Click read more if you wanna, eh, read more.
1. Chemical Migration
2. Strength of seams
The first thing I did was to collect information on the materials I used. Each item that goes into toy making must be tested for chemical migration. This test has to be done by a lab unless you have some super hi tech chemical testing equipment at home. I found a group on facebook who collectively test ranges of fabric and other toy making stuff so that the cost of this testing is spread out over all those who use the group. They also have lots of personal information about the CE Marking process.
I bought a self-cert CE Marking pack from conformance. This pack walks you through all the steps required. Then I made my test puppet using the chemically certified materials.
Following the instructions in my conformance pack I carried out the torsion testing and strength testing on the seams. Then I did probe testing on the seams to check that little fingers cannot get through. All my seams passed. I tested on machine sewn seams and hand sewn seams. I also had to do some drop testing on my safety eyes and on the arm rods. They both passed.
The last bit of seam testing is with a small articulated rod. This is to emulate a child's finger and is to check that a child can't get in through the seam to any inner parts such as the stuffing. No problem here.
The next step is the flammability test. I set the puppet on fire and recorded how quickly the flame spread. The flame spread very slowly indeed, so this is a pass. For the inner head I had to test the fabric and the stuffing material as the inner head itself is smaller than the recommended 150mm for fire testing. The stuffing was self extinguishing, pass pass pass.
The next part is to wash and test everything again. I did this and my hand sewn seams did not pass the articulated rod test after washing. I was surprised at this, but actually glad to know that I had to do better. So I sewed over the seams again with a different stitch and started the testing again. It passed the second time round and I now know for definite how much hand stitching is required and the type of stitching to use. I used a double thread and did one round of ladder stitch and one round with whip stitch.
So finally after a lot of head scratching and about 7 weeks of work I had fully tested my puppet and it is almost ready to sell. The last part I have to do is write up all my documentation and get safety tags printed. And then I'm ready to sell!