A few years ago, Wendy Chang wanted to craft a handmade gift for her daughter’s eighth birthday. She found a pair of pants her daughter had outgrown and used her sewing smarts to fashion a cupcake from them, adding beads for icing. Chang continued with her sewing projects and eventually founded Sugar Plush, a one-year old company specializing in plush accessories with an edible theme. Inside Chang’s Santa Clara studio is a world of cuteness in the form of soft marshmallows and s’mores with smiling faces, pillow-like strawberries and huggable cupcakes.
“At Sugar Plush, we create fun unique plush items, stuffed animals, stuffed creatures, and DIY kits,” says Chang, who has been sewing since age seven. “I have two kinds of DIY kits for kids ages five and up. One is for making s’mores and the other one is for making a strawberry and a marshmallow. I don’t include sewing needles in my DIY kits because I know kids can be excited when they see the kit and I don’t want them to poke their hands when they reach inside the kit. You don’t have to know how to sew to do a DIY project with Sugar Plush. The instructions should walk the user through the process.”
Visitors to Chang’s website will find an abundance of marshmallows; which, depending on their size, they can be used as stress relievers, cuddle toys, pillows or decorative accessories.
“Marshmallows are delicious and fun to eat, I have them in my hot chocolate, s’mores, and Rice Krispies treats,” Chang says. “As plush items, marshmallows are very simple and open-ended. You can also use whatever material you have at home to decorate it and make a one-of-a kind toy.”
Chang, who recently sold her creations during an event at the Triton Museum of Art, also hosted a plush marshmallow-making booth at last year’s Bay Area Maker Faire.
“At the Maker Faire, I met kids who have never sewn before, and they did wonderful,” she recalls. “I gave them the marshmallow skin and material from the FabMo, a fabric reclaiming center. The children were able to make [add-ons to the marshmallows, such as] hats, clothes, hair and pom poms with needle and thread. Their stitches didn’t come out. There was a label attached to every marshmallow that said ‘Handmade by’ and the children could write their names on it, and get a sense of accomplishment.”