The Art of Toys

Wielding only a needle and thread, seamstress Wendy Tsao makes children's drawings come alive with stunning accuracy in her toy art.

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Courtesy Wendy Tsao
Wendy Tsao, who displays and sells her handiwork on her blog, Child's Own Studio, made her first "softie" in 2007 based on her young son's self-portrait.

Courtesy Wendy Tsao
Since then, the muralist-turned crafter has received hundreds of requests to turn characters from children's drawings—curious-looking stick figures, fairy princesses, bunnies with massive ears, and more—into soft, squeezeable dolls (prices start at $90).

Courtesy Wendy Tsao
"It takes me one to two days to make one. I am most interested and inspired by young children's drawings because these charming drawings are wonderfully revealing of the simple desires and spirit of the child," says Tsao.

"There are different ways to interpret or realize 'squiggles and lines'," she continues," and I will take different approaches, depending how I feel that day. That's the fun, creative part of the process for me."

Courtesy Wendy Tsao
Though she won't pick a favorite work for herself, Tsao says others certainly do.

"Everyone has different favorites. This craft really shows how art, even children's art, is subjective and creates different responses to them," says Tsao.

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Courtesy Wendy Tsao
"As a child, I drew all the time and thought I was going to be an artist when I grew up," says Tsao. "So, I can relate to what children feel when they draw, and when I see their drawings, I just want to celebrate them."

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