Book Character Day – The Very Hungry Caterpillar


If you have small children, chances are that you’ve heard of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.  This was one of my favorite books as a child, so when my bug told me he wanted to be The Very Hungry Caterpillar for Book Character Day at school, I was thrilled!

Then things got busy, and the next thing you know, it was 9PM the night before Book Character Day when I realized that I still had not prepared anything for my bug to wear!  It was far too late to go to the store for materials, and it didn’t matter anyway as my bug was already in bed.  I started to panic until I realized that I’m a parent and as everyone knows, parents work well under time and pressure constraints 😀

So I hit my crafting boxes to see what I could piece together.  By 10PM, this is what I had come up with:


This is my bug in his Book Character Day outfit:


This outfit was so easy to make, and it took me less than an hour to pull together.  Best of all, my bug loved it!

To make the shirt and hat, here is what you’ll need:

  • A Green Shirt
  • A Red Beanie (I made one out of an old red T-Shirt I had on hand)
  • Colored Foam Sheets (Construction Paper will work as well if you have that on hand, but you will likely need to double-it down to make it more sturdy)
  • Button Pins or Safety Pins (Optional)
  • Hot Glue Gun/Hot Glue

How I made the the shirt:

  1. First I cut several fruit shapes free-handedly out of the foam and construction paper (I used the fruit shapes that were in the book as reference), and then glued on green “stems.”  (*Note that I had limited foam sheets/colors on hand so I used both foam and construction paper to make all the fruits I wanted; otherwise, I would have used all foam sheets.  Also note, you can cut out any food shapes you would like– I just made fruit shapes because they were easiest for me to cut free-hand and I was pressed for time.)
  2. I then hot-glued the fruit shapes onto some old buttons that could be pinned to the shirt and removed later.  Place the pins where ever you would like on the shirt.  (*If you are OK with fully sacrificing the green shirt you’re using for this project, feel free to hot glue the shapes directly onto the shirt where ever you like.) Just like that, the shirt was complete!

Front and Backs of my Fruit Pins:

How I made the hat:

  1. Again, I cut the shapes of the eyes, nose, and antennae free-handedly out of the foam sheets and construction paper, using the pictures in the book as reference.
  2. At this point, if you have a red beanie, just glue the shapes directly onto the beanie.  Since I did not have a red beanie, I just made one by cutting a beanie shape out of a red shirt and sewing around it, leaving an opening only for the head. (If you have a beanie, you can use that as a pattern to trace and cut around. Also, you can use glue in place of sewing if that is easier for you, or if you do not have sewing materials on hand.)  
  3. Last but not least, I glued the shapes directly onto the hat.
  4. After the glue dried, I put the hat on myself to figure out where I needed to tuck and trim.

Pictures of the outside and inside of the hat:


I paired this hat and shirt with khaki pants and sneakers (it was cool outside) but this could easily pair with a variety of different bottoms and shoes.  My bug is still able to wear the green shirt, and the fruit pins and hat are waiting in queue to be added to a scrapbook I’m working on.

This was a cheap and easy project that took me less than an hour to make, using materials that I already had on hand.  Best of all, this outfit survived the whole school day, including recess and P.E.!

I hope this post gave you some ideas for your own Book Character Day project.  I’d love to hear from you– let me know if you liked this project, or have any questions!