Turtle Pattern




Turtle Pattern

Click here for a printable PDF.

You can use regular yarn with this pattern for a larger turtle.


  • 6 strand embroidery floss or craft thread: about 1 for the shell (I like the way color changing thread looks for this) and a little more than 2 for belly/head/legs. If you're using a different color for the belly so it looks like the underside of the shell, you'll need one skein for that (I like to use this color for the feet too) and two skeins for the head and limbs.
  • 3.25mm crochet hook (you'll be using this for most of the turtle)
  • 2.25mm crochet hook
  • Stuffing (e.g. poly-fil)
  • Yarn needle
  • Eyes: I use 10mm iridescent safety eyes from glasseyesonline.com. The round-pupil ones are easier because they can't shift into a weird looking orientation, but the slit-pupil eyes are cute too if you don't mind rotating them back into position periodically. There are many other types/styles available from lots of online as well as brick-and-mortar stores, or you could sew on your own, e.g. circles cut from felt.



SC = single crochet

INC = increase

DEC = decrease

SL = slip stitch

SCS = single crochet seam

FL = single crochet into the front loop only


Make a magic loop with 9 stitches. (there are online instructions and YouTube videos on how to do these if you're not familiar with them, personally I found this one helpful: youtu.be/gEq48ABHRZo) At some point you'll want to use your yarn needle to thread the loose end back inside your starting circle a couple times, clockwise (with the back/wrong side facing you) along where the threads for your original magic loop run, to keep your circle from loosening. Alternately you could SL and tie off after your 9 stitches instead (see foot section below, but here you'd tie on the wrong side instead of the right side) and start your next row with a new strand.

if you want the belly to be on the flat side instead of more rounded, skip the 2nd row of SC's only (row 4)

Row #...

1. INC 9 times. Your circle should now have 18 stitches.

2. SC whole row.

3. 1 SC between each INC (9 INC's). Your circle should now have 27 stitches.

4. SC whole row. *If you want the belly to be on the flat side instead of more rounded, skip this row.

5. 2 SC between each INC (9 INC's). If you've chosen to have a belly color that's different from the head/limbs, change to your leg color now, and 3 SC with it. Widen the last loop so it doesn't start coming undone and set aside. Your circle should now have 36 stitches (now is a good time to double-check).


Repeat steps for belly with the color you chose for your shell, then...

6. SC whole row.

7. SC whole row.


If you want the shell a little taller, add another row or 2 of SC's here. You'll need more than one skein of thread for the shell if you do, but you might need slightly more than one even if you don't.


Hold the 2 circles lined up wrong sides together. You're going to start SC'ing them together (from the shell side) starting 3 stitches behind the last SC where you stopped on the belly circle (right next to the 3 stitches of your leg if you're using a different color for them). I think this is called a single crochet seam, I'll abbreviate these as SCS going forward.


Every time you FL in this next section, leave an equal number of stitches free on the belly circle so there's one free stitch on the belly for every free back loop on the shell:

8. 4 SCS through both layers. 3 FL through the front (closer to you) loop only of the next stitch of your shell, leaving the back loops free on the underside of the shell. 2 SCS, 5 FL, 2 SCS, 3 FL, 4 SCS, 3 FL, 2 SCS, 3 FL, 2SCS, 3 FL (make sure not to forget the last 3 FL here).

9. SC whole row, ending just past the leg opening where you started. SL & weave in. This last row should curl up naturally as you add the limbs, if it doesn't you can help it along later on.


1. Pick up where you left off on the belly circle and SC the whole row around the leg opening, but consider the 1st 3 stitches into the free back loops on the underside of your shell as the 2nd half of your 1st row.

2. 1 SC between each INC (3 INC's).

3. SC whole row.

4. 2 SC between each INC (3 INC's). The leg should now be 12 stitches around.

Leave the last stitch open and set aside.


Make a magic loop with 6 stitches. Hold your loose strand towards you on the front/right side (not back/wrong side)and SL into the 1st stitch, then cut your thread and end. Pull tight so you don't accidentally count the SL as a 7th SC. Take your 2 loose ends and square knot them together on the right (not wrong) side to keep the circle from loosening. {You can use your small hook for this next part if you have trouble getting your larger hook through the stitches.} Line your new foot up with the opening of the leg (wrong-side facing out) and start SCSing the two edges together, but crochet into each foot stitch twice. You could look at it like the leg side is a row of all SC's while the foot side is a row of all INC's, even though it's just one row/seam. When you get to the end, SL, end & weave in.


Repeat this process for the other 3 legs, starting with a slip knot and then an SC on the far right stitch of the leg opening (with the tummy facing towards you).


Start the same as the legs, in the right stitch of the tail opening with the tummy facing towards you. SC for one row, then start decreasing with 3 stitches between each decrease for 3 decreases. On the last DEC you may need to use a smaller hook and/or skip over a stitch instead of doing a proper DEC. End and weave in.


Put stuffing in your turtle through the neck opening. The eraser side of a pencil works well for this, or work it in a little at a time using the back end of your hook (which takes longer). Optional: insert a magnet into the tummy area. Stuffing the legs is a little tricky, you might be able to push stuffing from the body into the feet, but here's what I do: gently insert the small hook through the foot and pull in stuffing from the body. Do this gradually, just pulling in a little at a time from the outer edge of the body's stuffing, otherwise it will get jammed in the opening. Pay attention to which way the hook faces, and when you're done carefully back out the hook, trying not to pull out stuffing through the foot. If needed, add more stuffing to the body after you're done with the legs.


Start on the right side of the opening with the tummy facing you, like you did with the legs and tail.

1. SC whole row.

2. 1 SC between each INC (5 INC's).

3. 2 SC between each INC (5 INC's).

4. 4 INC between each INC (4 INC's). Your opening should now be 24 stitches around.

5. SC whole row.

6. SC whole row.

7. Decrease, SC under the chin (about 8 SC's), DEC on the other side of the head. Locate the center stitch on the top of the turtle's head. Count back (towards where you're working) 5 more stitches, and SC up to and then into that 5th-from-center stitch (should be about 2 SC's from your last DEC). Chain 4, skip a stitch & SL into the next stitch (pull tight so you don't confuse it with a SC when you get to the next row). SC, DEC, 2 SC, chain 4, skip a stitch & SL into the next stitch. SC 1, and that should bring you to the end of the row. Check that the posts of your safety eyes fit into the two holes (but don't attach), if they're too tight or too loose undo that half-row and adjust the number of chains as needed.

8. SC 2, DEC, SC 4, DEC, SC until you get to the right eye hole (should be about 2) and SC 2 into/across that hole. SC into the next stitch, just after the SL of the previous row. DEC, SC, SC 2 into/across the other eye hole. SC into the next stitch (after the SL), and that should be the end of your row. Check to make sure your eyes still fit, but don't attach yet.

9. Decrease, 5 SC, DEC, 4 SC, DEC (over the DEC from the previous row), 3 SC.

10. Decrease, 2 SC. Put in your safety eyes, but before you snap them in make sure you'll still be able to work into the stitches next to them. Now would be a good time to add at least some of your stuffing to the head. DEC, 2 SC, DEC, 2 SC, DEC, SC (4 decreases this row). Add more stuffing if needed.

11. Decrease until you run out of room (probably about 6 decreases), then end and weave in back and forth across the last bit of opening. Depending on how you weave in here, you can make the nose rounded or more pointy.

If you want your turtle's feet to stand flat in the ground:

Push one of the legs into a standing position and use your belly color to sew the inside of the leg to the belly. 3 or so stitches should do it. Repeat for the other 3 legs, and you should now have a finished, free-standing, adorable turtle ready to advocate for social justice!