I’ve recently been going through the kids’ clothes and clearing out the stuff that they have outgrown. Most of the items we pass along to friends and family with smaller kids, but, seeing how much my kids have been putting their socks on their hands just for fun lately, I decided to try making a sock puppet. It was a fun, quick project and the kids both love “Candy the Unicorn.” I’m sure there will be a boy puppet in production shortly!
- 2 socks
- embroidery floss
- tiny bit of polyfill
- hot glue gun with glue
- thin cardboard (cereal box)
- water soluble fabric marking pen
- I did a small amount of machine stitching, but if you don’t have a sewing machine you could easily hand stitch it
For this project I used 2 different socks.
One frilly ankle sock which made a really cute frilly base for the puppet, and one striped sock for the horn and the inside of the mouth.
I started by tracing the curve of the toe onto the thin cardboard. The cardboard will give structure to the inside of the mouth.
Measure the distance from toe to heel of the sock that will be the inside of the mouth so that you will know how long to make the cardboard inner mouth structure. I found that using the parts of the sock that naturally curve made it easier to glue it to the cardboard. Plus this measurement worked out just perfectly for little hands.
In this case (using 2T-3T socks) the measurement from toe to heel was 4 inches, so on the cardboard piece I measured half the distance (2 inches) from the curve to the fold line.
Fold the cardboard on the fold line and cut out the shape along the curved line (do not cut the fold line).
At this point I turned the mouth/horn sock inside out and straight stitched a long triangle out of the front ankle portion of the sock to make the horn of the unicorn. Once you stitch it, cut it off of the body of the sock. Trim the fabric close the the point of the horn to make it easier to turn. Turn the horn right side out and stuff with a tiny bit of polyfill. Turn the remainder of the sock right side out and fit the cardboard between the toe and the heel.
Make a small incision on the heel of the white sock (which will be the top of the head of the unicorn) to fit the horn through. Turn the sock inside out and poke the base of the horn out through the hole in the heel while the point of the horn is hidden inside the sock (see picture below). Use a straight stitch to sew the horn to the white sock, and at the same time sewing the hole of the white sock closed and securing the polyfill into the horn. Now that’s multitasking!
Fit the cutout cardboard into the toe of the sock that will be the head of the puppet and use it as a guide to slice open the toe of the sock (soon to be mouth of the puppet). I drew on nostrils and eyes with a water soluble fabric marking pen and embroidered them. I used a satin stitch for the nostrils and combination of satin and back stitches for the eyes. Buttons probably would have looked cute for eyes too, and would be less work and more uniform (unless of course you are a pro at embroidery. I am not, so our unicorn has character, and maybe a lazy eye.) I also added a mane using a rainbow of colored embroidery floss. I threaded all 6 strands of the floss through a needle, stitched it through (see needle stitching through top of puppet in the picture below) where I wanted it, made a knot and cut the ends off about 1.5 inches away from the knot. I made 2 rows of 5 knots for each color and felt it was a sufficient amount for the mane. The rows probably could have been spaced out a little bit more to take up more space down the length of the sock and still look good. Or you can just keep adding more rows the whole way down, but it does start to get a bit tedious.
Next comes the hot glue assembly of the puppet! First hot glue the inner mouth fabric to the valley side of the folded cardboard. Work in small sections to get the best bond. Turn the mouth piece over and glue down the flap on the backside. Finally, line the outside edge of the lips up with the inside mouth piece and glue them together right at the edge (do not glue the entire piece down, you need to leave room for little fingers to get in there!)
The best part is watching the kids enjoy their new, custom sock puppet!