My Happy Little Rainbow Hippo

Rainbow crochet african flower hippo by Jennfer Wang Bears (original design by Heidi Bears "Happypotamus")Somewhere…Over the rainbow…
A sweet little hippo is born!

At long last, after almost an entire month of piecing him together, I’ve finally completed my very first Heidi Bears African Flower pattern – a miniature version of Happypotamus!

This blog post contains affiliate links, as denoted with an asterisk (*).

This is by far Heidi’s most popular pattern, and is available for sale through both her Ravelry and Etsy stores (I have to say, the amount of love, care and detail this woman puts into her patterns is phenomenal, and I’m absolutely in awe of her work).

This little cutie was made entirely from embroidery thread (split into two strands), and a 0.5mm crochet hook (the smallest in my collection).

I took advantage of the cheery pastel embroidery packs bought at my local Daiso store in Sydney, using just over half of the 36 skeins acquired from 3 packets (12 different colours, although I didn’t use them all). I’m so happy with Daiso’s cotton yarn. It’s inexpensive and fairly easy to split (although there’s only so far a strand will separate before it curls into a tightly-wound cord of indestructibility). Also, since I’m not much of colour-coordinating whiz, it was a relief to have matching colours laid out neatly for me in cute little packets. What a great find! Thanks, Daiso!

Jennifer Wang Bears Rainbow Hippo Daiso Pastel Thread

Pastel Colors Embroidery Thread (Daiso)

NOTE: If you're interested in making this project for yourself, you can easily replace the above thread with similar embroidery thread colours. If you'd like to save yourself a huge headache, you could also try doubling up machine embroidery thread instead of splitting six-stranded thread into two strands.

Rainbow crochet African flower hippo by Jennfer Wang Bears (original design by Heidi Bears
Rainbow crochet African flower hippo by Jennfer Wang Bears (original design by Heidi Bears
Rainbow crochet African flower hippo by Jennfer Wang Bears (original design by Heidi Bears "Happypotamus")
Rainbow crochet African flower hippo by Jennfer Wang Bears (original design by Heidi Bears "Happypotamus")

This was my first time using a 0.5mm hook and I was amazed to find it much easier than I expected. Ok, I’ll admit that working with such a teeny tiny hook left me with skin punctures and strange finger calluses, probably also damaging my eyesight beyond repair, but when I look into my sweet little hippo’s eyes I find myself wanting to make one all over again!

My lovely, chubby friend (who I’ve nicknamed 河马宝宝 hémă băobăo, “hippo baby”), measures approximately 12cm (4.7 inches) in length from tail to snout, and is roughly 5cm (2 inches) in height from toe to shoulder.

He is made up of 44 African Flower motifs of various shapes and sizes, each one crocheted individually and joined to the next via both whipstitch and the join-as-you-go method (JAYG).

Personally, while JAYG is often more convenient than using good ol’ whip-stitch, I found that my edges started to become uneven as I moved closer towards the head where the angles became tighter (making it hard to maneuver my hook). If I ever make a small project like this again, I’m definitely going to save myself a headache and use whip-stitch the whole way through.

UPDATE: I have since made two hippos using whip-stitch to join the pieces together. The verdict? Although whip-stitch is somewhat easier (leaving a much smoother, more compact finish), I find that I prefer the JAYG method after all. This is because JAYG is more visually interesting, and I enjoy making and joining each piece as I complete it instead of waiting until the end to join them all. 

Also, after completing my first hippo, the tip of my steel hook became bent out of shape, and the handle itself started to discolour – not happy! I also found the tip was far too sharp, and I’d keep stabbing myself  in the same spot over and over again (ouch!). This hook was part of the cheap 22-piece set I’d bought, which I love and has served me well, but I ended up replacing my hook with  a no. 14/0.5mm steel hook by Clover*. Best. Decision. Ever.

If you’d like to request a colourful little mini hippo for yourself, please let me know via, or leave me a message in the comments below. I’d be more than willing to consider making customised mini Happypotami if there’s enough interest.

UPDATE: I’m no longer taking orders for mini hippos. However, stay tuned for more African flower-related projects, they’re so much fun!

If you’d like to make your own lovely creation, please feel free to visit Heidi’s website for her latest designs. I know you’ll love them!

…What’s that, little hippo? Uh oh, I think he’s getting hungry. I’d better go feed him before he gets stuck into my yarn stash (I sure hope he likes fruit salad). Have a happy, joy-filled week!

Much love and hippo hugs,

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22 Comments on "My Happy Little Rainbow Hippo"

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I love this tiny hippo. But I have a quetion reading what you did. Did you split the emroidery thread in two equal parts (which gives 3 strands), or did you use two strands of the embroidery thread at a time.
Once split it’s impossible to change. And I have the thread waiting!


Thanks for the quick reply and yes it answers my question. Now I can give it a go!


I’m a bit late to the discussion but it seems you changed the pattern and used a square piece at the front of the nose and a pentagon for the chin. (Rather than a pentagon and hexagon)
Is there a reason you did this? I’m planning a tiny hippo of my own (already did a large version) and was wondering if I should make the same adjustment.


I’m using a 1mm hook and embroidery thread rather than floss. So far so good. I’ll post back with the results. Thanks again for the inspiration and answering my question.


So nearly 6 months later another tiny happy is born. Thanks again for the inspiration.

Sally Jacobs

Vers sweet baby hippo – i can see your selling them? Just so your know, the pattern is only for private use, and its illegale to sell the finished items. Heidi Bears own words.


He is a wonder! You are amazingly talented…well done!
♥ Heidi

Pat Scott

Jennifer Id love for you to do a piglet & elephant for me please . I have a great grand due 12-8 Id love to have for! We will find out 7-20 what it’s to be & I’ll let you kno! If you’ll email me prices & all! Tyvm


Hello Jennifer,

Absolutely amazing creation! I have a friend who would love this as a gift. Please let me know the pricing for one of these little guys.


Yolanda VanEyk

Hello Jennifer,
Please please please, can you make me one of these little darlings? Let me know how much it cost and I will confirm. I can’t crochet. I can paint, maybe we can swap it for a painting you like? But I’m most willing to pay with normal money!
Cheers, Yolanda


Hi Jennifer,
Not only have you made a beautiful Hippo, your blog is amazing to.
Is there anything you can’t do… XxX

Your Hippo has definitely inspired me to get my threads out, and have a look at what I have…
Maybe this could be my next project.!!!

Keep up the great work you do, I look forward to seeing more of your Glorious Hippo’s….


I’ve always loved this design, especially your tiny, colorful version! Beautiful work!