Saturday, July 15, 2023

No-Sew Sock Animals - Family Craft Program


No-Sew sock animals

Last summer was my first SRP as the person in charge of planning the whole thing (and executing most of it), and though it was successful, I realized two things: (1) This community wanted and needed more family/all-ages programming, and (2) this did not include family movie days or family games days. So this year I added some family craft programs in addition to the big family events (paid performers, free mobile dairy classroom, and free truck event).

This "No-Sew Sock Animal" program was an easy, low-prep program, and turned out to be a huge hit with patrons. You only need a few supplies, and the only prep is to make a few examples, taking step-by-step photos, and putting together a sheet with step-by-step photos for participants to refer to (if you have time, include instructions, but I didn't, and no one had any trouble following just the photos).


  • Socks of various types, sizes, and patterns (I had fuzzy crew socks, brightly patterned knee socks, and some plain white crew socks I found, apparently leftover from some long-past program)
  • Polyfill stuffing (about 3 pillow-sized bags made about 50 animals) and/or rice (polyfill is cheaper & less messy)
  • elastic bands, rubber bands, twine, or yarn (I prefer the smaller elastic bands)
  • Sharpies or fabric markers (we used Sharpies)
  • Tacky craft glue (we used fabric glue, and it did NOT work)
  • Optional Embellishments: googly eyes, buttons, ribbon, yarn, pipe cleaners
  • Sheets with step-by-step photos for 3-4 animals

I selected 3 different animals to provide examples and directions for that were all pretty easy to do: caterpillar (easiest, no cutting), "soctopus" (moderately easy, only one section, but more cutting), and a rabbit (moderately easy, minimal cutting). You can find directions for several others, including bears and puppies, online that are a little more involved if you have an older audience. Though my program was technically for all ages, I knew with it being in the morning I would likely not get any teens. (I used the boring white crew socks for my examples in order to save the fuzzy and patterned socks for the kids.)


No-Sew Sock Caterpillar

1. The patterned knee socks work really well for this one, though crew socks will also work. Pack the polyfill into the toe of the sock until it is as big as you want the head to be, making sure it is really packed and in a nice, round shape. Twist and tie off with elastic band or twine, making sure it is tight. 

2. Repeat, making each section slightly smaller than the one before, until you reach the end of the sock. 

3. If desired, twist a pipe-cleaner around the "neck" and shape into 'antennae'.

4. Use marker to add eyes and any other desired features, alternatively, glue on buttons or googly eyes.

Soctopus (yes, I included this just for the punny name 😉)

No-Sew sock animals, Soctopus

1. Pack polyfill into the toe of the sock, stretching the sock in order to make a large roundish head, and tie off. 

2. Trim off any excess length of sock if desired, then cut remining portion into eight tentacles.

3. Glue on (or draw) eyes, and draw any other facial features and details as desired.


Unlike the caterpillar and soctopus, this one starts by making the bottom first and head last, and a crew sock works better than the longer knee socks for this one, IMO.

1. Fill the lower part of sock to make the desired size body (some preferred a round body, some preferred a slightly elongate body, and some desired a long body), then tie off. In order for the bunny to be able to sit upright, you will to at least partially fill the body first with rice for weight.

2. Fill the next section with polyfill to make a nice, rounded head and tie off.

3. Cut any excess length off the remaining portion (for ears that stand up, you will need to keep them shorter), then cut an elongated "v" shape from the center of the sock to form the two ears. Longer ears will be more floppy, and shorter ears more upright.

4. Pinch off a small portion and band/tie off to make the tail.

5. Add eyes and facial features as desired.

Optional: Pinch and tie off small pieces for paws. (I did not include this step, thinking best to keep it simple, but I saw several trying to glue on cotton balls or pom-poms to represent paw, and that didn't work well at all).

How It Went

I had a pretty big turnout for this program, 25 kids and 16 adults, and they all seemed to really enjoy it! They didn't have any trouble following the step-by-step photos, and got finished much faster than I expected. Since they were finishing so quickly and I had plenty of socks, I told them they could go ahead and make two if they wanted, and most did. There were a lot of cute animals made, lots of happy kids, and I got several compliments both at the end of the program, and later on social media when I posted pictures from the program. Our patrons rarely comment on our social media posts, so when they do take the time to leave a favorable comment about a program, you know it was a hit!

Note: the quality of sock does matter. I found that thicker socks are better in most cases, and in many cases smaller kids' socks would probably have worked better than the adult sized socks I purchased. Thick, fuzzy socks were the best choice for the bunnies, and the caterpillar is definitely the easiest and most forgiving design to make. 

Other Resources & Ideas

1 comment:

  1. This looks like so much fun. I just saved myself a note to remember it for next summer since we are looking for a bunch of recycle style crafts.