Tooth Pillow Tutorial, Revisited

This basic tooth pillow pattern includes a loop to hang from the bedpost, doorknob or night table drawer knob, so the Tooth Fairy doesn’t have to do that hazardous groping under the beneficiary’s pillow. This is pure gold. Pure GOLD, people. It also has a built-in pocket in the mouth for receiving teeth and coins.

So I finished my oldest’s tooth pillow (Ballerina Fairy, photo above) and I thought I’d repost the basic pattern with a better tutorial to go with it, because I made a couple of adjustments to it. The basic pattern does not include the crown, wings or skirt. You could make those parts pretty easily on your own if you like. (If you would like to see other tooth pillows I’ve made for both boys and girls for inspiration, you can view this flickr set.)

The basic free pattern now includes the cheek and teeth shapes. (I’m also developing a retail version of the pattern that includes lots of accessories and a better way to sew the mouth pocket. Stay tuned for that.)

So here we go! For a basic girl or boy tooth pillow you’ll need:

  • My pattern printed twice on 8.5 x 11 card stock
  • Felt for tooth body, inside pocket, cheeks, little teeth, plus (optional) any accessories you add in addition to the basic stuff, like the crown and tutu.
  • About 11 inches of ribbon for the hanging loop
  • Buttons for eyes (or safety eyes, or felt eyes, etc…)
  • Fabritac or other fabric glue
  • Matching thread, embroidery floss, etc…
  • Disappearing marker to trace and make markings
  • Poly stuffing

1) You’ve downloaded the new and improved pattern and printed it out twice at actual size (no scaling) on letter sized card stock, right? Alrighty. Cut out the teeth and cheek shapes if you want to use them. Cut out the large tooth body piece from one sheet and the pocket piece from the other sheet. Also punch small holes in the main pattern piece to mark the ribbon placement, the mouth slit, the top corners of the pocket placement and the eyes. I use a 1/8 inch hole punch and it works great.

2) Trace and cut out the tooth pattern twice on felt. The pattern is now symmetrical so you don’t have to worry about flipping it. Mark a vertical slit on the back piece and on the other piece mark all the placement holes you punched in step one.

3) Trace and cut out a felt pocket piece (in my case, I chose light pink*). Trace and cut out the small teeth shape and two cheeks if you are going
to use them. If you are using the teeth shape, go ahead and glue it to
the center top of the pocket piece. Set the cheek shapes aside.

*Note: If your tooth is a light color felt, avoid choosing dark colors for the
pocket piece — it may show through and give your tooth five o’clock
shadow. Not good, especially if you are a girl tooth pillow.

4) In matching thread, machine sew around the mouth line and also the line on the back piece before you cut them. It will look like a box of stitches around each one. It’s to stabilize the felt and keep it from stretching out of shape. Use an Xacto knife and a ruler to cut the slits, being sure not to come too close to the stitching.

5) Add dots of fabric glue around the edges of the right side of the pocket piece to keep it in place for sewing. Place it on the wrong side of the front piece behind the mouth using your marked dots for placement. Be sure the teeth are centered and showing through the mouth slit. With thread or floss that matches the outside of your tooth, hand sew with a hidden whip stitch all the way around the pocket. Be careful not to go through to the other side and use small enough stitches so that you won’t lose any of your kid’s teeth through a gap.

6) Add button eyes, safety eyes, embroidered eyes, felt eyes, whatever suits your stash or your fancy. Buttons can be a choking hazard for kiddos under three, so keep that in mind if your tooth pillow is for a very young kid. I know you know that. Has to be said. Also hand sew the cheeks on at this stage, and add whatever else you like in the way of facial features: freckles, mustache, eyebrows. Go crazy.

7) Add the ribbon. Loop it in half and glue it to the edge of the front piece. Pin the loop out of the way of the stitches.

8) Sandwich both pieces together right sides facing, pin, and machine sew all the way around with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. After sewing be sure to trim and clip all the seam allowances so that when it is turned the curves are nice and smooth. Turn it right side out through the slit in the back.

9) Tada! Now all you have to do is stuff it and hand sew the slit in the back closed. Scroll below to see some finished teeth and the back sewn closed.

At this stage you can also add more accessories if you’d like to customize your tooth.

The mouth pocket you created is where the lost tooth goes. Then you hang the pillow on the bedpost, drawer handle, doorknob, etc…And then the Tooth Fairy magically comes during the night to replace the tooth in the pocket with some coins or a rolled up dollar bill. At our house the Tooth Fairy sometimes forgets to visit (can you believe that slacker?), so now we always hang the pillow outside the child’s door on the knob, as a visual reminder. For the Tooth Fairy.

And that is how you make a basic hanging tooth pillow. Love to see the ones that you make in my flickr group:

Below are more photos of the one I made for my two with a crown, felt tutu and sparkly pipe cleaner wings added on the back (girly overload), so you can see there are many possibilities. I’ve made a few improvements to the pattern since I made mine.

What’s really weird is at the time I was making it, I found out my good friend Jessica’s daughter requested her own tooth pillow Ballerina Fairy at the same time, so our kids must’ve been channeling from some snaggle-toothed girly collective unconscious. Weirder still, when I found that out by chance, Jessica and I had both already made one unsatisfactory version and were each working on Ballerina Fairy Tooth Pillow 2.0.

Which is creepy. In a good way.

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