arranged steps around and changes transitions accordingly.
Edit 4: Re-wrote foot tutorial and added better pictures! Also added a couple to the eye-chip step, still needs more.
Edit 5: Been a while! Added a tutorial step for rigging a Classic Furby face so it is pose-able. Also included caterpillar instructions into the patterning and lengthening steps. Cleaned stuff up and added pictures all over.
A furby to work on (more about this in Step 2)
1/2 yards of your main body fabric
1/4~ yards of your accent fabric
Felt for feet
Ball-jointed doll armature (link)
Matte or low-gloss sealant (optional)
Nail polish top coat (optional)
Seam ripper (optional but very helpful, an Xacto knife works too)
Sewing machine (optional, but VERY useful) and everything needed to run it (if you're using thick fur fabric, I'd suggest denim needles)
Additional tools/materials for Classic Furby full disassembly:
18 or 20 gauge wire
26-32 gauge wire
Additional tools/materials for an eye chip replacement:
Eye chips to match (14.5mm for 98's, 12mm for 99's)
Hot glue sticks
Pin or paperclip
Now let’s take a look at what Furby you chose.
Step 1: Choosing a Furby and a Plan
This tutorial is for 1998 Classic Furbies and 1999 Furby Buddy only, nothing newer.
Original Furbies have the moving eyelids and beak and are slightly bigger, but can be harder to operate on. Furby Buddies are slightly smaller and easier to work with, but you don’t get the mobility. I would recommend a simple lengthening for anyone with meager sewing skills.
Another issue is the debate between using vintage Furbies or sourcing "vegan" faceplates out of resin or clay. I very much implore you to use this method if you are looking to make a long Furby Buddy, as it can be considerably cheaper. You can buy plain white resin faceplates for painting, custom colors, or even translucent glitter-filled ones! These also typically have the eyechips already removed, so you can skip that trouble.
Here are the main options for operation styles:
Furby Buddy: Simple lengthening: creating a color-matched body that sews directly to the original Furb body. Least amount of work but requires you to find one in relatively good shape or wash it. (Step 3)
Furby Buddy: Full re-furb-ishment: disassembling and re-creating the original body. Great for it’s customizing opportunity, a little more work, and you can end up with an ugly seam around the faceplate. Plus you can buy a cheap used Furb with sketchy fur fabric. See here for using a (Step 4)
Classic Furby: Simple lengthening: these come with electronic bodies, so you attach the spine to the bottom of that instead of the faceplate. Can be a bit heavy on top, but is required if you want a working one. (Step 5)
Classic Furby: Full re-furb-ishment w/o disassembly: taking the fur off the electronic body and remaking it, then putting it back on. Same pros and cons as the simple lengthening, but takes a bit more work. (Step 6)
Classic Furby: Complete re-furb-ishment: some disassembly required, this way you take the face plate off the electronic body (tiny screwdriver required) and re-attach it to new fur. No electronic body to get in the way and fully customizable, but takes the most work out of any. (Step 6)
Vegan Faceplate: Complete re-furbishment. Finding or making a resin or clay faceplate and attaching it. For this path you will need to find a pre-made pattern (they are available online) or use your own if you have already made a long furb. Skip right to Step 9 for this one.
Let’s get started!
Step 2: Sketching!
As a costume designer and an artist, I have learned time and time again the benefits of sketching out your ideas.
Why is this the second step instead of the first? Well which Furby you use is crucial to the design.
Furby Buddy: Simple lengthening: means you won’t be able to make many changes to the head that involve things embedded in the seams, but you can still add hand-sewn pieces like horns and flowers before you stuff it.
Classic Furby: Simple lengthening: this one is trickier because if you don't remove the electronic body it will be in the way.
Of course any level of re-furb-ishment allows for complete control to let your creativity run free! that's why it's my favorite option.
Feel free to use my blank copy to trace and sketch over, as long as you aren't showing it off as an artwork (you can show it off as a sketch, you can even credit me!) or selling it. Believe me, I wish I could have found a nice base design to work off of...
Step 3: Furby Buddy: Simple Lengthening
The simplest plan. Cut the seam around the bottom piece and remove it, carefully setting the feet aside. Remove the bean bag from the Furby.
Move on to Step 9
Step 4: Furby Buddy: Full Re-furb-ishment
First we cut apart the patient. Start with the bottom seam, then salvage the feet, remove the bean bag, and work up along the sides. Again, a seam ripper is very useful, but an x-acto blade will work as well. Be very careful with scissors, the exact shape of the fabric (including seam allowances) needs to be intact. Carefully remove the ears as you cut the seam, and take out the wire that holds them up.
You’ll soon find that the fabric is sandwiched by the face plate, and is irremovable. Cut around the face plate 1/2 inch from the edges, keeping the shape. Continue taking apart the other sections around it until you have only separate pieces of fabric, with the ears and feet set aside.
Skip ahead to Step 9
Step 5: Classic Furby: Simple Lengthening
This one’s slightly more complicated than simply lengthening a Furby Buddy.
Turn the Furby upside down, you will see a small strip of plain fabric around the base/battery compartment. Cut a small hole in this to find a zip tie, then cut that. Next rip the seam all the way between the fur and the plain fabric and scrap the fabric with the zip tie.
This is also the way to go if you want your Furby to be functional and long, but I haven't attempted this. Here's a link to a friend of mine showing off their process!
Skip ahead to Step 9
Step 6: Classic Furby: Full Re-furb-ishment W/o Disassembly
If you plan on disassembling your Classic Furby as well, start here before moving on to Step 7.
First remove the ears. They will be attached to a plastic rod that controls them at the top, and attached to the Furby body with a few stitches at the bottom. Cut the bottom stitches first, then search for the stitch holding it onto the plastic rod, it should be halfway down the top edge of the ear and will look like a tiny knot or line. Try to cut this without messing the ear up too much.
Turn the Furby upside down, you will see a small strip of plain fabric around the base/battery compartment. Cut a small hole in this to find a zip tie, then cut that. The fur should slip off relatively easily, along with the face plate cover. Depending on your model, there will be a small screw holding the face plate cover to the speaker. If your face plate won't come off look for it.
Set aside the electronic body.
Turn the fur body inside out. On the back of the face plate cover you’ll see the stitches holding the fur to the plastic. Start by cutting those and removing the cover. Then carefully rip the seams and separate the sections of fabric. You should end up with the ears and feet separated, all fabric sections, and the face plate cover. Set the electronic body aside.
Move on to Step 9
Step 7: Classic Furby: Complete Re-furb-ishment
Start with Step 3. Once you have the electronic body removed, it’s time to get unscrewing.
Remove the screws holding the two halves of the case together. Some of them are embedded pretty far into the plastic and will take some work. You’ll know you got all of them when it comes off easily.
Horrifying, isn’t it. Take a second to appreciate it.
Turn it around to look at the back of the head, there should be a screw. On older models it's hiding behind the ear gears, so you have to unscrew what's holding them in place before getting to the back of the head. Gently pull the sensor and LED out of the back. If there's hot glue, use the tip of a glue gun to melt it first until you can remove the pieces. If they just won't come off, it's okay to cut the wires and leave them.
Turn your Furb back around and remove the screws holding the speaker onto its belly. You should get to the point where you can see the large black/white rectangle behind it. Just above the rectangle there’s a screw facing upward towards the face plate. It’s a tight squeeze, but undo that screw and you’re almost finished. We ended up cutting one of the legs that held the body to the base plate, which allowed us to pull it off the hinge. Another suggestion for getting at this screw is to use a knife to CAREFULLY carve a dent in the plastic rectangle beneath it. Also remove any other screws (our newer model had one more holding the face on)
Take the face plate and pull. There are two little arms that latch on to either part of the beak to control it. These are the only things holding the face on at the moment and should pop off without too much work. If you have to, maneuver the beak to get it loose or try using your screwdriver to pry them out of the way. They should release without breaking but it isn’t an issue if they do (unless you wanted an intact non-working Furby). Cutting them is also an option.
You’ve noticed the face pieces move all over the place with nothing to stop them from disappearing back into the head. This is what the wire is for. After painting in Step 10, you have the option of "rigging" these wires to make the eyes and beak pose-able.
You should end up with the disassembled fur sections, saved feet and ears, the face plate and the face plate cover.
On to the next step!
Step 8: Eye Chip Removal
I haven't found a good all-encompassing eye chip tutorial anywhere, so here we are!
It is easiest if you do this step while the faceplate is still on its own, especially for a Classic. You will need a freezer with enough space to set the furby without it being crammed in.
The hot glue method: (Classics and Buddy's) (Keychains don't have eye chips)
Firstwe start with a method you might have heard of: the hot glue method.
Light your tea candle. It's a good idea to do this over something easy to clean, and have the furby's face close by. Hold the glue stick vertically over the candle, a good inch away so it doesn't burn, until it starts to melt. Let it melt until the glue is about to drip, then quickly hold it against the furby's eye chip and press hard. Hold it in place until the glue is completely cooled own, as directly perpendicular from the eye as you can manage.
Once the glue has hardened, put the faceplate in a sealable plastic bag to reduce condensation, and stick it in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Take it out of the freezer and the bag. Here comes the fun part. Wrap your hand around one of the glue sticks and pull, steadily and firmly, perpendicular from the eye. Do not make any sort of peeling or twisting motion, as this will simply cause the glue stick to separate from the chip.
If this doesn't work, try it again. And again. You might just need to get the process down.
DO NOT USE A KNIFE TO "PRY" OUT THE CHIP
This will only ruin the eye chip, the whites of the eye you want to preserve, and your patience.
The pin or seam ripper method: (Only works on most Classics)
Still not working? Ouch. This method only works if the faceplate is separate.
On the back of the eye piece you should see a tiny hole, like a pinprick. Starting with a pin or a paperclip, shove it into this hole and push. Hard. Try not to bend the tool.
If this doesn't work, your last resort is a seam ripper. (If you do any sewing at all you should have one! If you get one just for this project good! Keep using it, it will change your life.)
Warning: this method messes up your eye chips (almost) beyond use
Take the sharp pointed end and shove it into the hole. This one can take a while, if it's lasted this far it must have a LOT of glue. Keep steady pressure on the hole. Eventually you will be able to see a small white spot on the other side, this is the point of the seam ripper digging into and cracking the plastic.
Keep pushing until it pops out and there you have it!
Step 9: Painting the Face Plate and Eye Chips
It's always a good idea to paint the face before embedding it in fabric you care about.
If you're not changing the fabric, do your best to mask off the fur with tape and be more cautious when painting. If you're re-furb-ishing a Furby Buddy, you don't necessarily have to as most of the fabric should be covered. If you're working with a vegan faceplate or a Classic Furby re-furbishment, don't worry about this.
If you're working on a Classic Furby, be sure to paint the face plate cover. Only the eyelids and beak of the initial face plate will be visible.
As the paint doesn't like to stick to plastic, I always like to do light coats and wait for it to dry as I work on other steps until I have a sturdy base coat to work off of. After you finish, keep it masked off and spray with a matte or low-gloss sealant. If I'm painting the eyes instead of replacing them then I like to paint a little clear nail polish top-coat to give them the similar high-gloss I would get from using a cabochon. Carefully dunk the face in an ice bath (like you would nail polish) to make it stronger and add extra shine.
You have to think about the paint job backwards. Whatever you paint first will be in front and on top of everything else. So start with a pupil first (if you're making one). I always add some nail polish (even if it's just clear) after the pupil so I don't scratch it with my next coat.
Any type of paint works, I use acrylics but nail polishes are fun for the extra glitter.
Afterward simply glue them into place! Use something that sticks to plastic, like superglue.
Step 10: Rigging the Faceplate for Pose-ability
This step is only for those who are doing a Classic Furby: Complete re-furbishment. It is essential to remove the eye chips before this step if you intend to, and a good idea to paint it first.
Here is where you'll need your superglue, pliers, wire cutters, and two types of wire. You also have the option of just supergluing the face in place, but then you might as well have made a Furby Buddy and saved yourself the struggle. I would not recommend not doing this at all, as the beak especially will flop around and be rather annoying.
There are multiple techniques from different people. Another way to do this called the Rubber Band Method, I have not tried this but it involves looping a small rubber band (like a tiny one for hair or the ones that some in bracelet weaving kits) around the pole that goes through the beak.
The technique shown here is my personal favorite, but also rather difficult.
The pictures above explain it best. Each of the thicker wire pieces is a bent "U" shape pressed together, always with the rounded part sticking out. Hold the end of the piece in your pliers, then gently dab the superglue where you want the piece to go and stick it on. The process takes a bit of trial and error.
The two blocks in Step 2 that keep the beak from opening all the way are glued to the frame. Sometimes there will be a little tab of plastic at the top of the beak that does this already, in which case you only need to do this on the bottom.
The two blocks in Step 3 that keep the beak from falling too far forward are glued to the back of the beak. These are weird almost "z" shaped pieces (like a z made of right angles) that hook around the frame. The extra space in the middle is to allow the beak to still close, as the beak is set forward in the frame and if you used a straight piece of wire it would be stopped too far back.
As for the wire connecting to the eyelids, this is when you use the thinner wire. I twist one piece of it together so it is doubled, then curve one end into a tiny loop so it has more surface area for the glue to hold onto. Glue this right between the eyes. Measure the length from there to the bottom right just below the eyes, making sure you have some extra so the eyes can move properly. Curve this end into a loop, cut off the excess, and glue it down.
Wait plenty of time for the glue to dry, then stick it into the faceplate cover to test the mobility. The beak moves freely at the moment, but the pressure of the stuffing will help it stay in place later.
Step 11: Patterning
Directions for a simple lengthening:
Furby Buddy: iron out the circle you cut from the bottom and trace it out onto a piece of paper. This is your pattern for the bottom.
Classic Furby: measure the diameter of the plastic base/battery pack and draw a circle of that size. Add a 1/4 in seam allowance around the edge.
Doing any type of re-furb-ishment? The rest of this step is for you!
Iron out each piece of fur fabric. For duplicates, choose the nicest looking one to use, you only need to iron one. Lay the flattened fabric on a piece of paper and carefully trace out the shapes. If you accidentally cut a piece at the seam, add a 1/4 in seam allowance back in. Cut the toe separations on the foot you want to trace and remove
the stuffing. Simply trace around the ear and foot and add a 1/4 inch seam allowance around them.
If you used a Furby Buddy and cut out the fabric around the faceplate, add a half inch along the edges that you cut to make up for it. The aim is to create a fur that fits perfectly around the faceplate and will be sewn directly to the fabric as close to the plastic as possible.
We didn’t cut the fabric pieces for the Classic Furby, so there aren’t any necessary modifications that need to be made there. I decided to cut the side piece in two along the thin section at the top of the head, as I like a good center seam for adding ears, horns, etc.
Mark what seam connects to where, especially where one side connects to two other pieces. You don't have to transfer these to your fabric but it's a good reference to have.
If you're using a Vegan Faceplate, look up patterns online. They'll need to be solid, with no hole where the face is. If you need to, modify patterns you find so this hole is gone.
Step 12: Ears and Feet
Now that you have your patterns, trace them and cut them from your
fabric, taking care to note the direction the fur is flowing in. Tip: Use a silver sharpie on black fabric, and a half-dried out marker on thin fabrics like satin so it won't bleed through.
I always start with extremities like ears and feet so I don't have to pause in the middle of sewing the body. Make two inner ear and two outer ear pieces, and add an extra 1/4 inch to the edges of the outer ears. Sew all but the bottom and turn them inside out. The back should curve over the front slightly. Sew these into the seam between the front and back halves of the face.
For the feet, refer to the pictures above. Sew them all the way around except the bottom. This can be by machine, or since they're pretty small, by hand. I recommend using felt as it's closest to what original Furby feet are made out of. Turn it inside out and stuff, then sew the end closed with a few stitches. Start a new thread. Push your needle through about 1/2 of the foot from the edge, and 1/3 of the way across the foot (pictures!). Wrap the string around the end of the foot and push the needle back through the same place, then carefully pull tight. Repeat 2-3 times for one toe division, then do the other. Tie off your string and you're finished.
Step 13: Body Assembly & Face Attachment
Pin two pieces together at a time (I like to make first the front, then the back, then connect them) and sew using your method of choice with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
If you're using a Furby Buddy, then attaching the face plate means sewing the new fur to the old "mane" around the face. Try to get as close to the plastic as possible, but you're still likely to end up with a visible seam. That's why it's important to include some sort of cover-up (like Caesar's leaves) if you're going to go this route.
For a Classic Furby, you merely fold the fur fabric inward under itself and sew right through the holes in the face plate cover. For a Full Re-furb-ishment, superglue the face plate into the cover–being careful to avoid trapping any fur or gluing the moving parts. Afterward, sew a black piece of fabric across the back of the face (usually just on the four corners), this keeps the stuffing from leaking through the cracks in the face.
If you didn't disassemble it, the cover will snap back into place when you re-attach it to the body.
For a Vegan Faceplate, trim the fur in the area the faceplate will go. You want the faceplate to be touching the fabric. Some faceplate sellers will have other specific attachment methods build in to their design, if they don't we'll just use superglue.
Next, cut a small rectangular hole in the middle of this area; this is so we can sandwich the fur for extra support. Superglue the face into place and place something heavy on top. once the glue has dried, turn the Furby head inside out, you'll be able to see the back of the faceplate through the hole you cut. Superglue something solid like a piece of popsicle stick across the hole, pressing it down so it touches the back of the faceplate.
This is the moment to include design choices such as mohawks and spines that are embedded into the seams. Once the body is sewn you can add accessories like Caesar's leaves, Mothball's horns, etc.
Step 14: Longification Patterns
Finally! The fun part.
No matter what type of Furby you have, use a measuring tape to measure the circumference of your furb. Measure the width of the pattern you made for the belly piece, subtract 1/2 inch from it, and subtract that number from the total circumference. Add 1/2 inch.
Total circumference - (belly pattern width - 1/2 in) + 1/2 in = width of long body section
Total circumfrence - belly pattern width + 1 inch = width of long body section
For the width of the belly section use the full width of the belly pattern.
Make the length of the body as long as your spine., unless you are doing a Classic Furby: Full Re-furb-ishment W/o Disassembly, in which case add a couple inches.
If you want to add a seam down the middle of the back, divide your number by two and add 1/4 inch. Cut two of these.
Width/2 + 1/4 in = width of long body section w/ seam (cut two)
If you want to add a mohawk down the back, subtract the width you want the mohawk to be, divide it by two, and add 1/4 inch. Add 1/2 inch to the width of the mohawk.
(Width - mohawk)/2 + 1/4 in = width of long body section w/ mohawk (cut two)
Mohawk width + 1/4 in = mohawk pattern width
If yourClassic Furby: Full Re-furb-ishment W/o Disassembly still works, you'll want to add some way to get to the battery pack. I'd recommend a piece of Velcro or a zipper.
If you are interested in making a caterpillar long Furby, refer to the graphics above for instructions on planning out the belly sections. This works with any type of Furby and any type of lengthening process. You will need to know how many pairs of peet you intend to have. I would recommend for simplicity to choose a body length and pair number that allows your belly sections to be whole numbers, remember there will always be one more pair of peet than there are belly sections. For example, if your long furb's body is 36" you could do 6 sections of 6 in each– giving you seven pairs of peet– or 9 sections of 4 in each– giving you ten pairs of peet!
Step 15: Longification Time!
Cut your long body pieces, keeping in mind the direction of the fur.
First, if you are making a caterpillar, sew all your belly sections together with the peet between each seam. I recommend hand-sewing these in to keep them in place, then machine sewing over them.
Pin and each of your sections together with the right sides facing inward to make an inside-out tube. Find the side you want to use as the butt and pin your butt circle pattern to it, inserting the feet to either side of the belly. The slightly wider side of the feet should be farther away from the belly, and they should point inward and be inserted so that the edge of the feet matches up with the edge of the fabric. Sew the feet in place first, then sew the front half of the butt piece on. The back half needs to be open so we can turn it right-side in again, but don’t turn it yet.
If you have a Furby Buddy, you can superglue the end of the spine to the back of the faceplate. With a Classic Furby, you can just glue it to the bottom of the electronic body. If you have a Classic Furby that you removed the body from, or if you want to, you can just add the spine right before you stuff it and be careful to not let it move around too much.
Next we sew the body on. With the head right-side in and the body still inside-out, pull the neck hole of the body over the top of the head. The neck edges of the head should line up with the edge of the body, and you should only be able to see the wrong side of the fabric. If your spine is attached, it will stick out from the head away from the body. Arrange the body so the belly section matches up, then pin and hand sew around the seam. Don’t turn it inside-out (unless you want a fettuccine furb, but you still need to turn it inside-out again for stuffing).
Step 16: Stuffing and Finishing
If you have a Classic Furby: Full Re-furb-ishment W/o Disassembly, attach the body to the faceplate now.
(This is the time to add a heart! <3)
Stuff the body first, carefully keeping the spine centered. As it fills up, gently pull the inside-out body down over the head, increasing the "inside area" of the furb. Continue doing this and stuffing as you go, keeping the spine centered. As the butt end gets to the head, carefully pull the head through the hole and continue pulling the fabric down as you stuff (it will be a bit easier now).
When you get to the end, pull the skin completely rightside-out through the hole. Fold the edges of the seam inward 1/4 inch and pin before hand-sewing it halfway closed (there should only be a fourth of the butt hole open now) before stuffing it full. Finish sewing it closed.
You've finished your long furby! Congratulations!
Step 17: Finished
You better move along now...