Do you have any tips on DIY chew stim toys? I cant afford to buy any
Absolutely! I’ll also include a few cheap chew stim toys at the end that don’t involve purchasing online and paying shipping, just in case it’s easier to buy those as opposed to buying materials, but I’ll also talk about ways to do the DIYs that, hopefully, don’t involve buying anything.
Firstly, the DIYs. There’s two ways to go about it, cloth or silicone. I’ve mentioned the cloth DIYs before on this post and I’ll quote my comment below:
There’s a no-sew necklace tutorial here at Hdydi and a slightly-more-complicated (but nicer-looking) bangle tutorial here at Craftaholics Anonymous. (The bangle does require a little sewing, but it can be done via hand or machine.) Both use cut-up T-shirts or T-shirt material. There’s also a tutorial here at Lemon Lime Adventures for a version using wooden beads.
The Hdydi tute involves only the ability to cut up an old T-shirt into strips, braid it and knot it into a loop that can be a necklace or bracelet. It’s super easy as DIYs go if you can braid and knot (I’m aware that not all disabled people can manage even the super easy DIYs). If you want to turn it into a necklace, you may need to sew two strips together at the ends - a running stitch will do the job - in order to have length long enough that you can pull the braid over your head.
The Craftaholics Anonymous tute requires scrap fabric (again, you can cut up an old T-shirt). Instead of knotting the end of the braid, they’re sewn across (again, a running stitch will work just fine) the ends to finish them. The two sewn ends are then sewn to each other to form a bracelet, providing a neater finish.
If you’re making bracelets, you’ll want material with a little stretch: most cheap T-shirts are made from polyester. This will be fine. If your material doesn’t stretch at all, keep your braid a little loose or make the bracelet a little larger than needed - this gives you more play in the fabric to pull it over your hand.
These braids could easily be turned into keychain attachments or zip pulls, for those who want something chewable but don’t necessarily wish to wear them!
(For both of these tutorials, you need an old T-shirt and scissors. For the second, a needle and thread. If you need to borrow these from someone and don’t want to explain what you’re doing, just say you’re mending a tear in your own clothing.)
The Lemon Lime Adventures tute uses socks, shoelaces and wooden beads. The beads can be omitted if you don’t have them - just tie more knots in the socks. This might be an option for those who can’t/don’t wish to sew.
(If the bead is going in your mouth, don’t use painted or dyed ones. Plain, unpainted, undyed, unvarnished, untreated ones are safest.)
Other options for fabric chewing involve buying thick, soft woven fabric cord - think the kind used for hoodie strings, which I’ve seen in many a dollar shop craft section - and tying knots in it before knotting the ends in a loop to make a bracelet or necklace. You may even have an old hoodie from which you can acquire the strings! Shoelaces, likewise, especially the thick ones. These probably won’t last as long as the Lemon Lime Adventures version, but they’re easily replaced.
(I’d wash everything mentioned above thoroughly before using, even if it’s new: you don’t want dye leeching from the cloth into your mouth.)
The silicone DIY method involves getting a silicone pot holder or some other silicone kitchen object, cutting it up and using it as a handheld chewable or putting a hole in it and stringing it on a cord (even a shoelace) for chewellery. (There are so many silicone kitchen items these days: you could look at the bottom part of a spatula, the edge of a baking tray, a shaped part from an ice tray or chocolate mould … whatever you think works.) Now, finding something silicone and thick will be the hardest part, as most of these things are pretty thin, and I think even a moderate chewer might go through these pretty quickly.
(I’ll stress here that I do not know what degree of food-safe some of these items may be. If it’s designed to hold food or have a lot of contact with food, I’d think it’d be pretty safe; if it’s not designed to have contact with food, it may be questionable.)
Lastly, I’ve found relatively inexpensive plastic and silicone teethers in stores like K-Mart and The Reject Shop. (I’ve posted about them here and here.) These are probably far better for tougher chewers, especially the silicone ones as they’re quite thick and sturdy, and may be worth the investment. I don’t know where you’re located, so I don’t know what stores to suggest, but I’d try looking at the better discount stores - the ones that stock cheap and clearanced brand-name items - and cheap department stores. From the right store, teethers aren’t expensive. The silicone ones I found are pretty cute (clearancing at $1 AUD!) and aren’t that different from the handheld chewables sold on Stimtastic. I say this because it may be as cheap to buy a silicone teether as it is to buy a silicone pot holder for DIY.
I hope this gives you some ideas. Followers, please feel welcome to add!