Sock Monkeys: History and Information to make your own

Both children and adults love soft toys. There are an unlimited amount of soft toys to choose from such as stuffed bears, cats, dogs, elephants, foxes, giraffes, hippos, koala bears, lions and penguins. The monkey is also a hot favourite, but in recent years, the sock monkey has started to become more fashionable than the traditional, brown-furred stuffed monkey. Why? Well, they’re simply so much more charming!

A sock monkey is a stuffed toy made from socks in the shape of a monkey. Socks come in an unlimited array of colours and styles and so sock monkeys can take on any colour scheme they like. They have been popular throughout history although there have never been any guidelines which state a sock monkey must be made out of socks. Recently sock monkeys have become an icon for small children, due to a series of comic books and children’s books by American cartoonist Tony Millionaire. The comic books proved to be particularly popular and in 2001 Volume 3 won the coveted Eisner Award for Best Humour Publication.

Although the Sock Monkey comics portray Uncle Gabby and Mr. Crow, the monkeys in the comic cooks have distinct red lips and elongated bodies likened to that of a sausage. It is these humorous proportions which made them an instant hit with younger children.

Tony Millionaire can’t lay claim to have kick-started the sock monkey craze, though. Sock monkeys have been popular products since around the 1950′s when manufacturers sought cheap ways to produce soft toys which children will love.

Now, in 2013, sock monkeys have transformed in to something different to what Tony Millionaire envisioned.

There is an excellent website called Etsy where crafters can upload their wares and make money from sales. Sock monkey makers have been using Etsy and Facebook for a few years now to make money from their craft and it can prove to be very lucrative. It is however not an easy business area to get into as the monkeys have to be tested for EN71 by law and carry the CE mark as they are obviously intended for children and each monkey is different so lots of planning and testing is involved.

It seems stuffed monkeys will always be a top favourite among children given their cute, cuddly nature.

Making your own sock monkey

Due to their seemingly timeless appeal and the easily accessible materials they are made from, many people like to make their own sock monkeys rather than buy them. If you are a sock monkey fan and want to give a loved one a special handmade gift a sock monkey is a wonderful idea.

Guides to make your own sock monkey

There are a few guides which can be found online which will help you to make your own sock monkey.

Wikihow have a very simple guide which involves taking two socks, turning them inside out and stitching markings, Craft Passion have a nice, visual guide on how to make a sock monkey out of 1 pair of socks and Super Sock Monkey have a less in-depth guide which will help you to get a better idea of what is involved in the creation process. Wag Doll have a nice baby sock monkey guide that’s worth checking out too.

Sock monkey illustration graphics

As well as those guides linked to above, there are some stand alone graphics which will help you to plan out your own sock monkey creation too. How To Make A Monkey is a nice example and Heel Sock Monkey Toy is another. If you’d like to find more of these, search Google Images for ‘how to make a sock monkey’.

Also checkout this YouTube video on How To Make a Sock Monkey, which shows you step by step what to do

Choose your socks wisely

Deciding on what socks to use is the most important stage of making your own monkey. The design and colour of the socks will determine who the monkey is for or where it is going to go in your home.

Brighter, primary colours are perfect for children whilst darker, more conservative colours are good as decorations or ‘bed monkeys’. Although you can use an existing, well used pair of socks for your monkey, many people buy brand new socks. A good place to get high quality designer socks at low cost is TK Maxx or other High Street stores when they have a sale on! You can also buy stuffing and any other materials either online or from your local craft shop.

You will need a few pieces of equipment to get started

To make your sock monkey you will need a few pieces of equipment first. These include:

- 1 pair of socks (or two, in case you mess the first one up!).

- Stuffing for the monkey.

- Embroidery floss / yarn which matches your sock and will blend in.

- Basic sewing supplies; needles and scissors.

- Sewing machine – this depends on the type of monkey you make.

- Extra fabrics for additional detailing, such as pads and nose.

Once you have your materials, which will be pointed out to you in the guides above, you can set to work following the instructions that the guides lay out. Making a sock monkey is a fairly straight forward task although first timers will undoubtedly find it challenging. The beauty of crafting is that one you learn you never forget; in many ways it’s just like riding a bike!

Don’t forget to share your creation

Don’t forget to share your sock monkey with the world. http://www.craftforum.com have a whole community of people who share the same interests as you and there are plenty of Facebook groups to like too.

Who knows, if you have a knack for making sock monkeys you could turn it in to a fruitful little business in the future!

If you would prefer to buy a Sock Monkey already made then checkout these Facebook pages Sock Monkeys By Shelley and Little Cees Boutique and for Sock Teddies checkout Something Sockie

Do you love sock monkeys? Are you planning to make your own? Be sure to share your thoughts as well as any extra tips you have with Ready Teddy Go by commenting below.

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