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How to make sock-puppet dust buddies

Heather Barnett is a freelance writer and foodie whose work has been featured in blogs, websites, magazines, and TV and radio ads. She spends her free time relaxing with her soulmate, Keith; her dog, Mosby "The Fly Slayer;" and Felix th...

Turn dusting time into playtime

It's not easy to get kids invested in keeping the house clean. Get them started early with an easy task like dusting by introducing them to these fun dust-eating sock puppets.

DIY Sock puppet

What you'll need:

  • Old socks
  • Various buttons
  • Needle and thread
  • Glue (optional)
  • Markers and pencils
  • Yarn (optional)
  • Felt, cloth and other scraps or supplies (optional)

Here, we're making our sock into a puppy. But you can use a variation of these instructions to make a kitten or other animal, girl or boy, or any other character your child will cling to. Use your imagination and don't feel boxed in by the supplies we used. If it can be glued on, sewed on or in any way permanently affixed, do it!

DIY Sock puppet

Step 1: Get the right fit

Fit the sock on your child's hand so it forms a "mouth," using her thumb as the bottom jaw. Remove it, being careful not to ruin the "mold" you've made (use a pencil to make marks if you need to).

IY Sock puppet

Step 2: Get prepared

Sew a small tack on either side of the mouth to hold it in place. If possible, keep it on the bottom of the puppet's mouth so it won't show (especially if you have to use a thread that doesn't match your sock).

Fit the sock back on your child's hand and use a pencil or marker to dot where the eyes, nose, ears, hair or tongue should go.

IY Sock puppet

IY Sock puppet

For the puppy, we cut the bottom few inches off the matching sock, ironed it flat, then cut it down the crease to make floppy puppy ears (with the right color fabric, different placement on the "head" and a different nose, you can also use this to make an elephant). We also grabbed an old baby sock with pink in it and cut out a small tongue-shape.

IY Sock puppet

If you're making a little girl or boy, wrap some yarn in the right hair color around four fingers several times and tie it in the middle with more yarn to create a figure eight. You can sew it on, then give your sock baby a haircut later.

Tip: We recommend using plain paper or mounting glue (as long as it dries clear). Fabric glue is meant to hold fabric and will be too hard to sew through. You should also use a good-quality, stiff needle if you opt for glue — any kind of glue can make the fabric stiffer (don't forget your thimble!).

Step 3: Sew it down

If it's easier for you, before sewing you can use glue to affix buttons where the eyes, nose, ears and tongue go. You can also use the glue to affix any other features. Allow it to dry thoroughly, then sew on the items you glued (if you use only glue, it might melt or disintegrate in the wash). Depending on what type of sock or fabric you used, you may need to edge parts like the ears.

IY Sock puppet

IY Sock puppet

Step 4: Get those kiddos dusting!

Give your kids their special dust buddies and let them get started. These toys live on dust, so the more they make them eat, the healthier their new friend will be.

If your kids are younger, you should probably encourage them to stay away from sensitive electronics. Tell them to stick to baseboards, furniture, nonbreakable lamps and shelves.

More kid-friendly cleaning tips

6 Ways to raise clean kids
Quick cleaning tips for busy moms
Getting your family to help in the kitchen

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