Emoji Soft Sculptures

4th grade students learned sewing techniques and created pop art emoji soft sculptures.

This art lesson started with an introduction to the Pop Art movement and some of its major artists. Pop Artists wanted to connect to everyday people, so their subject matter reflected the pop culture of the time (movie stars, advertisements, comic strips, food items, etc.). People connected with Pop Art because the subject matter was recognizable.

We talked about popular things in our culture today - which of course lead to talk of iPods, video games, and texting. Emojis are a great example of contemporary pop art because they are very recognizable and relevant to the tech-savvy time we live in. We looked at a few different (emotion) emojis and talked about what they meant.

We talked about what soft sculptures are and looked at several examples of Pop Art Soft sculptures by Claes Oldenburg.

This video demonstrates the process of making Emoji Soft Sculptures

At first I was worried that I was going to have to thread needles for ALL the students in my class...but I found a great needle threading technique online that made this sewing project work! My students explain the process in this video...

Supply List

Yellow fleece

Polyester fiber fill

needles (with larger eyes)

yellow thread (we used a slightly thicker embroidery type thread)


felt various colors

Tacky Glue

I found this great emoji towel at Walmart this summer for $5. It's the perfect visual for the classroom. I'm not sure if this towel is available anymore? This 5lb. box of Poly-fil was more than enough for 15, 12" pillows! I think a 5 pound box is enough for 50+ pillows!

How much yellow fleece do you need?

I used 12" cake circles to measure the circles. I precut all of the yellow fleece into circles for my students because this required a very sharp pair of scissors and I only have one very sharp pair!

I made a sewing box for each table. I found these magnetic wands very useful for keeping all the sewing needles in one place. They come in every color of the rainbow 🌈 which is exciting because my classroom tables are color coded. You can find magnetic wands HERE.

Students start sewing their emoji pillows on the first art class. Since the needle threading trick worked so well (I seriously only had to thread about three needles!) by the end of art class most students had finished sewing their 12" circles. Art class is one hour. Students were reminded not to completely sew the circle. Leave a space for your hand to fit inside so that you can turn your pillow inside out this makes the edges look neater.

Design your face before stuffing the pillow!

Next art class students used felt to design the emoji faces. Felt was cut into features and instead of more sewing we used Tacky glue to adhere the emoji faces. Tacky glue works beautifully and it gave students a break from sewing. I encouraged students to make double sided emoji pillows that way if they could not decide what emoji to put on their pillow they could have more than one! After the faces were glued the pillows were stuffed and sewed shut

Double sided emoji soft sculpture. Meet happy cat : ) and mad cat : /

To keep track of who made what pillow I used a small piece of masking tape with students names.

Finished Emoji Soft Sculptures

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