frog (or toad) doll tutorial

Think “elf on a shelf” but amphibious.

They are remarkably expressive. A combination of the long limbs and eyes that follow you everywhere, silently judging you. An amphibious elf on a shelf. Why not.
Do you need more supervision? They are easy to make.

frog doll pattern sheet and supplies

download the pattern sheet

You will also need:

1. Fold your fabric with the right sides together. Pin one leg and arm along the fold and pin the body and cut out.

2.  Refold the remaining fabric, place the arm and leg on the fold and cut out. Pin the oval to a scrap of contrasting fabric and cut out.

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3. Fold over each bottom edge of the frog body – wrong sides together – and press. Mark all your seam lines.

4. Stitch all seams. You can sew by hand or machine.  Leave open as indicated.

5.  Trim little triangle section around the curves of the head. Be careful not to snip the seams. Trim away about 1/2 of the seam allowance on the arms and legs.

6. Use the chopstick to turn the body right side out. Use this trick to turn the arms and legs:  insert a turning tube or straw cut in half into a limb. Push the straw all the way in.

7. Snip the point of a skewer and dull the end with sandpaper.  Use it to push the fabric into the straw.

8. Push all the way through the straw. Save your straw forever to use again and again.

9. Lightly stuff the bottom half of each limb.

10. Fold the limb  in half so the toe is 1/4 inch below the open edge. Use a pin to mark the fold location.

11. Using embroidery thread stitch across with small even stitches. Use this method to hide your knots and thread tails. . Repeat for all the limbs.

12. Lightly stuff the upper section of each limb. Leave about 1/2 inch at the top empty.

13. Insert an arm at a slight angle, with the seam facing down, and pin in place.

14. Use tiny whip stitches to stitch it in place along the front and then back. Repeat for the other arm.

15. Pin a leg to the front of the body, leg seam facing in.

16. Stitch to the edge of the front body piece. Repeat for the other leg.

17. Stuff the body. I think rag dolls are best stuffed on the light side but make sure to fill out the head, eyes etc. fully.

18. Pin the back edge and whip stitch closed.

19. Pin the stomach in place and whip or straight stitch around. For adding the details you will find this tutorial on hiding your knots helpful.

20. Stitch a line for the mouth – I used backstitch. Find a free guide to three simple embroidery stitches here.

21. Add buttons for eyes – you can uses any size – the size of the button can change the expression in funny ways.  And 4 hole buttons work too – make an X  with the stitches.

two frog rag dolls - similar to elf on a shelf

I stitched through the hands and feet – 3 little lines – for an extra detail on the brown toad. And you could cut a scrap of wool for a scarf.  Put him on a shelf and let the judgement begin.

I hope you make frogs and toads and they are super photogenic. What kinds of mischief will your frogs get into? Please tag your frog and toad posts #annwoodpattern on instagram – I’d love to see!


  1. Donna Buckley

    Once again, Your creative mind is AMAZING! I had the great privilege of taking your ship making class at the French General in L.A. CA. When I need a happy memory to think of I go back to those two wonderful days⚓️

    Thank you so much for sharing


  2. Mary Blain

    Oh my goodness, Ann – I am picturing Mr. Toad from “Wind in the Willows” and may I, with your permission, develop the other three major characters: Mr. Rat, Mr. Badger, and Mr. Mole, using this basic pattern? Thinking of making them for the children of a friend, not for sale.

    • Oh … I do hope she says yes. Would love to see your work and if possible share the patterns.


    • Wind in the willows is one of my most beloved books. That’s sounds super cute!

      • Mary Blain

        Thank you, Ann! I am making my first frog as a test – will hopefully move on to the other characters soon. I also want to develop some clothing for them (probably using your patterns for the tiny doll for starters), but I really need to re-read the book to find ideas of what they wore, etc.
        I purchased fabric for the four this weekend and I will definitely share photos!

      • Mary Blain

        Hmmmm I believe Mr. Mole had spectacles – Ann, do you have any thoughts on a way to help them stay on? I would like to make them removeable so he would not have to wear them to bed. After all, who sleeps in their spectacles?

  3. This would make the perfect handmade gift to give with the Frog and Toad books!
    I love them! Ann you are so clever, thank you!

    • annabelle,

      Great minds! Was just talking yesterday about Frog and Toad on a book thread,
      and that was my thought as well.
      Ann, all your projects put a smile on our faces.

  4. How for”toad”ious I was looking for a toad just the other day, lol.
    I was thinking last week that one of my first sewing makes was a beanbag frog when I was six, I had a wonderful teacher that introduced me to the world of sewing, I don’t have the frog but I remember he was brown, but I still have the needle case. I will send a picture alongside my “toad” ☺️

  5. I had a frog like this, when I was young and he was stuffed with rice, or similar. He was called Umbelibumbely, no I idea why!?! Thank you for bringing back the memory, I might make some for my grand children.

  6. Even if I don’t really make these,I love looking and making them in my imagination. All your work makes me happy!!!

  7. My project today is recycling old cotton shirts….and as I look thru emails you have again inspired some more creative outlets!! Thank You !!

  8. Carol McElroy

    Adorable Ann! I’m pretty sure these will wind up under the Christmas tree this year. Thank you so much

  9. So CUTE! I plan to make a few frogs, I am thinking about using the crushed walnut shells as filler, I will experiment and see how that goes. Thank you for your generous pattern!

  10. Squeezably cute!! I’m off to make one ( or 2 or 3) of my own right now! Thanks so much Ann! As always your newsletters are such a treat.

  11. I’m thinking about an Ann Wood Christmas tree this year using all of the wonderful creatures from your free patterns as decorations. With four grandsons ages ranging from two to six, I just know being able to take them from the tree to play with and rearrange will make this a special bit of Christmas magic. Thank you !!!

    • Thanks Suzette! And yes the soft ornaments are so good with little folks!

  12. Barbara Legener

    Ohh I have the perfect green plaid light weight flannel for a frog. They are so cute . You are so very creative and generous. Your blog brings me such joy,

  13. Elke Vangelista

    Gorgeous frogs ! Thank you for sharing your “making of”

  14. Debora bartlett

    Oh my gosh! These are wonderful!
    Thank you for sharing such a great pattern!

  15. Sandra Geiman

    Ann , these are adorable frogs , I probably will be printing the pattern to have on hand I already have the happy cats pattern. Thank YOU so much . Your talent amazes me.

  16. Dawn Rogal

    Oh Ann! This was such a fun pattern to stitch! Your tip on turning the appendages using a straw is brilliant. Thank you ❤️

  17. Pat Mackenzie

    Think I’m going to give my frog a pair of pants …let’s maintain some decency!!I
    Love your patterns Ann
    Pat (scotland)

    • Yes!! I modified the tiny doll pants pattern for the frog, it was so easy and they look great!
      I also adapted the reversible hooded jacket (minus the hood) although it ended up looking more like a smoking jacket. LOL

  18. I love your adorable frogs and toads!! As a retired science teacher, how could I not? I haven’t participated in the “Elf on the shelf” activity, but I may become an active participant of the “Frog on the shelf”. And year round! Thank you for generously sharing your creativity and pattern.

  19. I had so much fun sewing this for my frog-loving nephew for Christmas! I used some old upholstery samples and it is adorable. Thank you for the pattern!!

  20. Marla Jones

    Dear Ann, you are wonderful to supply this as a free pattern. I am making two for my parents. Do you stitch the button eyes so that there are exposed stitches on the backs of their heads? I am there as my last step and hope to hear from you on your process. Blessings, Marla

  21. Rebecca Ruediger

    I wish my mind was as creative as yours. I am always astounded by the wonderful things you come up with. I have your Little Doll. She is my favorite thing. She is stuffed with lavender which makes her extra special. Thank you.

  22. Was able to download but there appears to be no way to print. Was so looking forward to making these cute little toads.

    • Hi Joanne,

      The pattern sheet is a pdf. You can print it.

      What was your difficulty?


  23. Donna Burdick

    Thank you for sharing all your wonderful designs and talent. I love everything you do. Have a wonderful Holiday!

  24. I love your toad dolls!!! Is there anyway to enlarge the pattern to make them much larger?? I’m also having trouble with printing the pattern. Maths ks so much for you creativity and kindness. ❤️

  25. marvinthemushroom

    Would you ever consider posting overall patterns for Mr. Frog?

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