My 5 year-old didn’t seem to be able to come up with something he really wanted for Christmas this year. About 10 days before he suddenly announced he wanted a stuffed rattlesnake. After clarifying he wanted a plush animal (and not an actual stuffed snake) I decided to make him one. I wanted to strike (no pun intended) that perfect balance between creepy and cute, kind of like Vincent Gallo. I was happy that for a project I was totally winging it on, it came together pretty smoothly and ESPECIALLY that my son actually loved it (phew).

Should you ever need to stuff your own:

Step 1. Purchase some boot socks. I lucked out and found this set of two in snakey colors at Target.

Step 2. Cut one of the socks that you want for the main body in half lengthwise. Trim the elastic and heel off (save the heel).

Step 3. Sew the straight edges of the two pieces together—the toes will create the head and tail shape. Pin seam-side out and stitch, leaving the seam open on the ends and in the middle for stuffing. Turn inside-out, stuff. Stitch up the middle hole, but leave the ends open.

Step 4. Stitch the heel piece on the bottom side of the more rounded toe-end to create a lower jaw. I made a seam in the middle of that heel piece and tucked in the extra fabric to make it more flat instead of rounded.

Step 5 and 6. Roughly cut some felt and pin to the inside of the mouth. Tuck stuffing in between the pins to fill out the head. Baste the felt and trim to the shape of the head. Tuck some felt fangs in. Blanket-stitch all around the edges of the mouth.

Step 7. Snip a slit in the middle of the mouth and tuck a felt tongue in. Stitch to secure.

Step 8. Create the rattle and stuff it into the tail end of the snake. I used some hard plastic packaging from a toothbrush. I sawed the plastic tube to size with a kitchen knife, put in some grains of rice and replaced the cap. Stitch the rattle into the tail, stuffing around it as you sew the fabric closed.

Step 9. Stitch on squares of fabric to create the diamond-back pattern and make any other finishing touches. I used embroidery thread to create the eyes. I also finessed the mouth, stitching the corners tighter so it wouldn’t gape too wide, quilting the bottom half a bit, and adding some stitches to the base of the fangs to make them point downward.

Step 10. Wrap some string around the end of the tail to make it looked ridged like a rattle.