Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff

Make It! Challenge #5: Crochet Bowser Sweater for a Turtle


Bowser Sweater for a TurtleFor Make It! Challenge #5, Lisa Egolf challenged me to crochet a sweater for her tortoise, Myrtle, so that he would be easy to spot when she lets him loose to play in the courtyard of the school where she teaches science. “I think bright yet manly colors would be best,” she said, because after all this Myrtle is male (don’t judge). So I set out to design the most masculine turtle sweater I could.

I don’t know about you, but when I think of a beefy, manly turtle, my first thought is of Bowser. If you’re familiar with the Super Mario Bros. video game franchise, you undoubtedly remember Bowser as the game’s super villain. The object of the ’80s Nintendo game is to get the main character Mario through the Mushroom Kingdom, survive Bowser′s attacks, and save Princess Toadstool. Running into Bowser, with his spiny shell, pug nose, and domineering height, is enough to make little Mario shiver.

Myrtle definitely looks like he could do some damage in his Bowser sweater. Go on, Myrtle! Go get your princess and take back your Mushroom Kingdom.

Crochet Bowser Sweater for a Turtle…

Difficulty rating 3Note: You will need to know how to crochet hexagons, cones, and I-cords.

Fits a Box Turtle (approximately 5 1/2″ long x 4 3/4″ wide x 2 1/2″ tall)


Size C-2 (2.75 mm) crochet hook
Size 2 (2.75 mm) double-pointed knitting needle
Tapestry needle
Bright green worsted weight yarn: Deborah Norville Everyday Soft Worsted in Electric Green
White worsted weight yarn: Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice in White
Golden brown worsted weight yarn: Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice in Honey
Polyester Fiberfill
Sewing needle or sewing machine
White thread
3/4″ elastic


beg = beginning
ch = chain
ch-sp = chain space
dc = double crochet
ea = each
FO = fasten off
hdc = half double crochet
htr = half-treble crochet
rep = repeat
rnd = round
sc = single crochet
sk = skip
slst = slip stitch
st(s) = stitch(es)
tr = treble crochet


Step 1: Make 7 hexagons

Crochet a Hexagon

Hexagons measure 2 1/2″ in diameter.

Using bright green yarn, ch 4, join with slst to 1st ch to form a ring.

Round 1: Ch 4 (counts as first dc plus ch 1), *dc into center of ring, ch 1. Repeat from * 10 more times, join with slst to the 3rd ch in 4-ch. (12 dc and 12 ch sp)

Round 2: Ch 3, sk next ch-sp, *(2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc, ch 1), sk next ch-sp. Repeat from * 4 more times. (2 dc, ch 2, dc) in next ch-sp, join with slst to top of 3-ch. FO and work in ends.

Here’s a tutorial for completing Round 2 of the hexagon. (Please ignore that I used a G-6 crochet hook for this tutorial. You should use a size C-2 hook as called for in the pattern.)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Step 2: Make 7 spikes

Crochet a Cone

Using white yarn, ch 2.

Round 1: 4 sc in 2nd ch from hook.

Round 2: sc in each st around.

Round 3: 2 sc in each st around. (8)

Rounds 4-5: sc in each st around.

Round 6: *sc in next st, 2 sc in next st, repeat from * 3 more times. (12)

Round 7: sc in each st around, slst in next st and FO.

Lightly stuff each spike with a bit of Fiberfill and sew one spike onto the center of each hexagon.

Step 3: Make 7 I-cord circles

I-Cord Circle

Using honey yarn, C-2 crochet hook, and a size 2 dpn, crochet 7 I-cords approximately 4″ long.

If this technique is new to you, I recommend this tutorial by Tanya Beckett.

With tapestry needle, sew together the ends of each I-cord to create a circle. Place one circle over each spike and sew to the hexagon. FO and work in ends.

Step 4: Sew shell together

Lay out your turtle shell pieces and sew them together with one hexagon in the center. Also sew eight of the outer edges together as indicated in the diagram below. This will make it three-dimensional.

Sew shell together

Step 5: Crochet to fill the gaps at the front and back of the shell

Hold the shell so that the open side is facing away from you. Starting at a front or back corner to the right of the gap, pull up a loop and ch 1. To fill the gap: Sc, hdc, 2 dc, htr, 2 tr, dtr, 2 tr, htr, 2 dc, hdc, sc. See diagram below.

Sc in each st around until you get to the corner at the right of the gap on the other side, and repeat the pattern above to fill the gap. Sc in each st around until you get back to where you started.  Join with slst.

Crochet to fill the gap

Once you sew up the sides and fill in the gaps at the front and back, it should look like this…

Bowser Turtle Sweater

Step 6: Add a white border

Switch to white yarn and dc in each st around.

Bowser Turtle Sweater

Step 7: Make an elastic band to hold the sweater on the turtle

Elastic strap

Cut an 8″ piece of 3/4″-wide elastic. Pin it to the inside bottom edge at the center of the shell, leaving at least 1/2″ allowance. Sew across elastic to attach it to the white border. Fold the elastic over 1/4″ and sew across again.

Hold the shell with the open side facing away from you. With green yarn, pull up a loop in the st just to the right of the elastic. Ch 1 and sc in same st. 3 sc to the other side of the elastic.

Sew elastic strap to shell

Ch 6, wrapping this ch around the back of elastic. Sc in 1st st. Continue sc in rounds until you have crocheted a band around the elastic that is 5 1/2″ long. FO, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Sew elastic strap to shell

As you did on the other side, find the center of the shell, and with green yarn tail from band, sew band to white edge of shell. Tug slightly on the elastic and sew the elastic to the white edge. Fold down the elastic 1/4″ and sew across again. Trim away excess elastic.

Bowser Turtle SweaterStep 8: Turn your turtle into a mean King Koopa

One Mean Turtle

Please keep in mind that your turtle or tortoise needs vitamin D from the sun (which he absorbs through his shell) to stay healthy, and limit your use of the sweater to 10 minutes a day under your direct supervision.

Although I don’t make turtle cozies for sale, I know someone who does! Check out talented crochet artist Katie Bradley’s Etsy shop, Mossy Tortoise.

Click on the Print and PDF button to get your copy of this pattern

106 thoughts on “Make It! Challenge #5: Crochet Bowser Sweater for a Turtle

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  11. I’m trying to follow your instructions and I am having trouble with the hexagons, I keep making pentagons! I am new at crocheting. Do you have any idea what I am doing wrong? I feel like I am following your instructions and the first ring comes out okay. Seems to match up with the picture and there are 23 chains along the outer ring. But then I start on the second ring and run out of chains to get all 6 sides done. Thanks for any advice! Love the idea too!

    • Hi Roxanne! Thank you so much for crocheting a Bowser turtle sweater with my pattern. I’m happy to help you along. I’ve sent you an email with instructions and photos detailing how to crochet the second round of the hexagon pattern. Please feel free to contact me here or by email — squirrelpicnic(at)gmail(dot)com — anytime. I look forward to hearing if the photos and step-by-step helped you. Thanks again!

  12. Could I please have that email too? I’m having trouble with the hexagons as well.

  13. Hi to every , because I am genuinely keen of reading this weblog’s post to be updated daily. It includes pleasant stuff.

  14. I’m sad because I do not have a turtle… I’m not sure it suits my cat😉

  15. Pingback: Bowser Costume For Tortoise | all happiness is homemade

  16. Hello!

    My husband has a tortoise and I just know he would love to have a sweater for his little Bulbasaur. Could you please email me additional instructions?

    Thank you!!!

    • Hi Maria! Thank you for your interest in my pattern to make a sweater for your husband’s Bulbasaur (yay Pokemon!). I just want to make sure I understand what you mean by additional instructions. As you may have noted from previous comments, I have a series of photos and instructions that I have emailed to others in the past to help them crochet the hexagons. Will that help you too? I’d be happy to email them to you and to help in any other way that I can.🙂

  17. Hello! Thank you so much for sharing your patrern.

    I am thinking on doing this sweater for my 1 year old baby boy tortoise named squirrel.🙂 ( his dad being a huge pokemon fan helped him choose the name ) but I am a beginner so I bel8eve I might run into the same problems with the hexagons shapes so could u please send me your image step by step help u have sent to the other ladies as well ill really appreciate it! Thank you once again.

    And have a magnific day!

    • Hi Emma! I’m so excited that you are making a Bowser turtle sweater with my pattern. And I’m always happy to help. Please check your email. I have sent you additional instructions.🙂

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  20. Very beautifully done pattern and videos. Best I have seen on this site! And what a fun project for my tortoise!

  21. We use to tease my Grandma that she would crochet sweaters and hats for the lizards by her condo if we let her. (Long story…) This is the closest I’ve found to a hat or sweater wearing lizard! Thank you for the great memory and laugh. : ) Oh, and I’m a huge Mario fan too, I got the joke right away.😉

    • Sounds like your Grandma and I are two peas in a pod. My friends are always telling me that someday I’ll be that little old lady crocheting sweaters for all the squirrels in my backyard! I’m so glad that you like my turtle Bowser sweater. Thanks for stopping by! Your comment made my day.🙂

      • I’m so glad I was able to send a smile, there aren’t enough of them these days. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll find a turtle to make one of these for!🙂

        Have a wonderful week!

  22. I just randomly found your blog (was doing a search for turtles for my next crochet project) and I’m so glad because I think yours is now my favourite blog! Everything is so cute and I love the comics. Can’t wait to see what else you create🙂

    • Welcome to the picnic! It’s so nice to meet you and I’m glad you are enjoying what you see here.🙂 Your blog is entertaining me as well! I love your zombies. And I smiled so big when I saw your South Park pumpkin hats. They’re adorable and so creative! I’m very glad you stopped by and introduced yourself. It’s so nice to meet a like-minded crocheter!

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  24. Hi there! I love your pattern! But i was wondering, do you have instructions for the shark cozy? My son has a box turtle and he was really wanting the shark fin. Or even a flower or girly pattern. His turtle is a girl, Mona Lisa, so of he can’t make her a shark he’d like her to look girlie lol. Thanks for any help you can give us!

  25. This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger.

    I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your fantastic
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  30. Just found your blog. One of my daughter’s friends is having a baby girl. I asked if she would like an afghan for the new baby girl. Her husband saw a picture of your turtle cover ,sent it to me and asked if i could make a turtle cover also. I just found your pattern and can’t wait to create a cover for a girl turtle. Although it may need to be a boy cover for a boy turtle for their two year old boy. I’ll have to ask. Thank’s for posting your pattern.
    I’m recovering from a lumbar spine revision surgery and can’t do much except lay around and knit or crochet. Gives me something to look forward to creating.

    Karen Burke

  31. Hello, I love this pattern. My friend’s tortoise is slightly larger 8 inches long and 6 inches wide approximately. Would you a C hook stretch enough or would you recommend a G hook?

    Thanks for the advice.

    • Hi Freddie! How awesome of you to make this for your friend’s tortoise. I haven’t tried to scale this pattern for larger tortoises, but I would agree that using a larger hook would result in a larger Bowser shell. Keep in mind the hexagons made with a C hook measure 2.5″ in diameter. The width of the finished sweater is basically 3 of these hexagons (plus about an inch of white trim). So you might measure the width of your friend’s tortoise (up and over his shell at the widest part) and divide that by 3 to get the width of the hexagon you should try to shoot for. I hope that helps. I wish you the best of luck with your Bowser turtle sweater!

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