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Toy Snakes – free beginner sewing pattern

Stuffed Toy Snakes - a free easy sewing tutorial from Shiny Happy World

These stuffed toy snakes are one of my most popular free patterns! They’re lots of fun for all ages to make.

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.

Of course.

She played with it all the time so I finally made a toy snake just for her – bright and colorful, with button eyes and a forked tongue, and filled with plastic pellets instead of expensive metal shot.

pink and yellow beanbag snake with yellow button eyes

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.”

How true.

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 toy 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 skill in more detail.

Toy Snake Pattern

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)

Step 1

Cut two rectangles of fabric, each 2 inches x 9 inches. Click here if you want to learn how to use rotary cutting tools.

Step 2

Sew the eyes in place, with the centers approximately ­1/2 inch in from the cut edge of the fabric.

green snake fabric with black button eyes

This post has some tips about getting different looks from the way you place the button holes.

Step 3

Cut the ribbon 1 1/2 inches long and snip a fork into one end.

red ribbon tongue with forked end -  cut for beanbag snake

If the ribbon seems like it’s going to fray, use a bit of Fray Check or clear nail polish on the forked end.

Step 4

Pin the ribbon in place with the flat edge lined up with the cut edge of the fabric and centered between the eyes.

pin the tongue in place

Step 5

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.

green fabric skinny rectangles pinned together

Step 6

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.

inside out fabric snake in progress - clip the corners after sewing

Watch this video for help sewing straight lines and turning corners. Clip the corners up to, but not into, your stitching.

Step 7

Gently (don’t tear off the buttons!) turn the snake right side out and use a stick to poke out the corners.

green fabric snake - waiting for stuffing

Step 8

Fold in the raw edges of the tail and press in place.

fold in the raw edges of the tail and press

Step 9

Fill the toy snake with up to 3 tablespoons of plastic pellets.

beanbag snake filled with plastic pellets

Don’t overfill him! He’ll end up stiff instead of bendy and fun.

Step 10

Sew up the opening using the whipstitch or ladder stitch.

green rectangle closed with ladder stitch

Now make a bunch more!

Three finished toy snakes made with a free pattern from Shiny Happy World

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. 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.

Teach your kid how to use a sewing machine and make these super fun stuffed snake toys!

Have fun making these easy stuffed toy snakes! And happy sewing!

Applique Wendi (with fabulous hat)

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.


  1. So cute! I will have to make one and fill it with stuffing and a squeaker for my doggy 🙂

    • Great idea! Love these projects! I just subscribed!!!

  2. Fun! If you do that you might want to make it a little bigger. I also recommend using a really string fabric (like denim) and double sew all the seams.

    You should share the finished project! I bet people would love to see it.

  3. Sarahbobera SAYS...

    I make my snakes a little longer and add a piece of elastic inside through the length so it can coil up! Stuff loosely, pull the elastic from head to tail, stuff firmly, tug elastic and tack it in place, then stitch it up! Boing boing!

    • wendigratz SAYS...

      That’s brilliant! Will you send a photo?

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  6. Loretta Scott SAYS...

    really cute, I’m going to make one of these to slip into my grandson’s pocket while we are at his sister’s ball game. Can’t wait to see his face 🙂 thanks for a nice freebee I like to try out a freebee before buying so that I get an idea of how the instructions are. Very easy to understand, I’ll be a customer all your patterns are great ( and fun)

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  8. Kathy Humann SAYS...

    I am going to make these as kitty toys, adding a bit of catnip to the stuffing! The tongue is extra added fun. I may leave off the buttons if I think they would chew them off, but could embroider some eyes pretty easily. I may also make some for shelter kitties with my scraps!

    • Poppy SAYS...

      Yes! Do it for the shelter kitties too!

  9. McCartney SAYS...

    Thanks so much! this pattern is amazing!