Not-so-scary necktie snakes are a fun and educational kid craft
Photo by Melody

Not-so-scary necktie snakes are a fun and educational kid craft

By Jill M. Nicolaus (critterologist)October 30, 2008
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Making a snake from an old necktie is a great way to get kids past the fear factor to the fun factor of learning a bit about these helpful garden companions.

Gardening picture"It's a snake! Quick! Get the hoe!" Too often, we're scared by what we don't understand. Snakes seem so strange, with their smooth scales and their seemingly boneless motion. But if we take a moment to think about their role in our gardens, woods, and fields, we can get past our initial fear reaction and learn to regard them as our great garden ally.

I can't think of a better way to take some of the scary mystery out of snakes for kids than doing a silly snake craft project. If you can take the time to talk about snakes they might see outside, or if you can sit down together and read a book about snakes, that takes it from a craft project to an educational opportunity.

I'm fascinated by snakes, and I find them beautiful. orange tabby cat playing with pink striped necktie snake I realize that's a stretch for many people, but if you can at least establish a mutual tolerance and respect for the snakes you may encounter, they'll repay you by protecting your plants. I'd rather share my garden with a slithery snake or two than be up to my ears in marauding mice and rampaging rabbits!

Gather the materials you'll need to make your soft and silky snake. Find an old necktie with a print you like. Large diamond patterns, wide stripes, or bright paisley designs are my favorites for snakes, but use whatever appeals to you. The tie has to have a lined back; knit ties will not work for this project.

Find something to use for stuffing your snake: a bag of polyester fluff, a bunch of torn foam bits, bag of poly stuffing and stuffing-pusher stickold nylon stockings, fabric scraps, etc. Stuffed with beans or sand, your snake might make a good draft blocker. You'll also need a bit of red felt for the tongue and a pair of ¾ inch or 1 inch diameter googly eyes. Felt or fabric paint could be used, but the googly eyes are a cute touch.

A stick is useful for pushing the stuffing down into the snake. I made an excellent stuffing-pusher by adding a knob of masking tape to the end of a quarter-inch dowel. Finally, you'll need a needle and thread and glue (hot glue or craft glue suitable for fabric) for the finishing touches.

head of blue striped snakeStart by opening up the backing on the wide end of the tie. You don't need a big opening, so there's no need to open up the main seam of the tie. Put a little stuffing into this end, which will become the head of your snake. Then start pushing stuffing in the other direction, all the way down the length of your snake. With some neckties, you may also be able to insert stuffing from the narrow end of the tie.

Using smaller tufts of poly fluff will make a less lumpy snake.shows underside of head with opening sewed shut As you go along, you can squash the fluff around to smooth it out and get it to the right density. When your snake is stuffed as tightly or as floppily as you'd like, add a bit more stuffing to his head to give it a good shape. Sew up the opening under his "chin."

As a finishing touch, cut a little notched piece of red felt and glue it into place to give your snake a forked tongue. Position the googly eyes evenly on either side of his head and glue them on.

You could drape your necktie snake from your bedpost or put it out in the garden as a scarecrow of sorts. trio of necktie snakes draped over the back of an armchairWherever you put it, I hope looking at its googly eyes and silly red tongue will make snakes seem a little less off-putting. The next time you or your kid spot that black snake sunning himself on the woodpile, maybe you'll be a bit more comfortable going about your business and letting him do his thing.

pink striped necktie snake draped in climbing roseEven if you can't bring yourself to adore the real reptilian version, you've got to love the colorful, cuddlesome version you just created!

Thanks to my friend Theresa for introducing me to necktie snakes, and thanks also to my niece and nephew for a fun day of crafting!

Photos by Jill M. Nicolaus.


  About Jill M. Nicolaus  
Jill M. NicolausBetter known as "Critter" on DG, Jill lives in Frederick, MD, where she tries to fit as many plants as possible into a suburban back yard. The birds are mobbing our feeders lately, so Sunshine Girl and I have a job keeping the Flyby Cafe' open for business! This year, we put out a special feeder just for the squirrels, filled with a seed & corn blend. We still see them acrobatically snatching food from the other feeders, but at least now they let the birds get a beak in edgewise! (Images in my articles are from my photos, unless otherwise credited.)

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Discussion about this article:
SubjectTopic StarterRepliesViewsLast Post
necktie snakes LouLou10 3 9 Nov 4, 2008 12:44 AM
WHAT A CUTE IDEA! GardeningGramma 1 3 Nov 3, 2008 10:58 PM
Necktie Snake barbian7 1 6 Nov 3, 2008 4:10 PM
Good phicks 5 18 Oct 31, 2008 3:55 PM
cute flowAjen 10 43 Oct 30, 2008 10:12 PM
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