As a plush artist living in the UK I have had to adapt the way I work to ensure that any plush creatures I make that are designed for children as toys comply with new UK Toy safety legislation. This basically means designing my toys to comply with the strict safety regulations and writing and maintaining a comprehensive technical file for each of the toy designs I make. It has been a long and at times stressful journey. It has meant many test creatures have had to be tortured for the greater good so that a whole host of creatures may go on to be loved by children around the world.
All my toys must be strong enough to withstand weight tests. This involves triple sewing all seams and testing the strength by hanging 7kg (15.5lb) of weight from the seams and attachments.
Just to make sure, this has to be repeated after the toy has been soak washed and dried.
Toys are often sucked by children so all materials used in toy making have to be tested to ensure they don't contain heavy metals or harmful chemicals. This is a test we can't do ourselves so each material I use, whether it be socks, yarns or fleece has to be sent away to independent testing houses for this test to be done.
Finally to ensure the toy would not pose a fire hazard we have to carry out flammability testing. This calls for taking a blow torch to an innocent test creature, the bit I hate the most.
I feel like I am Sid from Toy story whilst doing this and hate torturing toys but at the end of this process I have now produced a range of adorable and pretty indestructible creatures. These are fully washable and safe for all. To date I have tested 14 different toy designs ranging from sock creatures, Amigurumi animals and fleece toys too. None of this would have been possible without the support of the Fabulous CE testing support groups on Facebook.