How-To: Sock Monkey Birthday Hat

CRAFT Summer Camp
By Vanessa Coppolla
Did you know that the sock monkey dates back to 1932, when the Nelson Knitting Company added the trademarked red heel to their product? American mothers first made sock monkeys out of worn-out Rockford Red Heel Socks during The Great Depression. Those mamas were our first crafty upcyclers, out of necessity no doubt, but still pretty cool!
My little guy received one of these iconic handmade creatures, made out of a traditional Rockford Red Heel Sock, of course, in his Easter basket this year. They are already the best of friends and I’m sure they will go on lots of great adventures together, although I have a feeling that Mr. Sock Monkey doesn’t appreciate his limbs being gnawed on. Logan loves his sock monkey so much that I decided to plan a sock monkey-themed first birthday shindig for him.
My formal dining room has turned into party planning central, because that is what formal dining rooms are good for. I have a lot of DIY projects in the works and I’m excited to share one of them with you. We’ll be making a fabric birthday hat, sock monkey-style. You can use any type of fabric and embellishments you desire to match your own party. This is a super easy and inexpensive project; no sewing involved.

sock monkey birthday hat_picture3.jpg


Readymade paper party hat
Sock monkey fabric
(available from
Tacky glue
Hot glue


sock monkey birthday hat_step 1.jpg
Step 1: Take the party hat apart. Place the fabric on your work surface, right side facing down. Lay the hat flat on the fabric and trace around it.
sock monkey birthday hat_step2.jpg
Step 2: Cut 1/2″ around the traced line. You want to leave the extra half inch so you have plenty of fabric to wrap around the hat.
sock monkey birthday hat_step3.jpg
Step 3: Iron the fabric to take out any wrinkles, and start gluing it to the party hat using tacky glue or any other all-purpose glue. Start with gluing one end of the fabric to the back of the hat. Smooth out the glued fabric using your fingers as you go. I found that it was easiest to place glue on small sections of the hat first and then attach the fabric.
sock monkey birthday hat_step4.jpg
Step 4: When you get to the end of the fabric, fold the end of the fabric before gluing it to the hat. This will make a clean, straight line in the back of the hat.
sock monkey birthday hat_step5.jpg
Step 5: Once the fabric is glued around the hat, you should still have a raw edge extending from the bottom edge. In order to neatly glue this fabric to the inside of the hat, cut slits into the fabric all around this edge. Make sure that two of these slits are cut right where the string attaches, so the fabric can be glued around the string.
sock monkey birthday hat_step6a.jpg
Step 6: Place tacky glue on the small sections of fabric and attach to the inside of the hat.
sock monkey birthday hat_step7.jpg
Step 7: Hot glue rickrack or other embellishments (feather boa, ribbon, pom poms, etc.) around the hat.
sock monkey birthday hat_step8.jpg
Step 8: To make a pompom for the top of the hat, wrap yarn around a standard letter envelope (or 3-4 fingers) about 30 times.
sock monkey birthday hat_step9.jpg
Step 9: Take the yarn bunch carefully off the envelope and tie another piece of yarn around it at the center. Make a double knot.
sock monkey birthday hat_step10.jpg
Step 10: Cut through all of the loops using a pair of scissors. Trim the pom-pom to your level of desired fluffiness.
(Warning: The bigger the pom-pom, the more top-heavy the hat will be and the more difficult it will be to keep it on a mobile child.)
sock monkey birthday hat_step11.jpg
Step 11: Glue the pom pom right onto the top of the hat, using hot glue.
sock monkey birthday hat_step12b.jpg
Step 12: Place on your child right before singing “Happy Birthday.”

About the Author:
Vanessa Coppola Headshot.jpg
Vanessa Coppola crafts from her Arizona home, where she resides with her husband and almost 1-year-old son, Logan. Vanessa is the author of The Crafty Nest, where she blogs about life as a newish mama and all things crafty.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!


Ready to dive into the realm of hands-on innovation? This collection serves as your passport to an exhilarating journey of cutting-edge tinkering and technological marvels, encompassing 15 indispensable books tailored for budding creators.