Introduction: SockBot Sidekick

About: LA Makerspace is a Maker education nonprofit turning LA Public Library branches (city and county) into places where kids can learn science and technology skills! If you are a librarian, or any other non-STEAM…

Most socks can't talk. Without your help that is.

Step 1: Prep Your Sock

Take your sock and flip it inside out. Lay it down so the heel is facing up. Take a marker and draw a curve just above the heel towards the opening

Step 2: Thread the Needle

If your needle is not threaded, then we will need to do that now. Cut about an arm’s length of the thread. Thread it through the eye of the needle and pull it so there’s an even length on both sides. Take both sides of thread and knot them together at the ends. You can double or triple knot for a bigger knot if you wish. Now you can thread a needle!

Step 3: Start Backstitching

Now you will back stitch along the line you drew on the sock. Start off by pushing the needle through the start of the line pulling it through almost until the end, then slip the needle through the two threads just inside the knot at the end.

Step 4: How to Back Stitch

Start off with a single stitch. Push the needle through the sock from the back side to the front along the start of the line you drew. Now push it through the sock continuing on the line about a quarter of an inch forward. Then come back up through the sock the same distance along the line. Now from the topside, push the needle back through at the end of the last stitch. Continue this process until the end of the line. Consider using a metaphor like a dolphin jumping in and out of water. Also try holding one arm horizontal and your other hand to trace the path of the needle going below and above your arm.

Step 5: Finish Your Stitch

Knot the sting a few times just like you did at the start . Push the Needle through but not all the way so that you can bring the needle around the edge of the sock and between the two threads just inside the knot at the end. Cut the excess string off from the needle.

Step 6: Create Your Sockbot Body

Cut off the sock just outside the line on the open side. This is going to be the body of your sockbot!

Step 7: Flip Your Sock Inside Out

Now cut an opening somewhere on the body so you can flip it outside back out.

Step 8: Prepare Your Talkbox

Come up with a message for your sock pal to say. You can always change it later. Push the button to record and the other button to play back.

Place the recording unit on the foam pad and secure it down with tape. Cut the foam to be about the size of the recording unit. Retape if necessary.

Step 9: Place Your Talkbox

Now place your recording unit on the foam pad over the sock body. Determine where you want to place these three parts; the record button, the microphone, and the playback button. In this example, we've placed the microphone near the ear, and the record and playback buttons in the hands. Retape anything that needs to be fixed and cut to shape the foam better to fit inside the sock body. Then slip the recording unit inside the sock body. Make slits for the microphone and buttons to access outside of the body.

Step 10: Design Your Sockbot's Ears and Hands

Pick out a new foam pad to use for ears and hands. We will hide the microphone with the ears and the play and record buttons with the hands. When you design the ears and hands, make sure to mark off a tab where they can be sewn into the sock bot. You can make them any shape they want so feel free to get creative!

Step 11: Attach Your Ears and Hands

After drawing the designs onto the foam pad. Cut them out. Remove the recording unit from the sock body, and flip it inside out. Adjust the slits for the ears and hands to be the size you designed them. Then insert the ears and hands and sew the tabs in between both sides of the sock body with a back stitch.

Step 12: Flip the Body Inside Out

Make sure to leave enough room in the middle for the buttons or microphone to come out. Repeat this process for each ear and hand. When you’re done, flip the body right side out.

Step 13: Make a Face!

Decide what you want for the face of the sockbot. Typically eyes and a mouth will do. You can use remaining foam pad or sew a design for each. This Sockbot has circles of foam for the eyes sewed with an “x” to secure them on. The mouth was created using a back stitch. You can use markers, pipe cleaners, feathers -- whatever you want!

Step 14: Stuff It

Once you have the ears, hands and face on the sockbot, you can now reinsert the recording unit and put the stuffing inside. Put stuffing in front of and behind the recording unit so it is soft all around.

Step 15: Finishing Up

Now we need to close up the hole in our sockbot’s body with a different type of stitch, the running stitch which will allow us to pull the opening closed like a drawstring on a bag.

Step 16: Learn the Running Stitch

To make a running stitch, start off by knotting your thread somewhere on the edge of the opening. Now push the needle through the sock near the edge of the opening and come back up the other side an equal distance away from the first stitch. Continue this pattern along the edge of the hole until you get back to the initial knot.

Step 17: Sew Up the Bottom

Push any remaining sock material inside and pull the stitch tight to close off the hole. Add a few more stitches to seal and knot it off. Cut the string when you're done.

Step 18: The End

Now you are equipped to fight for liberty and justice with your loyal Sockbot by your side.