STYROFOAM brand foam crafts

Recycled Sweater Critter Ornaments

Cozy up your Christmas tree with warm-and-fuzzy animal ornaments created from old sweaters and foam balls. Don't have sweaters to cut up? Try local thrift stores.
   Completion Time - 
1-2 hours each
   Designer - 
Kathleen George


  • Balls: three 3"; one 1-1/2"
Other Materials
  • Recycled knitted sweaters: blue; yellow; pink
  • Felt: blue; green; yellow; orange; tan; pink
  • Coordinating grosgrain ribbons: blue; yellow; pink
  • Black half-round beads: two 7mm; four 5mm
  • Craft wire, 2" length


  • Serrated knife
  • Candle stub or paraffin
  • Fine-line black permanent marker
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Compass or circle template, 5"
  • Wooden skewer
  • Putty knife, 1"
  • Scissors
  • Sewing needle and coordinating threads: blue;
  • yellow; pink
  • Straight pins
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Craft knife with new blade
  • Low-temp glue gun and glue sticks
  • Thick, white craft glue


Fish -
  • 1. Cut 6"-8" from end of blue recycled sweater sleeve to coverfoam ball body. Length depends on stretch in knit; cut longand trim excess later.
  • 2. Hand sew running stitch around sleeve, 2"-3" from cuff;pull threads tightly to gather and knot ends.
  • 3. Use pencil to poke hole into front of 3" ball. Push ballinto sleeve so back side is snug against gathered area.
  • 4. Pull knitted fabric up tightly around ball and use skewerto poke excess fabric into hole; spot glue to secure. Trimexcess fabric as needed so fabric edges will fit smoothly into hole.
  • 5. Cut two Side Fin 1 pattern pieces from blue sweater, notingpleasing design. Spread glue onto fabric edges to prevent raveling.Hand gather straight fin edges slightly and glue to sides of body.
  • 6. Cut two Side Fin 3 pieces from green felt. Cut two Side Fin2 pieces and all remaining fish patterns from blue felt. Inaddition, cut two 1/2" circle from blue felt and two 3/8"circles from green felt for eyes.
  • 7. Use craft knife to cut small slits at top and bottom ofbody, through sweater into foam. Dab glue onto slits and usedull side of craft knife or skewer to push straight edges oftop and bottom fins into slits.
  • 8. Refer to photo to glue on remaining fins, eye pieces andmouth. Glue 7mm black beads to felt eyes.
  • 9. Tie blue ribbon into bow and glue under mouth. Cut 8"ribbon length and join ends; apply glue and push ends intoslit at top of body for hanger.Chicken -
  • 1. Cut 6"-8" circle from pleasing area of yellow recycledsweater. Size depends on stretch in knit and how far you planto stretch fabric; cut long and trim excess later.
  • 2. Mark center front and back of 3" foam ball. Use putty knifeto make 1/2"-deep slit in ball between those two marks. Thiswill be bottom of body. Wrap knitted fabric around body andtuck edges into slit to secure; trim excess.
  • 3. Wax serrated knife with candle stub or paraffin and cutthin slice from back of 1-1/2" foam ball for head; set aside.
  • 4. Poke small hole in flat side of head and fill with glue.Cut small circle from yellow sweater fabric, place ball roundside down in center and bring ends around to flat side. Useskewer to push fabric edges into hole. Glue flat side of headto front of body.
  • 5. Cut two Wing 1 pattern pieces from yellow sweater, notingpleasing design. Spread glue onto fabric edges to preventraveling. Glue wings to sides of chicken. Cut two Wing 2pieces from yellow felt; glue on top of sweater wings.
  • 6. Cut 1/2" x 1" piece from yellow sweater ribbing for comb;apply glue to edges to prevent raveling. Gather slightly alongbottom long edge to make half-circle shape. Use craft knife tocut small slit in top of head, through sweater into foam. Dabglue onto slit and use dull side of craft knife or skewer topush fabric into slit.
  • 7. Cut 5" circle from yellow sweater. Unravel top and sides tocreate feathery look. Cut tail pattern from folded tan felt. Glue sweatertail to back of body. Glue felt tail to back of sweater tail.
  • 8. Cut beak from orange felt; use iron to press firmly inhalf. Glue folded edge to front of head. Glue 5mm eyes in place.Cut two 1/2" circles from yellow felt for cheeks and glue in place.
  • 9. Tie yellow ribbon into bow and glue to neck. Cut small slitin chicken's back. Cut 8" ribbon length and join ends; applyglue and push ends into slit at top of body for hanger.Pig -
  • 1. For legs, cut four 1" x 2-1/2" strips from ribbed area ofpink sweater. Spread white glue across center back of eachstrip and roll into tight tubes. Apply extra glue along outeredges and pin to secure until dry.
  • 2. For snout, cut 1" x 3" ribbed strip and roll in same way aslegs. When dry, trim to 1/2" long. Cut small circle from pinksweater to cover end of snout and glue in place. Spread glueonto circle edges to prevent raveling. Trim as needed. Cut twotiny circles from pink felt and glue to snout for nostrils; set aside.
  • 3. For tail, cut 1" x 2" ribbed strip. Place wire length incenter, apply glue and fold ribbing in half over wire; pin tosecure. When dry, trim ribbing so tail is thin; apply glue toedge to prevent raveling. When dry, wind tail around pencil to curl.
  • 4. To cover foam ball body, use pink sweater and followChicken, Steps 1 and 2.
  • 5. Glue legs to bottom of body and snout to front; pin untildry. Make tiny slit at back of pig, apply glue to end of tailand push into slit.
  • 6. Cut patterns as indicated. Cut tiny slits at top of head,apply glue to slits and use skewer to push straight edges ofears into slits, cupping felt slightly.
  • 7. Cut two 1/2" circles from pink felt for cheeks; glue inplace. Glue 5mm eyes in place.
  • 8. Tie pink ribbon into bow and glue under snout. Cut smallslit in pig's back. Cut 8" ribbon length and join ends; applyglue and push ends into slit at top of body for hanger.If you enjoyed this project, look here for more inspiring ideas:Knitter's OrnamentEaster Pull ToyWarm & Cozy Flannel Ornaments