Toy making as a hobby can suddenly get very serious when it comes to items being sold. Many toy makers aren’t yet aware of what’s needed to sell toys. When a toy maker does find out, it can be very overwhelming and scary. But worry not! As the collective we aim to support and help toy makers through the tricky bit so they can go on to sell their beautiful toys!
CE marking – What is it?
The CE mark is a mark applied to all toys sold within the EU, It is the toy’s passport mark to say that it conforms to the standards needed to be sold. Its not a quality mark, or a certification, its just a mark to say that the toy meets the minimum standards set out in the EN71 (the regulations for toys)
Every toy needs one to be sold legally in the EU but the CE mark is also applied to many other things like medical and electrical devices, as they too need to pass standards before they can be sold (under different rules and tests of course!)
You can read more about CE marking and testing:
but I just want to sell my toys! What do I need to do?
Once you’ve come up with your toy design, to apply the CE mark it will need to be tested to the EN71 standards.
This can be done in two ways: being sent to a lab to do it for you (can be expensive, especially if you have more than one design) or self certification.
Self certification is where you put your toy through a series of tests yourself to be sure it fits the regulations. The regulations can sometimes be found in your city library, so it may be helpful to seek them out there, but as the collective we can help with self certification, we have access to the regulations to consult from as part of your membership. We also have a helpful CE Marking Guide (membership not needed to use) to work through complete with paperwork and declaration of conformity.
There are three categories of testing a soft toy needs to pass:
Chemical: All your fabrics/materials need to conform to the chemical testing standards. These are 18 different heavy metals. Some manufacturers test for you (but they don’t have to!) we have a list of manufacturers in our free stuff section. As the collective this is part of our job, we test fabrics to give a wide range of materials for toy makers voted by toy makers. For anything we haven’t tested, you could use a lab(costs around £45-60 per sample).
There are different categories depending on the material type, such as art materials (categories I or II) or fabrics (category III) for example.
To be sure your toy is up to the intense play it could have, these tests are based on children’s ability to destroy a loved toy. 😉
Firstly you need to check lengths of cord, loops and toy size to check it’s not got any hazards like strangulation or choking risks.
Physical tests on soft toys are done by hanging weights from toys with clamps, poking them with spoons (ok, ok, spoon handles) and putting into small cylinders to see if they are too small to be safe (ie. a chocking hazard).
Your toy is then washed and retested (this can be on a second test sample!)
To see how fast a toy burns, and to be sure a child has time to drop a burning toy, you need to burn a toy sample, unwashed and then washed. This sounds terrifying, but it turns out to be curiously fun most of the time. By working out the spread of flame, you can tell if the toy passes or fails the testing.
This obviously needs to be done in a safe way, and in a windless environment. Here’s part of a flammability video of my own toys:
Once you’ve completed all the tests, you do a write up of it all (kind of like a science lesson at school ;)) we have a handy pack for this which you can just fill in on your computer, including handy check lists, risk assessments, and a final declaration of conformity, which is a certificate stating that your toy meets the regulations. There’s no need to get anyone to look over this, its just for you to keep just in case its ever needed.
Don’t forget your labelling!
Your toys will need to be sold with labels with that hard earned CE mark, traceability details, and washing instructions.
Why CE mark?
First of all to be legal. Selling toys without testing and marking could result is a large fine or prison sentence!
However, its so worth it to say ‘yes! yes it is CE marked!’ when someone asks, and the sense of pride from it is huge. You’ll know for sure your toy won’t accidentally hurt a child, or fall apart, and you’ll also be joining a great network of CE marked toy makers and have the knowledge to help others, as well as meet new customers this way too!
So come on in and join us on your CE marking journey! We’re here to help you!