Toddler Buckle Toy Tutorial — Scrapbusting Saturday

DIY Toddler Buckle Toy Tutorial - Swoodson Says

 I have been brainstorming lots of handmade toys lately! My son is 17 months old and not grooving on “baby toys” like rattles that were easy to keep in the car, but he is still too young to enjoy coloring or drawing. He loves to look at books, which is fantastic, but I like having a few options to rotate in the carseat.

Last night he had his first bout of stomach flu and we were up all night, so I scrapped my elaborate scrapbusting project this morning. I had this cut, sewn, and photographed within  an hour! Super fast, cheap, and it was a hit with my son.

DIY Toddler Buckle Toy Tutorial - Swoodson Says

You might recognize the green scrap from my very first project post and the bright blue is a twill that I used for my son’s Study Hall Jacket. I love being reminded of past projects when I use up scraps!

DIY Toddler Buckle Toy Tutorial - Swoodson Says

I was a little nervous that he was going to totally ignore it; he didn’t feel that well and rarely stops for long enough to blink, let alone play with a toy, while he is outside. The temptation of a buckle was too much to resist though, and he immediately started clicking away.

DIY Toddler Buckle Toy Tutorial - Swoodson Says

But then he remembered about his “hidey-hole” underneath the bush and ran off – taking his buckle book with him!

Want to make one of your own? Here’s how!

Supplies You’ll Need:

-3 random buckles. (I bought a lot of vintage notions off Ebay!)

-At least 3.5 feet of cording, lacing, ribbon, or webbing

-Fabric scraps for the car applique

-Car Applique Outline

-2 buttons for the car applique headlights

-Wonder-Under scrap for the applique (optional – this is a fusible transfer product, you could just trace, pin, sew)

-2 rectangular scraps of woven fabric- 9.5″ long by 8″ tall

-2 rectangles of medium-weight interfacing-9.5″ long by 8″ tall(optional, depending on fabric weight)

-2 KAM Snap Sets & applying tools (optional, not pictured)





1. Trace the car & windshield shapes on to the Wonder Under on the smooth side. Iron on to the wrong side of the fabric scraps, trim.

2. Peel the paper backing off, position, and iron on to the main front toy piece. Sew 1/8-1/4″ away from the edge around the shape, both on the windshield and the car. Hand or machine sew the buttons on – they line up over the tires.

3. Iron on the interfacing to the body pieces, if desired. Loop cord/ribbon through the buckle ends and lay out. Make sure to leave a small amount of slack so the buckle can be manipulated – completely taut and it will be tough for your toddler to play with it!

4. Stitch each side of the buckles to the fabric, keeping about 1/4″ inside in an X-ed out box for security. Don’t forget lots of back-stitching for security. Trim extra cord off the edges.

5. Put both right sides together and make sure the buckles are tucked into the middle so you don’t accidentally sew over them and break a needle. Sew two row of stitching around the edges, leaving a 4″ opening to flip it inside out. The first row is at a 3/8″ seam allowance, and then another one at 1/2″ for extra secure seams.

6. Turn right side out and gently poke the corners out. Iron the opening smooth and topstitch 1/4″ around the edges, making sure to catch all 4 layers of the tucked in opening.

7. Optional – After sewing it all up, I decided it would bug me if the buckles were flopping around. I inserted two KAM snaps so it could roll shut vertically – any metal or plastic snap would work just fine!

DIY Toddler Buckle Toy - Swoodson Says

You’re done! A quick, easy, scrapbusting toy for the toddler in your life.


  1. Renae @Launderlife   •  

    I adore this little project. I think this “activity” would be great on a “busy jacket,” too. ;) :P

    • Stephanie - Swoodson Says   •     Author

      HAHA I had forgotten about that. Oh man would a busy jacket ever come in handy today when I’m still exhausted and he is feeling better!

  2. Rachel   •  

    Good idea! I remember that being a really hard age to find good toys for. Too big for one thing not quite ready for the next.

    • Stephanie - Swoodson Says   •     Author

      Yes! We have the same issues at the playground – too old to happily sit and watch but too young to comprehend he can’t walk off the ladder. Grey hairs abound over here.

  3. Daniela   •  

    That’s a great idea! My son loves solving-problem games like this. Plus, it is such a cute gift idea that I might send one for my nephew as well.

  4. Amy mayen   •  

    Wow, that’s super cute and insanely clever! I’ve been planning g to make a quiet book for my niece with zippers and things…I hope I get around to it before she’s too big to care! Thanks for the motivation!

    • Stephanie - Swoodson Says   •     Author

      haha – I have a few baby toy ideas that were never finished before he got too old! Time flies!

  5. Chelsea   •  

    Really cute idea! Fun that he can just walk around and enjoy it too. May have to steal the idea!

  6. Becky   •  

    Thanks for sharing. I am going to try this one soon.

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  9. Emily   •  

    My 2.5yo is at the age where he wants to do his buckles himself on the car seat, etc. so this would be good for him. It would be a good page for a quiet book too, but I like how you made it a stand alone toy and especially like the genius idea of putting the snaps on the outside so you can roll it up!

    • Stephanie - Swoodson Says   •     Author

      I was just looking at your quiet book post! I am nervous to put a ton of time into a quiet book and have him be totally not impressed. Hence my cheater toy, ha! Thanks for stopping by!

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  11. Havalah   •  

    Oh I love this. My little boy would love this.

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