Sock monkeys, rabbits, turtles, owls -- the possibilities for handmade sock animals are endless. Crafters have many more options for sock animal designs than those of previous years. While the original concepts, techniques and materials used for sock animal making are still relevant for crafters, updated sock fabrics and styles provide crafters with a plethora of choices for making an array of animals. The invention of the hot-glue gun has laid the ground work for no-sew projects, while the Internet has opened the door for crafters to discover images of sock creatures they might have never even considered in the past. Crafters of all skill levels can make fanciful sock creations.
Types of Socks
Most patterns recommend sock choices, but you’re never limited to a pattern’s recommendations if you use socks that complement your creations. Make furry animals with woolen or fuzzy socks, or choose cotton polyester socks to create hairless animals. Brightly colored cotton or polyester ankle socks work for stuffed creatures such as turtles or owls. Use large fuzzy or wool socks for big sock animals such as rabbits or cats. New socks work well for foundational materials, but when you only have one old sock, revamp it into a new creation.
Cotton fiberfill stuffing is the most common stuffing used in sock animal creations, but beans, rice and shredded paper also work in a pinch. Insert stuffing into the smaller areas of the creature first, and add more stuffing to finish filling the animal. You can also add loose stuffing to a nylon stocking and then insert the entire stocking to keep the loose fill from going everywhere. Creatures stuffed with cotton fiberfill retain their shape, while creations stuffed with beans, rice or shredded paper are much more flexible. If you use beans, rice or shredded paper, add them to a sandwich baggie to hold the stuffing contents. This prevents the contents from getting wet and ruining your animal, as well as keeping the stuffing material from leaving bumpy spots on the finished project.
No-Sew Sock Animals
Some animal designs lend themselves to single socks that require no sewing. Many of these creations use small rubber bands to create section pieces such as heads, arms, legs or tails. A hot-glue gun can secure embellishments such as felt eyes, button eyes or costume pieces to the sock creature. A simple sock project starts with an octopus created from the toe of a sock. Fill the toe with a stuffing material to create its round head. Wrap a rubber band around the area beneath the sock head and cut the remaining sock into eight sections for its legs. Decorate with buttons, bows, markers or self-adhesive sticky eyes.
Sewed Sock Animals
Sewed sock animals appear more elaborate and difficult to make than no-sew creatures, but inexperienced crafters can complete the projects following systematic steps and patterns. Sock monkeys, frogs and rabbits are traditional sewed sock animal projects. Face features are typically created out of buttons, embroidery floss or paint pens. For a cute rabbit, set a sock on a table with the heel facing upward. Cut the ankle portion into three sections, and then cut the center section away, leaving two equal-sized tabs for rabbit ears. Cut the center section of the toe away and fold the sock inside out. Sew the ear pieces together and the area between the ears. Stuff the sock animal and sew the bottom closed. Use embroidery floss to create the mouth section of the bunny, and sew two buttons on the fabric for eyes.
Susan Elliott teaches studio art and creative writing to home schooled students. She is a graduate of Northwest Arkansas Community College and the Memphis School of Preaching Student Wives Program. She has written for Christian Woman Magazine and Virtuous Magazine. When she's not writing, she is painting or making costumes.