Saturday, May 21, 2011

Crochet Project: Custom Care Bears

When I think of '80s pop culture, I immediately think of the Care Bears. I am too young to remember when they were actually popular, but when I was a little kid I thought they were the coolest thing ever. I have almost all of them, because my parents would pick them up at secondhand stores for my collection. To this day, I will buy almost anything with the vintage Care Bears (I do not care too much for their anime-inspired re-design). So when I saw this book at the fabric store a few years ago, you can bet I snatched it up.

Unfortunately, the book is now out of print, but a little searching should turn up some used copies.

Anyway, the book gives instructions for your basic Care Bear, followed by instructions to crochet the various "tummy symbols" for each bear. My first project from the book was Funshine Bear, one of the few I did not have in my collection already.

But as I was working on it, I realized the potential for customization here. My first thought was to do Cheer Bear (pink, with a rainbow) as Pink Floyd Bear (hot pink, with the prism from Dark Side of the Moon). This really got the creative juices flowing. With the right color/symbol combination, you could create a Care Bear reflecting almost any interest or hobby. I decided to test this by making my brother a Nintendo Bear for his birthday.

Here he is! Click on the pics for a full-sized view.

I used Vanna's Choice in (Nintendo-logo) red and white, with a Mario mushroom as the tummy symbol. I made the mushroom out of felt, rather than try and figure out how to crochet the exact shape. The eyes are also from felt on both bears, and the heart nose and foot pads are crocheted from embroidery floss. The instructions for the face and foot pads are included in the book. Funshine Bear's mouth is crocheted, but Nintendo Bear's is backstitched with the same yarn I used for the body.

Here is a close-up of the mushroom.

I found a picture online, printed it out in the exact size I wanted, and used that as my pattern and template. Then I used hot glue to attach everything together. There are several layers in some places. I glued the white spots onto the red cap, and then glued the red cap and white stem onto black and cut it out with about a quarter-inch border. The little "eyes" on the mushroom are backstitched right onto the felt, done before gluing onto the black. The whole thing was glued right onto the tummy, although you could sew it on as well. Sewing is probably the way to go if this is intended for a small child; it is less likely to fall off through normal wear and tear, and would be less likely to fall apart in the washing machine. Although the hot glue does stick the layers of felt together very well.

Other ideas I had:
-Sports bears: Made in team colors, with a football/basketball/whatever on the tummy
-Superhero bears: Black for Batman, red/blue for Superman (or Spider-Man), green for Green Lantern, etc, with the corresponding bat/S logo/spider/green symbol, etc on the tummy
-Star Wars Bear: Jedi symbol on the tummy
-Star Wars Bear (Dark Side): Made in black, with the empire symbol on the tummy
-Star Trek Bear: Made in gold, blue, or red, with the Starfleet symbol
-Doctor Who Bear: Made in TARDIS blue...not sure what the tummy symbol should be, though. The logo? Which one? It would be pretty tricky to do in felt. Maybe a police box.

You get the idea. I still want to make a Pink Floyd bear, though.

Question for the comments: What would you most like to see?


  1. I have the patterns, but can't, for the life of me, figure out the toes! any input you can give would be greatly appreciated!

  2. I was puzzled by the toes at first too! Here's what I figured out: The foot is crocheted comes out looking like a big fat boot at the bottom.

    Take an arm's length of yarn and fold it in half, then take BOTH of the ends and thread a needle through it. Figure out where you want the first toe to be and stick the needle all the way through the foot, either top to bottom or bottom to top.

    Pull the yarn until there's a small loop sticking out (this is where you folded the yarn in half) and pull the yarn through the loop. Pull tight. This makes the first toe. Stick the needle in at that same point and then out where you want the next toe to be. Repeat the process to create the next toes (I usually make 3).

    Hope this helps!

    1. Oh, and I forgot to say: stuff the foot before you make the toes!