One of the biggest shocks which come with CE Marking is discovering that you’re no longer free to use any fabric/materials you like. Its horribly frustrating and disappointing, especially when you have a stash of fabric previously bought. Some people are using up-cycled fabrics which is particularly hard as toys need to be made with all new materials.
Toys need to be made with new materials.
All materials must be compliant to EN71-3
All is not completely lost though with your stash if you can identify the brands of the materials you have, either on packaging or on the selvage of fabrics (or if no other way by google!)
Once you have checked on what brands you have, you can email the manufacturer to see if they have certificates to cover the fabrics. These are usually obtained by the manufacturer (the maker of the fabric) rather than the supplier(the shop you buy from.) Some suppliers can be helpful though , so they may be your first port of call as occasionally specialist suppliers test their materials to help their customers.
Its important to note manufacturers are not legally obliged to test their fabrics/yarns as its the toy maker’s responsibility, however some do. We have a few listed in our free resources section, but there may be more to be discovered – and the more they are asked, the more likely they’ll think its a good idea.
To ask for certificates you may want to write something like:
I’m interested in using your fabrics for toy making purposes. To do this I need to prove compliance for EN71-3, do you have any certification that I could use in my technical file to prove this? NOTE: Check what the most recent EN71-3 harmonised standard is and specify this standard.
What if there is no certificates available?
Much of the time you’ll either get a response that says no, we don’t need to test for this, have a REACH/OEKOTEX certificate, or perhaps a statement of compliance which is not helpful without chemical levels.
You have three options
1. Change materials to a compliant brand – Find another brand with ready made certificates (check out free resources section)
2. Send materials to a lab – lab testing materials costs £55 per sample, with some samples need chromium verification costing a further £75 . You’d need this for every brand, and if a plain colours rather than printed, at least four colours – its a pricey way to work, but sometimes its necessary
3. Join the collective to purchase certificates. We have the largest collection of certificates for materials including cottons, yarns, fleece, plush, jersey, trims, print your own design, buttons,snaps, and wooden pegs and additions such as teething rings (and more!). You can use our certificates with ‘due diligence’ to cover brands of fabric, as we test a selection of colours/prints to cover the colours used.
Its important to be aware that we haven’t tested every fabric/yarn/trim in existence, so you still may need to switch materials, however with the range we have it gives you lots of options.
What about other tests?
Every so often a fabric comes up which fails flammability; we had a poly cotton fail flammability for dressing up (disguise toys) last year. Flammability in soft toys can often be swayed to pass by the type of stuffing/shape which is why it is tested on a completed toy.
Strength tests again can be swayed by stitch types, lining, shape etc so the majority of fabrics tested will pass design depending as long as they’re not obviously delicate – which you likely wouldn’t choose for a toy anyway.
hopefully this is helpful on your material choosing journey! good luck!