How To Make A Classic Sock Monkey
How to Make a Sock Monkey
This classic, goofy sock toy has been a favorite of children and adults for years. Making something this popular may sound like a daunting task, but it is actually quite easy. To make a sock monkey of your own, follow these steps.
Making the Legs
Find two clean socks.The best ones will be ones with heels and toes in contrasting colors to the rest of the sock. One sock will be used to make the body, legs, and head, and the other will used to make the arms, tail, face, and ears.
- These monkeys were traditionally made with “Rockford Red Heel Socks.” If you have striped socks, those work well, too. If your socks have cuffs, be sure to undo the seam carefully; the cuff length is needed for the length of the monkey.
Turn both socks inside-out.
Lay one sock with the heel flat down.You may have to flatten the sock against its natural crease to make this happen. If it's not cooperating, grab an iron and give it a quick once-over
Draw a center line on the sock from the toe to approximately one inch from the colored heel.This will become the split in the monkey’s legs. Again, note that the heel is actually hidden beneath the sock at this point, so you may have to flip it over briefly to double-check your positioning.
- Erasable fabric marker works best for drawing. Make sure before you cut that your line is indeed on the halfway mark -- a monkey with one fat leg and one skinny leg is not a happy monkey.
With the sock still folded flat, sew up one side of your marked line and back down the other.Leave approximately 1/4 inch (.6 cm) between the line and each of your seams.
Cut along the line between your two seams.The monkey’s legs and colored feet will now be clearly visible.
Making the Body and Head
Turn the sock right-side out and stuff the entire thing.Polyfill stuffing is available at all craft supply stores. The upper half of the sock will become the torso and head.
- The amount of stuffing is up to you. How firm do you want your monkey? If the sock is thin, you may want to err on the side of under stuffing, as overstuffing it may cause it to stretch.
Sew the head and/or hat.If your sock opening is the same color as the body of the sock, just make a nice rounded head and stitch it shut. If it is a contrasting color, you will need to decide if you want to cut it off (making a shorter body for the monkey) and make the head as usual or use the excess coloring as a "hat" by not stuffing the last inch or two and cinching the opening into a cone shape.
- To make the head: Stitch around the neck with quarter inch stitches. Use sturdy thread such as embroidery floss. Pull the stitches snugly until you get the size neck you want and knot the ends. Round out the head area with stuffing as desired and stitch the top opening shut.
If you are making a hat, start working with the cuff.Gather the tip with large stitches and snug/cinch them closed. Fold the raw edges to the center and tuck inside. Then, stitch the opening closed. Winter ready!
Making the Arms, Tail, and Ears
Cut the second sock into sections as shown.Though the pattern is only drawn on the top, make sure to cut through both layers. For a more detailed pattern, see the link in the Sources and Citations section.
Fold both arm pieces in half lengthwise.Then sew up the open side in a gentle arc around the dark ends; the dark ends will become the paws and the opposites (open ends) are where the arm will be stuffed and then attached to the body.
- Keep all of these sections open-ended. Make sure they're turned inside-out as you work! If they're not, all your seams will be very, very rough.
Fold the tailpiece in half lengthwise.Then sew up the open side and in a gentle arc around the dark end as you did with the arms; the dark end will become the tip of the tail and the opposite, open end is where the tail will be stuffed and attached to the body.
Fold each ear in half and cut across the crease.Then, sew in a gentle arc following the rounded sides, leaving the flat side open. The opening is where you will stuff each ear and then attach it to the body. Noticing a pattern?
- If you'd like, you can then fold the earsagain, forming a vertical line down the middle of the ear (giving it depth like a real ear has). Basically, pinch the edge you just sewed in and bring the two points together. Slip stitch the two sides together.
For now, do nothing with the muzzle (formerly the heel).That part's saved for later.
Flip the sewn pieces right-side out and stuff them.You should now have two arms, two ears, a tail, and an unsewn, unstuffed nose.
- The tail may prove to be a bit of a problem. You could try to stuff it using regular polyfill stuffing and a pencil to poke it through, or you could use batting or part of an aquarium filter. Both the batting and the filter are a bit firmer and will create a more uniform-looking tail in the long run.
Attach the tail to the rump.Position it carefully and slip stitch it all the way around.
Attach the arms to either side of the body.You may want them a little higher than your natural inclination says; this will give your sock a more monkey-like posture.
Assembling the Face and Ears
Trim away the edges of the heel piece if necessary.Since this will form the muzzle, try to make sure the piece of fabric is uniform in color. Note that, since the outermost edges will be covered, you do not have to make them perfect.
Fold the bottom of the muzzle under and sew it to the bottom of the monkey's chin.Make sure no raw edges are visible along the bottom, but leave the top open for now.
Add stuffing to make the muzzle puff out.You may want to refer to existing images of sock monkeys as to how this should look. The best sock monkeys seem to have a muzzle that puffs out at nearly a 90º angle.
Fold the raw edge under and stitch the top edge to the face.The muzzle should take up a large amount of the area for the head -- don't worry about needing space for the rest of his features.
- Go ahead, give your monkey a mouth! Along the toe line of the muzzle (which should be dead center) branch stitch in a contrasting color of thread.
- If you'd like nostrils, simply embroider two small rectangles above the mouth about 1" (2.5 cm) apart.
Fold the raw edges of each ear to the inside and stitch them closed.Stitch the completed ears to the sides of the head. They should be in line with where the eyes will be, just above the muzzle. Make sure they stick out from the front!
Add button eyes.To give your monkey whites on the outside of his eyes, glue or sew the buttons onto a bit of white felt. Then, with thread of a contrasting color, sew on the felt just above the muzzle. You now have an adorable sock monkey!
- For a non-demonic looking monkey, stick to black buttons. The size you need depends on the size of your monkey. And if you're giving it to a child, either avoid the buttons entirely or make sure they're sewn onreally well !
QuestionHow big are the ears?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe size varies depending on the size of your monkey, but for a normal sock size, about an inch and a half would do. You do need to judge the size of the ears in proportion to the size of the monkey, so making a paper template first can be helpful for getting the right idea (pin the paper ears on, stand back and decide how they look size-wise).Thanks!
QuestionShould I decorate the muzzle before I stuff the monkey?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt would be best to do it before, but you could do it after to get the placing right.Thanks!
QuestionCan I make a monkey with ankle socks?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, but it will be a very short little fellow.Thanks!
QuestionCan I use this template on knee highs?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, you can. You monkey may end up taller, however. You can also trim the knee highs down to regular sock size, and use the excess fabric to make outfits and accessories for your monkey.Thanks!
QuestionDo the socks have to have different colored heels?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo. I just finished one without different colored heels and it looks fine to me.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I make a nose?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNormally monkeys don't really have noses, so the muzzle is sort of their nose. You could cut out a triangle of scrap material if desired though.Thanks!
QuestionCan I use cotton to fill it up?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. Any light-weight, fluffy material will work fine.Thanks!
QuestionShould I do any decorations on the monkey's body before or after I have stuffed it?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt will generally be easier to decorate the monkey's body before you stuff him.Thanks!
QuestionIs the sock monkey supposed to look odd?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt's a monkey made out of a pair of socks, it's supposed to be more humorous than realistic.Thanks!
QuestionCan I use wool inside of the monkey?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes! Many budget crafters use wool. Personally, I use cotton balls or scraps of fabric.Thanks!
To make a sock monkey, turn a sock inside out and draw a line down the middle to create the monkey's legs. Then, sew up one side of the marked line and back down the other before cutting along the line. For the body, turn the sock right-side out and stuff it. Next, make a rounded head at the sock opening and stitch it shut. For the arms, legs, and tail, cut the second sock into sections and sew them together. Finally, stuff the arms, legs, and tail before sewing them to the body.
- Important:when stuffing the sock monkey,use small pieces of stuffing. Using bigger pieces may be quicker, but the results aren't satisfying at all. The project will come out lumpy and, well, ugly. Smaller pieces leave a smooth finish. It may help to use theeraserend of a pencil togentlypush stuffing into place.
- To add personality to your monkey you can cut out a red heart and put it in your monkey's chest before you sew it up.
- You can use fabric glue to add the eyes instead of sewing them on.
- Further ideas:
- Sew a tiny red vest for the monkey with buttons down the front to make him/her look like an organ grinder's monkey.
- Embroider a mouth line on the nose or eyebrows for added expression.
- Cinch elbows, knees, wrists and ankles for the monkey using the same technique as for the neck.
- Add a pom pom to the hat for a winter monkey, or a flower to the hat for a spring monkey, etc.
- Sew a fabric banana into the monkey's hand.
- Sew a tiny red heart on the monkey's chest.
- Knit a scarf for more winter fun.
- If you don't have stuffing, you can use old pieces of t-shirts, crushed and dried flower petal, used dryer sheets, tissue paper, yarn, grass or rice.
- If you don't have any buttons, you could use googly eyes instead.
- Bright colored socks work well. Also spots and stripes are great.
- Eyes can also be drawn onto your monkey. Embroidery is another option.
- If you're giving the sock monkey to a child under three years old, don't use buttons for the eyes. If they come loose, they could end up in the child's mouth. Instead, embroider the eyes on, use child-safe doll/cat eyes, or use nontoxic fabric paint or markers to draw the eyes or use felt eyes.
- Use only socks you have permission to cut up.
- Scissors and needles are sharp. Be careful when using them.
Things You'll Need
One pair of socks with contrasting colored heels and toes
Embroidery floss or yarn to match your sock
Sewing supplies: needles, sewing machine, scissors, etc.
A bright pen/marker to copy the pattern onto the socks
Two buttons for eyes (optional)
Extra fabric for additional details (optional)
Iron (if necessary)
Sources and Citations
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Video: DIY SOCK MONKEY - CHEAP AND EASY
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