Folksy Ltd

A different take on the CE question

At least I think it is, I have waded through lots of questions so hope I’m not repeating and if I am please point to the thread with the info. (and double apologies if you find me asking this on Etsy too!)

I make a stuffed collectible, a haggis, which to be honest is never going to be a frequent seller. I know it looks like a toy and I know where to get the pack to self certify for home-made toys. The question I have is for people using such packs to self certify at home, What does it actually involve?

I have a haggis I made for myself 4 years ago that survived kid and dog mauling and I didn’t make it to the standard I make the ones I have up for sale. But there are small parts, it’s hand sewn, the material (tweed) is not washable, and I used recycled stuffing. So I’m thinking on the one hand Xmas is coming and I don’t want to get into trouble for selling things that look like toys without CE marking, but £25 for a pack to CE mark items that will only sell very occasionally kind of puts me off.

I did mail my local trading standards ages ago and got zilcho back.

(I’m hoping my biggest sell time will be to adults when Burns Night looms)

If it looks like a toy it needs to be tested simple as that.

So if you want to sell him then I would get on with the testing you don’t want to get into any possible trouble.

You need to cover yourself

When I went though self-certifying about 3 years back, you had to do the following:

  • Buy fabric that had been tested to EN71 specs as safe to use for toys
  • Buy stuffing that was safe to use
  • Make a toy and then test it by hanging a certain weight off it’s arms/legs/eyes/ears to ensure that they could withstand tugging by a child
  • Wash toy and repeat the weight testing
  • Set fire to the toy (and timing and measuring the burn rate)
  • Ensure you keep a written record of the above, so if the worst comes to the worst and a child is injured by your toy, you can show due diligence in that you tested your toy to specific EU safety standards.

The hardest part was finding fabric that conformed to EN71 standards (i.e. it was to do with ensuring there was no lead, used through the dyeing process, in the fabric itself). A FB group setup a testing group where everyone paid £10 and then agreed on what fabrics to send to the lab for testing, and then when the fabric was tested, you get a certificate back to say it has (hopefully) passed and that certificate then goes alongside the due diligence written record (I kept all mine in a folder).
Once that is all done, you can then get to making the toys, using the same fabric, materials, pattern exactly as you did for the test version.

As a parent I understood the importance of making toys safe, but as a crafter and designer I felt it very restrictive, so changed to doing my birds which are collectibles and I can use whatever fabric and embellishments I like. Trading Standards said if I was going down the collectibles route, then they shouldn’t look like toys, but to also price them as collectibles - i.e. a lot more than a toy.

That’s my experience, I hope it helps. Do try Trading Standards again, sometimes messages don’t always get through, but mine were lovely and very helpful indeed so I would recommend.

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Thanks so much, that’s exactly what I needed to know. Straight away I know the kit will be useless as you cannot wash tweed, it is dry clean only. I mailed trading standards again, stressing the items are made of tweed. In the meantime I will hike my prices based on the retail value of the Tweed used. Thanks again, super helpful answer! :slight_smile:

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I read this thread out of casual interest and it has answered a question I have had for some time: Why can’t you get the beautiful dolls with lovely clothes that I used to pick up as a child in the late 1970’s early '80. This is because only fabrics that are “typical” fabrics for kids toys have been tested, so it has reduced the fabrics for rag dolls, dollies dresses, etc to the garish synthetics that are used everywhere. Despite the fact that children’s clothes can still be made out of “ordinary” fabrics. My son used to suck the sleeve of his water repellent coat until it completely disintegrated, so are these rules really too restrictive? That’s a rhetorical question and not one I want to debate particularly.

Sam x

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I love your birds (big bird/little bird) and I agree we do have to have guidelines in place. But I sometimes think things have gone too far. Especially when on other websites people from abroad sell their own dolls and their CE guides will be different. Unfortunately it does stop people being creative as they like.

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The rules for importing items from another country are the same. ie If the item doesn’t match up to our regulations the items are destroyed at customs, as they are deemed to be defective.

I would never buy a toy that doesn’t comply with the CE mark, that includes handmade toys. As I’d be giving it to a child and that child welfare come first.

I don’t know anything about this subject but I’m sure I’ve seen things that look like cuddly toys in shops but aren’t (e.g. Doorstops and something called a desk buddy) and they had in big letters on the label THIS IS NOT A TOY.

Not sure if they also had a CE mark or anything.

Is that something you could do? (Obviously check with someone who knows what they’re talking about before you go down that route)

I’m in communication with trading standards at the mo, so have left shop as is so they could see items. Of course, if someone buys I will have to deal with that. Ce testing is touchy subject, so many people assume you are trying to avoid it. If it turned out I could do the testing I would be ecstatic as it would open up a huge market for me. I can change almost everything I use but I cant change the tweed, and that’s the bit I need clarified. If I sell as a collectible I want it to be above board. Saying all that, you have given me an idea. My haggis could certainly be turned into doorstops if that’s a safer route. I will bring it up with trading standards.

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Thanks Karen. Things were baffling when I was going trough the CE testing side of things. For example, the fabric in kids clothes didn’t need to be tested for lead, which I would have thought was a good idea, as young children like to suck sleeves! So you do come across stuff that makes you question the logic.

People can make toys and give them away (my mum’s knitted toys and given them to charity, as has my sister aka Big Bird) and they don’t have to comply either. But at the end of the day CE is about ensuring all countries in the EU comply to the same rules so that there is free trade. How this may change in the future when we finally Brexit will remain to be seen, but if our toys are not deemed safe by the EU when we sell to that area as a business, then they may be held and destroyed.

I agree with your last sentence totally! For the handmade industry it’s a pain in the backside due to the extra costs involved, but then I look at the regulations involving those in the handmade soap industry and think CE testing is a breeze compared to that!

i’ve been silently following this thread with interest - i hardly dare lift my head above the parapet…

what if, for example, a hypothetical friend makes labour-intensive stuff intended for collectors, and is actually strongly opposed to children even touching their precious creations?
what if they explicitly state that they are not for children?

i’m pretty sure this imaginary friend of mine would go so far as to get it in writing from the customer that no dirty little fingers would Touch.
i wonder where she would stand.

curious :wink:

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Maybe you could attach it to a wooden base, I think it would take away the toy element and become an ornament, ideal for part of a table setting. It wouldn’t have to be a heavy base, just a piece of painted pine.

I know when I asked TS all that was mentioned was the price aspect (i.e. collectors items are usually higher priced than toys). It’s what is called a “grey zone”.

This link may help your friend a bit more though: http://ec.europa.eu/DocsRoom/documents/5845/attachments/1/translations

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well my trading standards person got back in touch with lots of links. Ce testing not applicable but I do still have to test strength of things like sewn on buttons and make up a technical file. Then I have proof as to why not ce applicable. Or something like that. I’ve hidden my haggis till I get through all that. I’ll come back and list what had to do after, though it will be a while!

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yep a wooden base would be what’s needed for a door stop and wouldn’t they require a little sewn on label saying This is not a toy so if it was given away or resold or ended up in a charity shop the labe would still be visible for all to see.

I know my friend both a lovely door stop and it had a sewn on label. But she bought it from a high street store.

Doesn’t need to be a sewn in label, can just be a tag attached by ribbon/string when selling the toy.

However I’d suggest that anyone reading this thread gets their own advice, as @Tweedsnipsnbits has done. I’m no expert, just giving my experience, and things may well have changed legally in the last couple of years.

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Well, after a week of intensive head melting reading the whole is it a collectible issue boils down to the following -

Each product is decided on a case by case basis, so contact trading standards for advice specific to you. They will also take your details.

There are guidelines for grey area products and if trading standards decide your product falls into this category you will have to follow them. Things like material used is a luxury material, price is higher, product is only sold in places visited by adults (so careful listing). Another important things is the label “This is not a toy” which should be on the product if possible. You MUST avoid confusing labels like “not suitable for under 3’s” as these lables are found on toys.

If your product involves using recycled materials it might not be able to be CE marked.

It is a crime to apply the CE mark to products not suitable for it.

However ALL products made and sold should follow general safety product regulations unless specific regs supersede them (like CE marking). This means testing for safety, risk assessments and keeping records of purchases and sales (in the case of sales usually branding your product allows purchasers to trace you) and you must keep these records for ten years. The emphasis is not on generating unnecessary paper work but on streamlining the process, so for example my hoop art really does not pose much of a risk so after a quick test to make sure no loose parts I would not feel I needed to fill out risk assessments.

You must also consider your packaging and label any dangerous parts (eg suffocation risk, keep away from children)

SOOO, I have everything I need. I am going to affix the haggis to small wooden bases as this helps clarify they are not toys and also give me a place to stick a permanent not a toy sign. I wont use them as door stops as that puts them close to vulnerable children. I will probably wait a while before doing it all, maybe set up a different shop so I can keep it straight. At the end of the day these things were never meant to be my main item and I set them up in a naive sort of it’ll be like a rag doll thing. So I am not prepared to spend more money and time making them safe than I need to. It might be different for others.

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I CE tested my sock monkeys. I subscribed to a facebook co-operative which had it’s own testing done on popular brands of socks, threads and materials to make soft toys. Some brands also have certificates on their sites (useful for those who make soft toys from popular materials or knit/crochet using common brands). I then filled in a conformance pack bought from here http://www.conformance.co.uk/adirectives/doku.php?id=handmadetoys - that site also mentions the facebook group. The testing was very easy, the hardest bit is getting the materials certificates.

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Yes, my trading standards person gave me links to all those places and I nearly bought the pack simply to provide me with a framework for my testing and risk assessments, though I would ultimately be unable to CE mark due to use of recycled materials etc. I decided the cost (£25 not that much) was too much for sideline items. BUT for future, I may make further haggis using felted tweed (ie washed in a hot machine) and proper stuffing, eyes etc. I would love to be able sell real, honest to goodness toys. I have a five year old and an eight year old and seeing them playing with toys does inspire me. Of course, even felted I would have to try to get the material certified, so it’s an in the future project! I will go have a look at your sock monkeys. :slight_smile:

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all your research & comments have been * really * helpful to me, thankyou @Tweedsnipsnbits & everyone - lots to think about.

i’ve been so reticent about the CE thing, because … because …
because i’m an embroiderer not a toymaker.
and i have absolutely no interest in being a toymaker.

so following advice from this thread, i think i’ve come up with some cool solutions that’ll allow me to continue selling my “pocket size” zombies which i’d stopped making “in case of children” :slight_smile:

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