Sock Monkey Art Lesson

Aren’t these the most adorable things you’ve ever seen? I spotted a Sock Monkey Calendar at a bookstore and knew the colorful photographs would make an outstanding art lesson. I mean who doesn’t like these nostalgic toys? The lesson is easy and introduces a new technique for my students: paint scratching. The collage aspect of this lesson fills the much needed desire for kids to cut, paste and create.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 12 x 18″ colored Tru-Ray Sulphite paper (construction paper).
  • Black oil pastel
  • Palette of brown, white and red tempera paint
  • Colored yarn, ric-rac, pom-poms, googly eyes, painted paper or paper scraps, buttons…anything decorative!

Drawing and painting the monkey: Sock-monkey-art-painting

Step 1: I use a directed line drawing approach to drawing the sock monkey figuring it never hurts to have a good base for all the decorative fun that’s coming in step three. No need for elaborate instructions as you can see the drawing is quite easy:

  1. Draw two dots for eyes
  2. Below the “eyes” draw a large ovals on its side. Then draw another larger oval around that. Add a line in the middle for the mouth.
  3. Starting at the outside oval on the left hand side, draw a line up and around to the other side of the oval. This will become the head.
  4. Draw a curved line at the top of the head to mimic toe reinforcements.
  5. Add two ears to the side of the head.
  6. Draw a simple body and skinny arms.

Step 2: Painting

Using white tempera paint (do not wet brushes), paint the mouth and the top of the head with white paint. Let dry slightly and then paint over the white area with brown or black paint. The paint in this picture looks purple, huh? It’s really brown. Turn the brush around and with the tip, scratch lines away to mimic ribbing.

Tip: Do not let brown paint dry. It’s critical that the wet brown paint slide right over the dried white paint. Kids love this part! Finish painting the body with brown or even gray paint (use the double-load technique with the black and white paint). Paint mouth and ears red.

Step 3: Outlining

Use an oil pastel to trace over all dry painted black lines.


Step 4: 

Set out tray of embellishments (goggly eyes, ric-rac, fabric scrpas, painted paper scraps) and demonstrate a few easy ways to decorate the sock monkey. I show options for eyes, show how to cut a piece of paper to fit the head and even make simple pom-pons. Here’s a link on how to make pom-poms

Step 5: Use painted paper scraps to add clothing to the sock monkey. Children used spatial awareness to lay a piece of paper over their sock monkey and cut-to-fit their garments.

Grade Three Sock Monkeys


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