Making Animal Toys from Plastic Caps

Making caterpillars from plastic caps (or what we call “cap-erpillars”) is fun, but it didn’t take long for my family members to imagine other animals that we could make from plastic caps.

Avoiding Glue

In general, I am not a fan of glue in my crafts because:

  • Glue crafts tend to break when played with
  • Glue often smells bad
  • Glue gets on my fingers which I don’t enjoy
  • Dried glue blobs look yucky

Using String or Cord Instead

Plastic Cap Toy Spine Design

This drawing shows how the cord loops through holes in the caps to make the toy’s spine

So how could we make plastic cap animals while avoiding glue as much as possible? We thought back to our caperpillar days, and realized that string or cord is the best way to hold caps together. It’s flexible enough for kids to play with the item, and yet strong enough to give it form.

There were two ways to put the cord into the cap animals. If we did a straight line, like a spinal cord, we would need to tie a very large knot at either end to keep the caps in place. This relied on a knot that was tight and big enough not to slip through the holes. It was strong if we made the cord into a loop, so we could tie the two ends together tightly. This looped-cord method became the basis of our plastic cap animals.

To do a looped cord, it means the cap that forms the head must have two holes instead of one.

 

 

What were our first plastic cap toy designs?

  • Rabbit – I designed this one, using a sliced Pantene shampoo bottle for over-large ears.
  • Frog – My daughter designed this one, with pink felt for the tongue.
  • Sock Monkey – My husband designed this one, which kicked off my daughter’s obsession with sock monkeys.
Plastic Cap Frog Design

For the frog, the loop also attaches two green caps for the eyes

For the frog eyes, we used a variation on our spine technique. Hopefully my drawing explains a bit. Basically, the loop that came out of the top also went through two green caps to make the eyes.

The sock monkey’s ears are made from a foam bead that we cut in half.

We used some glue for the eyes and pompoms. While I’d like to avoid glue entirely, I felt it was okay as long as the main body of the creatures was strong and would resist the pressures of kid’s playing with them.

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