If you’ve been round these parts for awhile, you’ll know that I’m an Eric Carle fan girl. His method of painting tissue paper is one of our very favourite art processes. This Very Hungry Caterpillar craft vibes off this process.
But with a twist.
We’ve created a fair few Eric Carle-inspired projects round here. These Grouchy Ladybirds help teach how to tell the time.
Some Mister Seahorses. Some Lonely Fireflies.
But nothing to do with the Very Hungry Caterpillar. I almost had stage fright. What could I ever create with my kids to do justice to this iconic book? This year, being the 50th year since this glorious book was published, seemed like THE YEAR to get over this stage fright.
Enter Trixi from Coloured Buttons.
Every year Trixi organises Sew a Softie, a month-long celebration where bloggers and creators from across the globe share sewing tutorials. Trixi is passionate about introducing children to this age-old craft. I am super lucky to call this Oh Creative Lady a friend. You can follow her on Instagram and check out all the #sewasoftie ideas whilst you’re there.
Sew a Softie seemed like a perfect opportunity to bring this Very Hungry Caterpillar craft to life.
A Very Hungry Caterpillar softie? Please and thank you.
What you will need for this Very Hungry Caterpillar craft
Acrylic paints (green, white, yellow, black, red)
So here’s the plot twist.
We’re going to paint the felt to achieve that awesome Eric Carle textured collage look.
Paint your felt green. Then start adding yellow, black and white highlights.
The felt absorbs the paint quite quickly so as we started wanting it to look textured with colour, we squirted paint straight onto the felt.
Once dried, the paint does make the felt a bit stiffer.
Paint a small square in red and use white and black to create a collage look. This will form the caterpillar’s head.
We examined the book’s front cover for reference.
Once your felt has dried, find a circular object to trace around.
The circles we cut ended up being around 7.5cm across.
We used 7 green circles.
Lay your 7 circles in formation against the felt that will be your backing.
We used white felt for the backing.
Pin your circles into place and get your needle ready!
We chose to use black thread. Use whatever colour tickles your fancy!
Note that we didn’t cut out the white circles. We sewed directly onto the backing fabric (that was rectangular in shape) and then cut around that felt at the very end.
This was a very useful method for little hands.
Cut a circle out of your red painted felt for the caterpillar’s head and 2 yellow ovals and 2 smaller green ovals to create the eyes.
Cut out a small circle for the caterpillar’s mouth.
Stitch these pieces into place on the red circle.
You’ll also need to cut out 2 black antennae and some little feet.
We began by stitching along the bottom of the caterpillar. Be sure to stitch the little black feet in as you progress.
My eldest is 5 and this was challenging for her. It was definitely a side-by-side activity and at times it was a hand-over-hand activity.
Once you have sewn along the bottom of the caterpillar, I put three stitches in at the point where the circles overlapped. Otherwise they flap around and all the stuffing will fall out.
Working along the top of the caterpillar, place stuffing into each segment and then stitch your caterpillar together.
Be sure to stitch the antennae in when you reach the head.
I initially had this grand dream of having my kids paint the food eaten by the caterpillar onto the back of the softie so that it could be used to retell the story. But life got in the way and there was no time for that. But you can have that idea and if you use it, be sure to tag me so I can see how it turned out!
Happy 50th birthday to the Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Happy Sew A Softie month to you all!
You can find out more about Sew A Softie at this website or join the awesome Facebook group.
Your caterpillar is amazing. I hope Eric Carle gets to see it!I love your design and how the circles were sewn onto white backing fabric. Thanks for being so supportive!