No Sew T-Shirt Yarn Animals Tutorial

t-shirt yarn animals

A while back I cut up some tee shirts into tee shirt yarn and ever since I have wondered what I should / could do with it. I experimented with making some flowers and they turned out OK but I still had plenty of “yarn” left so this is my next use for t-shirt yarn.

It is a great project for kids to make or to make for kids. I remember my Grandmother teaching me how to make my first yarn octopus back when I was in  grade school. She was a first grade teacher and the first word that comes to mind to describe her is jolly. She made everything we did as kids funner. Sure she was an adult but she didn’t always have to act like one. Even when I was much older I would bring my high school friends over to hang out with her. One of my fondest memories of her is making a banana split and literally splitting our sides with giggles, laughs and snorts as we piled everything we could find onto our monstrous dessert.

Over the years I made several other versions of the yarn octopus but that first one always remained my favorite. You might be relieved to know that I no longer have that first creation but I do have a perfect picture of it in my head right down to the black multi faceted button eyes and dark green body. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am sure that I kept it well into my 30’s and possibly my 40’s.

Anyway after 50 plus years on the planet, I am happy to find that there is still a little bit of kid left in me. And I am ever grateful to my grandmother for showing me the joy of being a kid at any age. I enjoyed making this t-shirt yarn octopus and then experimenting to make the t-shirt yarn snake not only for the fun of making something but also for the blessing of the memories it brought me.

If you have never made a yarn octopus here is what you do.

Step 1 – Cut t-shirt into yarn. (For more details on making t-shirt yarn click here.)

T-shirt yarn octopus

Step 2 – Wrap the yarn into loops. The size and amount of wraps varies according the the size desired for the finished toy. For reference, I used a box with the total length of 28 inches around and I made 72 full loops.

Making a T-shirt yarn octopus

Step 3 – Tie of the loops on one end.  Leave long tails on the knotted yarn to be worked in with the other strands of yarn.

How to make a T-shirt yarn octopus

Step 4 – To make the head use a piece of excess t-shirt balled up and tied into the top of the yarn loops. Tighten and straighten the yarn as needed to cover the balled up piece of fabric evenly.

T-shirt yarn octopus tutorial

DIY T-shirt yarn octopus

Step 5 – Cut the loops at the bottom to leave loose strands.

Easy to make T-shirt yarn octopus

Step 6 – Divide the strands into eight equal parts, braid the divided parts into eight legs.

No sew T-shirt yarn octopus

Step 7 – Tie off the bottom of the braids and trim the loose ends.

Kid crafts T-shirt yarn octopus

Step 8 – Add eyes and other features as desired.

Make your own T-shirt yarn octopus

For the snake I knew I would need longer loops so I used two of my dinning room chairs which equaled 34 inches so my loops were roughly 68 inches around. I wrapped the colors in a stack with five wraps of orange at the top, 11 wraps of yellow in the middle and 26 wraps of green at the bottom.

How to make a t-shirt yarn snake

I tied off the top.

T-shirt yarn snake

And made the head a more elongated shape that the octopus head.

Kid crafts T-shirt yarn snake

Then I added five more section to make the body of the snake.

Easy to make T-shirt yarn snake

I had to tighten each section one strand at a time keeping the colors in line. This photo shows the section after being tied.

No sew T-shirt yarn snake

This photo shows the section after the orange strands have been tightened.

Making a T-shirt yarn snake

Once the body sections were complete the loops where cut at the bottom to make loose strands.

T-shirt yarn snake tutorial

DIY T-shirt yarn snake

The loose strands where then braided into the tail.

Make your own T-shirt yarn snake

And then the face was added.

Tri-colored t-shirt yarn snake toy

t-shirt yarn animals

Happy Upcycling,


no sew t-shirt yarn toys




One Reply to “No Sew T-Shirt Yarn Animals Tutorial”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *