Years ago I made a book weight – a simple tube of fabric filled with heavy metal pellets.
It was designed to hold a book open, but my daughter immediately saw it as a toy.
She played with it all the time so I finally made one just for her – bright and colorful, with button eyes and a forked tongue, and filled with plastic pellets instead of expensive metal shot.
She still has that original snake. And she still plays with him all the time. Her response when I asked her about him was, “Well, you never know when you’re going to need a snake.”
Jo helped me make some modifications to the original design. The seams are on the inside now “to make him more smooth and snakelike.” The tongue is made of ribbon so it’s less likely to tear away. I asked her about rounding the head and tail to make him (somewhat) more realistic and got a resounding thumbs down. Okay then. Square-headed snake it is.
And so I bring you the new and improved – and FREE – Snake Charmers. These toy snakes are quick and easy to stitch up, small enough to fit in a pocket, and have a pleasing drapability (if you don’t fill them too full). They’re a good size to interact with action figures and all kinds of dolls. They’re surprisingly versatile little guys who make their way into all kinds of situations. I hope you enjoy them!
Do make more than one. When I told Jo she could have all the samples I made her response was, “Cool! Now I can have an invading horde attack my American Girl dolls.”
Cool indeed. 🙂
The links in the pattern all go to video tutorials that show that step in more detail.
Materials needed for each snake. . .
- scraps of fabric - I use different prints for the top and the belly
- two small buttons (1/4 - 3/8 inch)
- scrap of red ribbon (1/4 or 3/8 inch wide)
- plastic pellets for stuffing (I like Fairfield brand Poly Pellets)
Cut two rectangles of fabric, each 2 inches x 9 inches. Click here if you want to learn how to use rotary cutting tools.
Sew the eyes in place, with the centers approximately 1/2 inch in from the cut edge of the fabric.
Cut the ribbon 1 1/2 inches long and snip a fork into one end.
If the ribbon seems like it’s going to fray, use a bit of Fray Check or clear nail polish on the forked end.
Pin the ribbon in place with the flat edge lined up with the cut edge of the fabric and centered between the eyes.
Layer the belly piece of the snake face down over the top. Pin the layers together, sandwiching the ribbon tongue between them. Leave the tail open for filling.
Leaving the tail end unstitched, sew around the other three sides of the snake. Use 1/4 inch seam allowance. Don’t forget to backstitch at the beginning and end of all your stitching.
Watch this video for help sewing straight lines and turning corners. Clip the corners up to, but not into, your stitching.
Gently (don’t tear off the buttons!) turn the snake right side out and use a stick to poke out the corners.
Fold in the raw edges of the tail and press in place.
Fill the snake with up to 3 tablespoons of plastic pellets.
Don’t overfill him! He’ll end up stiff instead of bendy and fun.
Now make a bunch more!
Toy snakes (like real ones) love to gather in packs. You’ve seen Indiana Jones, right?
Extra Bonus Sewing Skills! I used this pattern in a very cool project over on Sew, Mama, Sew. You can use your sewing machine to decorate the fabric you use to make your snakes! It’s a great way for beginners to practice their sewing machine skills and make something extra cool at the same time. My daughter Jo (age 11 at the time) shows you how to make all those slithery snakes in this video.
Have fun making these easy stuffed toy snakes! And happy sewing!
Edit – Over on Flickr, Curlysue7795 commented on the fabrics I chose, and that reminded me that I meant to mention that in the post. For these snakes I chose fabrics that had wiggly stripes on them, and I centered the stripe so it ran down the backs of the snakes. You certainly don’t have to do this, but I think it’s a nice effect.