Introduction: Potato GLaDOS Plush Toy

About: I just like to make things. I dabble in a lot of mediums and usually don't like to spend money on parts, so most of my work is made with leftover materials. I love different forms of storytelling, and have a g…

See that? That is a potato battery. It's a toy for children. And now she lives in it.

If Wheatley can do it, so can you. Now you can make a potato GLaDOS of your very own to keep you company in those lonely test chambers.
...or to throw down a bottomless pit. Whatever strikes your fancy.

Step 1: What You Need

  • Camel (brown) Fleece - A foot should cover it
  • White Fabric - Half a foot is plenty
  • Yellow Fabric - Only need a little
  • Red fabric - Just some scraps will do
  • Black Fabric - Just a small clipping
  • Gray Fabric - Scraps should be enough
  • Rust Color Fabric - Something stiff (I used felt)
  • Black Embroidery Floss
  • Thick Black String - I recommend cotton jewelry cord
  • Yellow string - I used Pearl Cotton Thread
  • White Sewing Thread
  • FiberFill
  • Other colors of sewing thread - Matching your thread color to your fabric color will help hide your seams
  • Foam pad - I used a foam camping pad to stuff the computer parts and make them rigid but still soft

  • Sewing Needle
  • Embroidery Needle
  • Pins
  • Fabric Shears - or sharp scissors
  • Marker - Something that will clean off. A craft store should have washable fabric markers.
  • Pattern - Included below
  • Sewing Machine

Step 2: The Running Stitch

These next two steps will explain some stitching basics for those unfamiliar with sewing.

Threading the needle

To start off, poke the end of your thread through the eye of your needle. Pull a fair length of thread through the eye. Unravel enough thread from the spool so that there are matching lengths of thread trailing from both sides of the eye and cut off.

Tie the two loose ends together with a large knot, essentially tying several knots in the same place. This can be done easily by looping the thread around your index finger and rolling the loop between your thumb and finger, twisting it several times. Pull the loose end through the twisted loop and tighten into a knot. Now when you pull the thread through your fabric it should stop at the knot instead of pulling completely through.

The Running Stitch

When you are stitching you should have a line you're following, whether it is visibly drawn on your fabric or simply imagined. To perform a running stitch, start at one end of this line and poke your needle in through the fabric and out the other side and pull tight. Now find a spot further down the line and poke the needle back through it from the underside. Pull the thread all the way through and you should have one complete stitch. Continue down the line, trying to keep the spacing even.

If your fabric is thin enough to manage an even stitch you may find it easier and quicker to pierce the needle through both points on the line at the same time. If your are confident you could even hit several points along the line at once.

Ending a stitch

When you reach the end of a seam or start running out of thread you can anchor off the loose end of a seam by doubling back on the last stitch you  made. Poke your needle back through the second to last point on the line you pierced. Bring the needle back out on the last point. This should create a loop with your thread. Bring the needle through that loop and tighten to form a knot. You may choose to do this twice to make sure it does not come untied at any time. Cut off the remaining thread and needle.

Step 3: The Slip Stitch

The slip stitch is used to close up a seam from the outside without leaving big visible stitches across the fabric.

Start by aligning the fabric on either side of the seam and folding in the edges to the inside of the doll. After you've threaded the needle (directions on the 'running stitch' page) start your stitch from the underside of the fabric at one end of the seam. The best place you can put it will probably be along the fold from the inside. Pull your needle from the inside of the fabric to the outside on the folded edge.

Reach across the seam and poke the needle through the fabric on the opposite side. Make sure the point where the needle enters the fabric is aligned with where the thread comes out of the fabric on the starting side. Without pulling the needle all the way through, prick the needle back out of the fabric further down along the folded edge.

Pull the needle all the way through, drawing the thread behind it until the stitch pulls the two folded edges together. Repeat the previous step on the opposite side, pulling the needle across and poking in and out while staying aligned with the other side.

Continue this zig-zagging pattern until you make it across the seam or run out of thread. Anchor off the end the same way you did the running stitch.

Step 4: The Potato

     Cut out your potato stencil and lay it on your brown fabric. Leaving plenty of room on the stencil's right side, trace around the edges, except with a gap between the two points that stick out furthest toward the right. Move your stencil over and place the two points that fall furthest left against the open portion of the outline you previously traced. Draw around the stencil creating one shape made up of two joined potato faces.
     Lay down the stencil a third time, leaving space between it and the previous shape. Trace all the way around. Cut around the shape being sure to cut outside the line by at lest a quarter inch.
     Align the single potato face with the left half of the two-face panel and pin in place with the good sides of the fabric facing in. Even though they are on opposite sides, try to align the outlines as best as you can. You can explore with the pins to make sure they lie on top of one another. Stitch down the left half of the single face panel.

     Now fold in the right half of the two-faced panel and align its rightmost side with the right half of the single face panel. Similarly, pin them together and stitch down that half. The single faced panel should now be completely stitched along its lines. The whole assembly should have an opening at the top and bottom.

     Find the opening at the top of the potato (the smaller side) and pin it closed. Align the lines on both sides and stitch along the curve.

     Pull the whole potato inside out through the hole left open at the bottom. Stuff it with fiberfill and seal up the opening with a slip stitch, maintaining the curved shape along the bottom.

Step 5: The Nails

     Using your felt (or other thick fabric) cut out a strip about an inch and a half wide. The length needed will vary from person to person. Roll up the fabric as tightly as you can until it is stiff enough to hold its shape. Shave off the excess and stitch the loose end down. Do this twice.
     Clip out a square around three quarters of an inch on each side and lay it down on one end of one of the rolls. Stitch it down and shave off the corners of the square to make it a circular nail head. Do this for both rolls.
     You should now have two nails to stitch onto the potato at its top and side as shown.

Step 6: The Wires

     Start by taking your jewelry cord and tying a thick knot at one end. Clip out some gray fabric about one by one and a half inches. Fold it in half over the knot in your cord and stitch across just below the knot. Keep an extra tight stitch so the fabric will not pull off the end of the cord. This will become your first alligator clip.
     Shear off the top corners of the fabric with a cut beginning close to your stitching. Open up the new triangular section and sandwich it over the top nail on your potato. Make a running stitch just inside the edges of the alligator clip,  penetrating down through all the layers of the clip and nail.
     Cut out a rectangle of red fabric about one by two inches and fold it over the bottom of the alligator clip. Tuck in the the free ends on the opposite side of the fold and stitch it up with a slip stitch, creating a sleeve over the gray fabric. Try to make the sleeve tight and fit to the shape of the clip, tapering down to where it becomes the cord.
     Run the length of the cord down to the fattest section of the potato. The center of the front face is where you will be placing GLaDOS' face. Tie a large knot about 11 1/2 inches down the line from the alligator clip and place it down at the center of where her face will be. Place a few tight stitches on either side of the knot to hold it in place.
     Continue down the cord about seven inches past the knot and clip off the rest there. At that end tie a new knot and add another alligator clip following the same steps as before.
     For the yellow wires use your pearl cotton string, sewing needle and thread. Anchor your thread on the potato near where the center knot is on your black cord. Tie a loose knot on the end of your cotton string and run the sewing needle through the knot. Make a stitch on the potato in the same place and tighten the knot on your cotton string. This should hold the end in place. Wrap the yellow string around the wide portion of your potato three times and cut off the excess. Anchor this end the same way you stitched down the first.

Step 7: The Computer Parts

     Take out your white fabric and trace out the four shapes that make up the front and sides of the two computer parts. The solid line is where you should trace and cut your fabric, and the dotted line will be the folded edge of the fabric where the seam will be. If you can, trace the dotted line onto your fabric as well in washable marker.
     Take the parts that make up GLaDOS' face (the large circle and the long rectangular strip). With the good sides of the fabric facing in, align the outer edge of the long strip with the edge of the circle, bending it to fit all the way around. Pin it in place and stitch all the way around one half inch inside the edge (along the dotted line). Shave off the excess seam allowance and turn inside out. Be careful not to clip off the extra fabric too close to the seam, or the edge will fray and pull open at the seam.
     Take the second two pieces (the rectangle and the shorter strip) and align their edges similarly to the way you did the face. Start by lining up one side and pinning in place. When you get to a corner, cut a line on the side strip from the outer edge to the dotted line where it will bend to match the dotted line on the rectangle. Stitch around one half inch inside the edges (along the dotted line), being careful not stitch over any folded layers on the edge strip. You needle should only be passing through two pieces of fabric at any time: one layer of the front panel, and one layer of the side panel. When you've stitched all the way around, turn inside out.

Step 8: Electronics Details

     Cut out the small circle template and place it in the middle of GLaDOS' face. Trace around the circle and add two lines straight across from each other outside this circle. These are the lines you will embroider on with your black embroidery thread. To ready your needle, clip off a length of embroidery floss and separate two strands from the rest of the bundle. String both of these strands together through the eye of your embroidery needle and knot the end, as you would a normal sewing needle.
     Starting from the underside, prick the needle up through the fabric along the line you traced. Pull the thread through all the way to the knot. Poke the needle back in a short distance down the line. When you draw the needle back out, bring it out next to where it came in, but a little bit back along the line toward where you started. Lead the needle between the thread running over the outside and pull it taut. Continue on in this fashion, poking in further down and out again a little bit back, until you have completed the line drawn.
     For the eye, trace around a nickel on your yellow fabric. Cut outside the line to cut the shape out. Use the nickel to trace the same circle in the center of GLaDOS' face. Using your white thread, perform a slip stitch between the two lines you traced, tucking the edges in underneath as you stitch. The small red lights on her face and other computer part are added the same way, but with smaller circles cut from red fabric.
     Go around the red light on the rectangular computer chip with black embroidery thread, the same way you stitched the detail on her face.
     Cut out a strip of black fabric about an inch wide. Fold back the edges and use a running stitch in black thread to hold them in place. Find the place on GLaDOS' face where the black strip attaches and runs back to the other chip. Pin the black strip down here, with the bad side facing up and the long end lying across the eye. Stitch down with a running stitch and fold over where the stitches are so the raw edge is hidden beneath the rest as it runs back to the computer chip. Secure the other end to the edge of the white rectangle using the same method.

Step 9: Final Assembly

     Trace a circle on your potato for GLaDOS' face (for the template, that's the dotted line in the circle). This circle will match up with the dotted line half an inch from the edge of the strip that makes the sides of GLaDOS' face. (If you are using foam pad to stuff the face and computer chip, this line may need to be moved). Match up the placement of the face and start slip stitching from the top to the bottom in an arc down the left side. When you reach the bottom, stop for a while and prepare your embroidery needle.
     With the right side of the face open you can get in underneath to add the wires stabbing into the potato from the face. Pull back the white fabric and anchor the embroidery thread in the potato. Bring the needle back up just outside the face where the first wire is supposed to meet potato. Stick the needle into the white fabric to complete the path of the first wire. Bring the needle back out where the next needle begins and run it back into the potato. Continue like this until there are four threads sticking into the potato. Make sure you do not pull these threads too tight, or they will crush the side of GLaDOS' face. Tie off the end in the potato underneath the face where you started. Use the same method to add two more wires to the bottom of the face.
     With that done, you may resume stitching around the face. If you are using foam pad to stuff the face, cut and insert your foam circle now, while half of it is still open. If you are using regular fiberfill, keep stitching until there is only a small opening left before you stuff, then finish the job when it is full.
     The rectangular computer chip is secured the same way, with a slip stitch around the edges. Be sure to start on the edge closest to the face, otherwise the black strip running between them could get in your way later. Remember to leave enough room to stuff before stitching it down all the way.

Step 10: Love at Your Own Risk

Be careful. Hugging can lead to... well, me disassembling you forever.

Halloween Props  Contest

Participated in the
Halloween Props Contest

Game.Life 2 Challenge

Participated in the
Game.Life 2 Challenge