When I first learned about an Etsy project in Berlin where you’d learn how to make a sock monkey, I was intrigued. I love these kinds of quirky activities—it’s a hyper-local way of traveling. Websites such as Gidsy or Viator offer locals the chance to promote insider events & tours for their cities. And so upon returning to Berlin, I found an event that seemed the perfect amount of quirky: making a sock monkey!
Sock monkeys aren’t exactly a German tradition. They originated in the USA but it’s their cousin, the sock puppet, that became famous. Notably Lamb Chop. But sock monkeys are still a popular children’s DIY craft activity. In Berlin, Nadine Koetz, has set up a monthly workshop for making sock monkeys (Strumpfaffen in German) after learning about the American tradition when living in NYC. Since returning to Germany, Nadine has partnered with the sock company Minga Berlin and uses their fair trade socks to produce hundreds of sock monkeys.
The sock monkeys that Nadine creates are available for sale online, though she donates all profits to a charity in India. At her monthly craft workshops, she teaches locals about the American tradition with a how-to demonstration. Your money goes to providing the materials and all profits (and any donated monkeys) go to the Indian charity. I joined a workshop to see what the Strumpfaffen organization was all about—and to learn how to make my very own sock monkey.
Making the sock monkeys wasn’t so difficult. It took about 3 hours from start to finish, though I presume the more you make, the easier it becomes. If you’re interested in learning how to make a sock monkey, I recommend attending one of Nadine’s workshops in Berlin. They’re a fun way to meet other Berlin locals. Plus you come away with an adorable strumpfaffe!
Nadine also sells DIY kits to make your own monkey on her website if you’re not Berlin-local. It’s the same kit we got in the workshop, though we had much more flexibility in choosing our buttons and sock styles. Obviously I went with the most hipster socks I could find. See below:
The Sock Monkey Project
If you want to learn more about the Strumpfaffen Project you can …
Book the Strumpfaffen monthly workshop on Gidsy here: Make Your Own Sock Monkey. Fair-trade, bio socks for the project are provided by Minga Berlin, and the 3-hour workshop will be sure to leave you smiling.
And the best part about making a sock monkey at one of these workshops? All revenues from the Strumpfaffen Project are donated to the Tara Trust in India. You can buy a sock monkey yourself for 20€ to 25€ Euros online. Twenty five euros is enough to cover a single child’s expenses (meals, medical care taking and education) for one month in India. By purchasing or giving a sock monkey as a gift, you’re supporting one kid in India for an entire month. They’re cute and fun—and make perfect gifts for children and quirky adults. My sock monkey was the hit of my last party!