Today I am so excited to share how I made this giant Nightmare Before Christmas Gift Eating Snake!
I love this snake…but I can’t take all the credit for making it.
Infact, the idea to even make him came from my 14 year old son.
I was saying how it’s lame that we don’t even have a tree skirt…just a blanket that we use to wrap around the tree stand. And then he said the blanket was better than a skirt…but it would be way cooler if we had the snake from The Nightmare Before Christmas under our tree.
And because I LOOOOOOVE The Nightmare Before Christmas what started as a random comment turned into a 7 hour ride-or-die project that I won’t ever forget.
Simon, my 14 year old, and I spent 7 hours sewing, slurping soda, and sewing up this bad boy in the basement that very afternoon/evening and when we were finished we had a 12 foot long, 20 pound snake to wrap around the base of our Christmas tree!
It was crazy, it took forever but we had so much fun. And my kid, who has had almost zero interest in my sewing hobby, was the one who designed and sewed together the majority of this project. Which makes me love it even more than I normally would.
Soooo…if you have 7 hours to kill and a love for Tim Burton inspired Christmas decorations I will walk you through how we made this 12 foot beast.
Here’s what to do:
#1. Gather up supplies. We used:
*1.5 yards of orange felt
*1.5 yards of black felt
*2 small circles of white felt (from our scrap bin)
*A pattern for the snakes head and eyes. I free handed the pattern we used after looking at screen shots of the snake so you can easily draw one up yourself OR I traced off the one I drew up and scanned it in so that you can print it off and use it if you would like. If so, you can print the pattern for that HERE.
*Stuffing…loads and loads of stuffing! Because I figured it would cost a small fortune to fill a 12 foot animal with stuffing we filled our snake with old sheets, pillowcases, and t-shirts that were in our donation bin….which is probably why our guy finished up at just over 20 pounds but…we figured that would mean he would also double as a tree weight! 🙂
#2. Cut your felt.
Using the pattern cut the head and eye pieces.
Cut 20 orange strips at 19″ x 4″
Cut 20 black strips at 19″ x 4″
Cut 10 orange strips at 12″ x 3.5″
Cut 10 black strips at 12″ x 3.5″
Cut 4 orange strips at 9″ x 3″
Cut 4 black strips at 9″ x 3″
#3. Start sewing. Use a .5″ seam allowance and settle in for miles and miles of straight line sewing!
*Begin with a black 19″ x 4″ felt strip and sew it to one of the orange 19″ x 4″ orange strip. (Sew them together along the 19″ side.) Next sew another black 19″ x 4″ strip onto orange strip of the unit you just created. Continue this process alternating between orange and black until you only have one orange 19″ x 4″ strip left…and then set this strip aside to use later.
*Center one of your 12″ x 3.5″ strips under the length of strip you have just sewn together and stitch. Continue alternating colors..orange, back, orange, black, until you have sewn all 20 of your 12″ strips onto the unit.
*Center one of your 9″ x 3″ strips under the giant unit you have been creating and stitch. Continue alternating the colors until you have added all of the remaining 9″ strips.
#4. Trim the body.
Right now the body of your snake will look something like this:
(Except it will be black and orange striped…not solid orange 🙂 )
*Take a yardstick and a pencil or chalk and draw a line down each of the body to taper it smoothly.
Note: Do not taper the body to a point at the bottom…that would make it a pain to sew and flip.
*Once your lines are drawn cut along the lines to create a smoothly tapered body.
#5. Stitch up the body. Fold the snake body in half length-wise with right sides together (that means the “finished” or side without the seams shouldn’t show when it is folded in half).
Starting with the tail (skinniest end), and using a .5″ seam allowance sew the bottom and sides of the body together.
NOTE: Do not sew the top of the snake shut! You will need it open to attach the snake head.
NOTE: 12 feet of felt is really hard to turn inside out…I would suggest as you sew up the body stopping every so often and turning your snake body up to almost where you stopped sewing. This will make it easier when you need to flip it entirely inside out.
#6. Flip your snake body right sides out. This is a pain. It just is. We turned ours a little at a time as we sewed as I suggested in the note and then we used a baseball bat and a yard stick at different times for added length and help while flipping. Who knew a baseball bat would be useful in my sewing???
#7. Stuff that snake body with whatever stuffing you choose…again the bat or the yardstick will come in handy.
#8. Sew the snake head.
*Take 1 of your 4 orange head pieces and position the two orange circles where they look best. Pin in place. Then stitch around the entire perimeter of each orange circle (preferably with orange thread) to attach it to the head piece.
*Take your two white circles and center them on top of your two orange circles. Pin in place. Then stitch around the entire perimeter of each white circle (preferably with white thread) to attach it to the head piece.
*Take your two black circles and center them on top of your two white circles. Pin in place. Then stitch around the entire perimeter of each black circle (preferably with black thread) to attach it to the head piece.
*Place one of your remaining three orange head pieces on top of your piece with the snake eyes. Line it up exactly on top. Pin. Sew around the the curved sides but leave the flat end open. Then flip it right sides out so that the eyes are now on the outside of the head. This created the top part of your snake head!
*Make the bottom (open mouth part) of you snake head by placing the remaining 2 snake head pieces on top of each other and sewing them together around the curved pieces and leaving the flat side open. Turn this new unit right sides out.
#9. Fill the Head: Use the stuffing of your choice to fill both the top and bottom pieces of the snake head.
#10. Attach the head.
Find the remaining 19″ x 4″ orange strip and lay it out. Pin your top and bottom head pieces onto it as shown in the illustration below.
*Stitch the head pieces to the strip with a .5″ seam allowance.
*Fold this unit in half…kind of like a hot dog…with the snake eyes hidden in the middle and sew that orange strip together along the 4″ side.
*Turn the unit right side out. You should now have the snake head sewn up and attached to an orange ring.
*Hand sew the head onto the body…BUT…before you have entirely sewn on the head stop and add some filling/stuffing into that 4″ area to make it nice and fluffy like the rest of his body…and then close it up!
AND 7 HOURS LATER YOU ARE DONE!!!
Put him under the tree and rejoice!
Honestly this was a crazy project…but I don’t regret making it for one second. The kids all loved it and I know it is something that we are going to use for years to come…for both Christmas and Halloween.
Plus, for me, it turned out to be a life lesson. A lesson telling me that when your kid wants to spend time with you its ok to let dishes, laundry, etc wait and spend that time because I know whatever I put off that evening to make a wack-a-doo snake wasn’t as cool as what we ended up doing.