Two Dozen Ways to Upcycle Socks That Have Lost Their Mates

Darned Socks

Attempting to match all the lonely socks in my family’s laundry is like party planning the world’s worst singles mixer. It turns out that there simply isn’t a lid for every pot, and there is not a mate for every sock!

Fortunately, that mate-less sock doesn’t have to live the rest of its life alone in my Socks Sans Partners basket, only to eventually be tossed out, years later, when I’ve finally admitted the truth to myself. There are SO many cute ways to upcycle orphaned socks.

So whether you like stuffies or doll clothes, bubble snakes or dog toys, check out my list of my favorite things to do with socks that have lost their mates. Find yourself a project so cute that you won’t even be mad when you eventually discover the mate to that sock you crafted with balled up inside a musty old sleeping bag.

And then you can craft with THAT sock, too!

Planter Covers, Pincushions, and T-Shirts

Planter Cover

planter coverCover up a basic plastic or terra cotta pot with a colorful mate-less sock! This is a great way to decorate a plant that’s a gift.

sock snowmanA boring white sock becomes something special with this sock snowman tutorial. Use store-bought pom poms, or make your own from stash yarn.

sock snailCombine a lone sock with some complementary fabric from your stash to make an adorable stuffed snail!

coffee mug cozyI have a lot of cozies that I’ve sewn from scratch from felted wool. I love them, but they took some work to make. If you start with a wool sock, you can skip a couple of very annoying steps!

pincushionSave this project for your socks that have really cool graphics, because pincushions should ALWAYS be fun!

T-shirtGot lots of mismatched socks to upcycle? Make an entire T-shirt using 14-20 socks! The tutorial calls for 100% cotton, four-way stretch socks, and is a terrific project for learning to use a serger.

Snakes, Sachets, and Pumpkins

Mismatched Sock Snake via Grosgrain Fab
Mismatched Sock Snake image via Grosgrain Fab

mismatched sock snakeIf you have several colorful socks that are the same size, turn them all into an equally colorful snake stuffie!

doll tightsA stretchy knee-high sock is just right to make a snug and flattering pair of tights for an 18-inch doll.

DIY chia petHow fun is this do-it-yourself chia pet?!? Use fabric markers or fabric scraps to embellish its funny little face!

sachetA lot of these tutorials don’t use the toes of your unmatched socks. That just means that you can use the toes for sachets!

sock pumpkinYou have a whole basket full of mismatched socks. Wouldn’t you rather have a whole basket full of mismatched stuffed pumpkins?

stuffed sock monsterThis colorful monster makes a fun Halloween craft, or a high-interest project for a group of kids. Let kids make them, then trade them!

Bunnies, Necklaces, and Backpacks

 

sock bunny. A lot of sock animals are tough to sew using socks that have lost their mates, since most animals (including that super-duper sock monkey!), require a matching pair of socks to create. This bunny, however, needs just one ankle sock!

stuffed dogHere’s another critter that you can make from a single sock.

narwhal stuffieUse a scrap from a second sock, or any fun bit of knit fabric, to sew the unicorn horn onto this stuffed sock narwhal.

draft stopperThe socks for this project don’t have to match, but they should be of a similar–and thick!–weight. I prefer to fill my draft stoppers with sand, but a combination of batting and sand would also work well.

three-sock necklaceYou have to use three socks to make this necklace, but they don’t have to be matching socks! Choose fun colors that go together in an interesting way, or complementary values in the same color family.

crocheted backpackUse up your entire family’s population of orphaned socks by turning it into DIY fabric yarn, then crochet whatever you want!

Bubble Snakes, Bean Bags, and Balls

Bubble Snake image via Housing a Forest
Bubble Snake image via Housing a Forest

bubble snakeKids LOVE playing with bubbles! A bubble snake is messy summertime fun that requires only a recycled plastic water bottle, lone sock, and dish soap.

gnomeThis adorable gnome uses three different mismatched socks, along with a few other supplies you likely already have squirreled away somewhere.

bean bagsMy kids LOVED playing with bean bags when they were little, and they’re still some of my favorite toys to make and embellish. If you have several mismatched socks of a similar weight but different patterns, you could make an entire set of bean bags for some lucky kid!

baby sock coin purseI have a baby niece whom I’m obsessed with, and I would use the snot out of a coin purse made with a clasp and one of her teeny-tiny baby sockies!

ballThis is the easiest method to make a soft stuffed ball from a sock. Dogs and babies will go nuts for these balls!

stuffed flowerJust a few additional stitches and a button center turn your ball into a flower! This is another good option for a pincushion, or attach to sticks to make an everlasting bouquet.

Do you have a go-to way to upcycle mate-less socks (or a tried-and-true method to keep socks together so you never have to deal with mate-less socks?!?)? Tell me about it in the Comments below!

Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

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