I picked up this craft booklet, circa 1966, a few months ago at a church rummage sale and got inspired to update one of its projects. The yarn octopus has long been a classic toy to make for children, and I’ve transformed it into an even easier, and perhaps more cuddly, no-sew fleece octopus!
According to my 8-year-old, her fleece octopus is “the cutest thing ever.”
-16″ x 16″ piece of fleece
-styrofoam ball 3″ in diameter
-3/4″ wide ribbon
– felt scraps in white, gray, and black
-8″ x 8″ piece of quilting cotton for the bandana
-string (not pictured)
1. Place the foam ball in the center of the fleece square and wrap it. Get a sense of how long the fringe in the legs will be. Unwrap the ball and set it aside.
2. Cut away a roughly 5″ x 5″ square from each corner of the fleece (this doesn’t have to be perfect). Cut 6 snips along the remaining edges. The snips are about 5″ in length, but don’t have to be very neat or very exact, don’t worry!
3. Place the ball back in the center of the fleece and wrap it up. Tie it tightly in a double knot at the neck with some string. Pull the fleece taught to smooth out the wrinkles.
4. To make a leg, braid three fringes together and tie off the end with a ribbon tied in a bow. (We held the head between our feet while we braided!) Continue until you have 8 legs.
5. Trim the ends of each leg so that they are neat and even.
6. Cut circles from the white felt for eyes. Cut slightly smaller circles from grey felt, and even smaller circles from black felt. Layer the eyes and glue them to one another, and then to the head.
7. Embroider a mouth with split stitch.
8. Optional: Hem an 8″ x 8″ square of matching fabric to make a bandanna.
Put the octopus on your head and smile!
This is one of the cutest idea I saw on a blog !!
Thanks for sharing, I am so bad at sewing, this is made for me.
(Hope there is not much mistakes in my message, as I am French)
Seanna Lea says
This is super cute and looks very fast. I love it and have friends with children still at the right age.
So cute! I had an old school yarn version as a kid. Nice update!
Hey…If you made one out of terry cloth and replaced the styrofoam ball with some kind of spongey ball, you could dunk them in a bucket of water and throw them at each other on a hot day! Octopus fight! 🙂
I had totob use balls that were squishy because they were out of styrofoam. It makes them more cuddlie!
That is an awesome idea. I can just see the water dripping down Roxanne's face with a wet octopus on her head.
Felted Chicken says
Fantastic! I have to make a octopus/squid stuffed animal & have been thinking about how to do it. Definitely inspiring & gives me something to think about!
Use a round ball of soap and terry cloth for a great all in one kids bath toy!
Hey Abby, It’s fun to see your modern take on a 60s stuffed toy! Verrrry cute! : )
So fun and quick too. I’ll make one for my niece.
I love this! I will have to make one for my daughter I was thinking I could replace the foam ball with stuffing for a stuffed animal.
Amie Plumley says
Perfect for my sewing club as well as kindergarten class. We like to make an octopus out of a sock, but this is much, much cuter!
Completely brilliant, Abby! I will definitely be teaching my borrowed children how to make their own! thank you!
Yay, so glad to hear that, Pam!
I absolutely love your blog. It is so inspiring to learn all the different things you talk about. I found you from another website that had an interview with you and several other bloggers, that was so interesting. Keep up the good work! We are out here reading.
fabienne alias prunille says
Thank’s from France, j’aime beaucoup cette petite pieuvre. Bravo.
Irma Rainer says
Simple yet very creative. Thank you for sharing.
Rosemary Lawler says
Wow. they look great. Very simple to do.
Oh my goodness!! I remember making one something like this when I was a young teen. I don’t think it looked this nice, but I had fun making it. Makes me want to try again! So cute!! I’m enjoying reading your blog…got here through Craft Gossip. 🙂
Thanks, Carmen, and welcome!
Very cute, but I noticed something in the instructions. Why would you embroider the mouth after it’s been put together (step 7)? I would do it at step 2 1/2. After placing the ball and figuring out where the face would be, draw mouth with a pencil and embroider with a split stitch. Otherwise (at step 7), I would use fabric paint to draw the mouth and make it 100% no sew.
Sure, Roberta, go for it! There is no one way to make something. If you’d prefer to embroider the mouth early on, perfect. And if you’d rather have it be a totally no-sew project, choose fabric paint! The point is to make something you like and have fun in the process.
Tina H. says
Having a lot of fun with these! My kids (nine and eleven) and I are making some for the little cousins. As was said above, this is GREAT no-sew project! We’re using dimensional fabric paint for both the smile and the irises of the eyes.
I do have a question though – how did you affix the bandana? Did you tie it first and then place and glue it? That part seems so simple and yet it’s giving me the fussies. 😀
Abby Glassenberg says
That’s terrific, Tina! I did firmly tie the bandana in place first. If you want to glue it on, put some glue on a toothpick. Pick up the bandana a bit and apply the glue to the underside. Then let it fall back into place. I hope that helps!
it’s a great idea, thank you for sharing) yesterday made a couple of them for my kids, 4 and 9 y.o. they just love them – take them to the school and kindergarten, to the bed and play with them of course 🙂
going out to get fleece right now! Grand-nephew loves anything nautical! How about using a pouf (from the Dollar store) for the head?? so that you can put it right in the bath? hmmmm
That’s a fun idea! You could use terry cloth instead of fleece, too.
Can this be done out of an old t-shirt? I am thinking of doing this project in the classroom but, not sure in the dimensions in the .pdf doc would need to be altered. 🙂
Yes, a t-shirt would also work. I would just experiment first.
We made 12 of these while on Brownie camp. The girls loved them! Took a photo but cannot share it here:(
Oh yay! Could you post it to my Facebook page? http://www.facebook.com/abbyglassenbergdesign
How many sides of the fleece do you cut?
We’re a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community.
Your website provided us with helpful information to work on. You’ve performed a formidable process and our entire
group shall be thankful too you.
I made three of these octopus’ today. Super cute!
Hi Abby, fantastic ! When I saw the octopus I immediately thought about my refugees kids class. They don’t have (m)any soft toys at home. Only in class they enjoy them. I can’t wait to make them all an octopus. They will LOVE it and we all have big fun. THANKS !
That’s great, Matty!