Thursday, May 7, 2009

Clowns, or Donut Holes Part 2

Welcome back to Repurposing Donut Holes,
or Crafts From The Past!

Lovely grandma (did I mention that I miss her? I miss her.)
made clowns very much like this one along with
the caterpillars for her fund-raisers.

Sadly, I don't have a specimen saved from those good
old days and had to try and remember what they
were like. There are some differences, of course. For
one, grandma used a ping-pong ball for the head
and drew on the face with markers. For another,
I am quite certain she used tiny beads for feet and
hands but I rather like these puffy balls.

When Emily saw the clown, she remarked that he
had caterpillar legs and arms. Gross. But she's right -
I mean, these are donut colors after all, and made in
the same way as the caterpillars were.

Here's what you need:
  • Felt circles - mine were about 1 1/4" across.
  • Small beads - mine were 1/8" in diameter.
  • Felt for the hat.
  • Felt or fleece for the ruff collar.
  • White flannel for the head, hands and feet.
  • Miscellaneous embroidery floss for the face and sewing on the hat.
  • Thread and two needles.
  • Stuffing.

Here is the printable pattern:

Step 1
  • Fold the hat piece and sew along the straight edge. You can insert a ribbon loop at the top now if you like. I used embroidery floss right at the last step.
  • Turn hat right side out and set aside.

Step 2
  • Fold the collar piece, right sides facing and sew the short edges together, to form a little band.
  • Turn right side out.

Step 3
  • Thread a needle and sew running stitches all along one long edge. Pull to gather from both ends of the thread and tie a knot with both ends of the thread. Cut off excess thread.
  • Set aside.

Step 4
  • Sew on the face of the clown. Or draw with fabric markers. Notice that the face is not in the center of the circle - this has to do with where the gathers end up in the next step.

Step 5
  • Sew running stitches all along the circumference, stuff, and pull the thread to gather into a ball.
  • Sew the opening securely shut, knot the thread and cut off the excess. Set aside.

Step 6
  • Repeat step 5 for two of the smaller flannel circles to make little balls for hands.
  • Set aside. You will not need these until step 10.

Step 7
  • Cut a length of thread, double it and make a knot. The thread should be long enough (when doubled) to make one leg, the body and one arm. Begin by making another ball from the third small flannel circle for foot. Knot when done but do NOT cut off the excess. Instead poke the needle through one felt circle, followed by a bead. Continue alternating felt circles and beads until you have made one leg. I used 14 circles for each leg.
  • Thread a second needle and repeat the above instructions to make a second leg. You now have two legs, each made with one needle-and-thread.

Step 8
  • Poke one of the needles through the center of another felt circle. Poke the second needle through the center of the same felt circle. The needles do not have to go through the same hole in the felt - close together is good enough.
  • String on a bead on all four strands. This is the start of the body.
  • From here, all four strands (i.e. both needles, but one after the other) will go through the felt circles and beads forming the body. I used 13 felt circles for the body.

Step 9
  • When the body is completed, separate the 2 needles so that each needle will now continue to form one separate arm, as shown.

Step 10
  • When you have finished threading felt circles and beads to form one arm, sew on one of the spherical hands from step 6. Tighten the thread through the arm -you should not be able to see any thread peeking out between felt circles and beads. Make a knot when you are done and cut off the excess.
  • Repeat this for the other arm and hand to form this weird-looking headless thing.

Step 11
  • Take one of the needles, thread it, knot the thread and poke it through one of the upper circles of the body. Poke the needle through the gap between the arms and then through the hole of the collar.

  • Then poke the needle through the head so that the face is positioned where you want it to be.

  • Pull to tighten the whole assembly and make a knot at the top of the head. Cut off the excess thread.

Step 12
  • Place the hat on the head so that it covers the messy gathered opening of the head.
  • Using embroidery floss, sew running stitches to attach the hat to the head. Knot and cut off, tucking all knots and thread ends under the hat. If you didn't attach a ribbon loop in step 1 and want a little loop from which to suspend the clown, you can make one now with the floss.

I wouldn't recommend giving this to a small child who
is at risk for choking because, should the stitching fail,
the little beads (not to mention the spherical hands and feet)
are hazardous. Clowns like these (and even animals) made
from yo-yos are all over the internet, so if you have
lots of yo-yos, these instructions would work too!


  1. Awww, that's cute. My mum made me a clown a bit like that when I was little. Happy feelings.

  2. I made clowns and caterpillars like these with my mom when I was little. I remember using wooden beads for the hands, feet, and head of the clowns. I think we tied string to one of the clowns to turn it into a puppet - worked really well, you can do the same with a caterpillar.

    Fun memories :)

  3. Thanks, both! It's funny how these seem to feature in many of our childhoods! Transcends culture and continents - I am glad. MaryAnne -thank you for the tip on turning these into marionettes. I think it would be fun to do with the clown, since he is so wiggly already. But the caterpillar - ugh, I think I'll pass.

  4. Oh, L, I'm quite sure our grandmas would have been friends, had they ever met. She was always making things like this for fundraisers too! What a fun fun thing to see!!! I sure do miss my Oma...

  5. Your Grandma sounds AWESOME! I love this little guy, even with his caterpillar arms. =)

  6. My Grandma would use a roll of Lifesavers as the main part of the body. I still have one that is a Christmas ornament!

  7. un superbe petit clown que je ferai très prochainement.
    Bonne journée

  8. chouette!!
    ça me rappelle quelque chose!!

  9. A very amazing idea !! I love it !! Have a good day !

  10. merci je vais m y mettre juste les 1 1/4" correspondent a quelles mesures je suis debutante
    encore merci pour ce tuto


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