Crochet Basic Shapes for Amigurumi (+ sculptural crochet!)

Are you an aspiring amigurumi designer but always getting stuck on how exactly to crochet different shapes in amigurumi? Are you interested in sculptural crochet but aren’t sure how to shape amigurumi?

I’ve worked really hard to create a comprehensive guide below on all the basic shapes that I use when I design amigurumi.

You can use the quick pattern references below to help get you started as a baseline on a tricky shape, which you can then continue to modify.

If you crochet all of the shapes below, you will also develop a sense for how to shape your amigurumi on the fly.

Basic shapes are a foundation of pretty much every amigurumi out there, as I discuss in my guide to designing amigurumi, and every element can be broken down to a variation of one of the shapes below.

More like this:

What are the basic crochet shapes?

The basic shapes used in amigurumi design are spheres for heads and bodies, cylinders for limbs, hemispheres for ears, squares for clothing and accessories, lines for hair and accessories, circles, and ovals.

I’m just going to go over a few of these shapes below, but if you want to get the printable PDF for every single one of the shapes I talk about plus some bonus shapes, sign up below!

The photo above includes all the shapes that I use to design amigurumi! The top row has shapes made out of chains, the second row has flat pieces, and the third and fourth row have three dimensional pieces.

Here are examples of all of these amigurumi shapes in action.

Just these five shapes make up most of an amigurumi doll or stuffed animal. Spheres are the most common, and can be used as heads or elongated to make bodies.

Hemispheres are frequently used for limbs or ears, and ovals are used to add spots or white bellies.

Once you’ve mastered each of the shapes that I go over below, you’ll be able to modify them to make them bigger or smaller, longer or shorter of thinner or wider, to make any amigurumi you want!


  • BLO: back loop only
  • ch: chain
  • CC: contrast color
  • dec: decrease
  • inc: increase (work two single crochets in one stitch)
  • MR: magic ring
  • sc: single crochet
  • x sc: work x number of single crochets
  • st(s): stitch(es)
  • (x sts): total number of stitches for the round
  • (…) x: work all steps within parentheses x number of times

How to crochet lines, spirals, and corkscrews

Lines, spirals, and corkscrews are all crochet pieces based around chain stitches. These are incredibly useful for many amigurumi for tails, clothing details, legs, or anything else!

Line pattern

  • Row 1: chain 15 (15)

This line pattern is the simplest of the four. It’s just made of a series of chains, which you can make as long as you want.

I use this piece for a simple and straight tail, or for handbag straps. It also works like a charm for belt or suspender detailing on dolls!

Loose spiral

  • Row 1: chain 15 (15 sts)
  • Row 2: beginning from second chain from hook, sc across (15 sts)
  • Finish off.

This gentle spiral shape is created by working single crochet stitches into every chain stitch. Depending on your tension, you can achieve a gentler or more severe spiral pattern.

This spiral shape is very relevant to crochet hair, which is usually naturally curly because this technique is used. That means that to achieve straight hair, you’ll need to use a very loose tension as well as steam block the strands to straighten it out.

Don’t forget to grab the PDF patterns for all of these shapes, plus some bonus ones in my complete guide!


  • Row 1: chain 15 (15 sts)
  • Row 2: beginning from second chain from hook, inc x15 (30 sts)
  • Finish off.

This shape has a more pronounced spiral and is a little tighter naturally. This makes it an ideal candidate to be used anything that needs bouncy curls or spirals that don’t come undone easily.


  • Row 1: chain 15 (15 sts)
  • Row 2: beginning from second chain from hook, inc x15, chain and turn (30 sts)
  • Row 3: inc x30 (60 sts)
  • Finish off.

This corkscrew is the same tightness as the spiral, but the “threads” are wider because of the additional row of increases.

This shape is reminiscent of pasta and can be used when a larger, stronger spiral shape is called for.

How to crochet a circle

Circles are one of the most basic shapes that are used in amigurumi, because they form the bases of spheres, bodies, legs, arms, and all kinds of 3D pieces.

The most important characteristic of a crochet circle, is how many stitches you increase by each round. This is also called the multiple, because it defines how many times you work an increase each round.

If you look at the photo above, you can see that the higher the multiple, the flatter (and larger) the piece is. Also, the larger the multiple, the bigger the hole is going to be in the center.

For my entire breakdown on each of the five variants I’ve demonstrated above, read my blog post on how to crochet the perfect circle here.

Below, I’ve just included my favorite of the five.

Multiples of 6: Round

  • Round 1: 6 sc in MR (6 sts)
  • Round 2: inc x6 (12 sts)
  • Round 3: (sc, inc) x6 (18 sts)
  • Round 4: (2 sc, inc) x6 (24 sts)
  • Round 5: (3 sc, inc) x6 (30 sts)
  • Finish off.

This circle, with a multiple of 6, is almost perfectly round and is the ideal circle to use to create spheres, rounded limbs, or anything that needs to have a pleasant curve and not pointed.

In addition to the shape being ideal for spherical amigurumi pieces, it is also extremely easy to use it to shape amigurumi (change the rate at which it increases or decreases).

I mentioned before that the circle with a 5 multiple is difficult to work with. By contrast, this circle, which increases by 6 stitches per round, is exceptionally easy to work with because 6 is an easily divisible number.

This means that if I wanted to increase slightly faster, I could change the multiple to 8, or I could increase more slowly and change the multiple to 4 or even 2.

These are all ways to be able to affect the curve of the sphere/circle, and techniques that I use all the time to generate an ideal shape.

Because of its ease of use, a circle with a 6 multiple is almost the standard for amigurumi pieces, except for giant ones with blanket yarn (more on that later).

Additionally, although circles with a 6 multiple are really useful for making spheres and are naturally round, they can also be flattened to form a pseudo flat circle in a pinch because yarn is fairly flexible.

For this reason, I don’t often use circles with different multiples, even if I need the bottom of something to be flat.

How to crochet a square

  • Begin: chain 5
  • Row 1: Beginning from second chain from the hook, sc 4 across (4 sts)
  • Row 2-5 (4 rows): sc across (4 sts)
  • Work a single crochet border around the left, bottom, and right sides of the square, with three scs in each corner.

Squares aren’t used as often in amigurumi, but they can be useful to imitate some man-made shapes.

You can change the width this square simply by chaining more in the first row, and change the height by adding more rows.

I used a rectangle to make the sashimi tops in my sushi set pattern!

How to crochet an oval

  • Begin: chain 7 (7 sts)
  • Round 1: beginning from the second chain from the hook, sc around the foundation chain (12 sts)
  • Round 2: inc x12 (24 sts)
  • Round 3: (sc, inc) x12 (36 sts)
  • Finish off.

I love using ovals in my amigurumi designs because they’re so versatile. As appliqués, ovals come in handy for white bellies of animals, spots, or other embellishments.

However, my favorite way to use ovals is as an alternative method of creating spherical shapes. By starting with an oval, the resulting shape is an egg-shaped ovoid that opens up a huge amount of possibilities with amigurumi shaping.

Don’t forget to grab the complete PDF of all of these patterns, plus some bonus shapes, in my guide by signing up below!

How to crochet a perfect ball or sphere

  • Round 1: 6 sc in MR (6 sts)
  • Round 2: inc x6 (12 sts)
  • Round 3: (sc, inc) x6 (18 sts)
  • Round 4-5 (2 rnds): sc around (18 sts)
  • Stuff lightly.
  • Round 6: (sc, dec) x6 (12 sts)
  • Round 7: dec x6 (6 sts)
  • Finish off in the round.

How to modify this sphere pattern

This ball pattern is made up of three sections: the increasing section (rnds 1-3), middle section (rnds 4-5), and decreasing section (rnds 6-7).

As a general rule, for a perfect sphere the number of rounds in the middle section should be one round more than the increasing section.

For example, if you’ve started the ball and increase until the ball is 36 stitches all around (6 rounds), then you should sc around for 7 rounds, and then decrease until you can finish it off.

You can tell when to stop increasing when the piece has reached the diameter and circumference that you want.

You can modify this sphere pattern by adding more rounds in the increasing section, adjusting the decreasing section accordingly, and adding more rounds to the middle section.

After you’re capable of making a perfect sphere, you can change the shape subtly by changing the rate at which the ball grows larger or smaller.

Rearranging the order in which the increasing/middle/decreasing rounds occur will shape the head so that it looks more top heavy or bottom heavy.

  • To make the sphere larger on the bottom: rearrange the pattern so that a few of the middle section rounds occur in the increasing section, alternating with each increase round. Leave the decreasing section as is.
  • To make the sphere larger on top: rearrange the pattern so that a few of the middle section rounds occur in the decreasing section, alternating with the decrease rounds. Leave the increasing section as is.

Adding or removing rounds will affect the size of your sphere.

  • To make the sphere taller: Add more rounds into the middle section.
  • To make the sphere shorter: Remove some rounds from the middle section.
  • To make the sphere wider: Remove rounds from the middle section.
  • To make the sphere narrower: Add rounds into the middle section.

How to use spheres in amigurumi

The sphere is the most common shape that I use for designing amigurumi. Balls are incredibly versatile, and are my go-to when making a head, and can also be used for all sorts of other body parts or accessories.

How to crochet a hemisphere or semicircle

  • Round 1: 6 sc in MR (6 sts)
  • Round 2: inc x6 (12 sts)
  • Round 3-4 (2 rnds): sc around (12 sts)
  • Finish off in the round. For a semicircle, flatten.

This hemisphere pattern is just half of a sphere and has a huge array of possibilities for parts of amigurumi. If you flatten it to make a semicircle, it is a lot cleaner than creating a 2D semicircle and has a lot more structural integrity.

How to modify this hemisphere/semicircle pattern

To make this hemisphere larger or smaller, just add more increase rounds, and then sc around until you’ve reached the desired height or length.

You can also modify the shape of the flattened semicircle to make it wider or narrower.

  • To make it wider: Work more increase rounds.
  • To make it narrower: Work fewer increase rounds.

Another common way to modify the hemisphere pattern is to first make a hemisphere, and then sc around many times to create a rounded point of an arm, leg, or other piece.

Don’t forget, you can get all the patterns in this blog post in a convenient, printable PDF right here, plus some bonus shapes that only come in the PDF!

Elongated hemisphere

  • Round 1: 6 sc in MR (6 sts)
  • Round 2: (2 sc, inc) x2 (8 sts)
  • Round 3-9 (7 rnds): sc around (8 sts)
  • Finish off. Do not stuff for a flat limb, or stuff lightly.

Elongated hemispheres are hemispheres that continue to lengthen after the hemisphere is complete. In the pattern above, rounds 1 and 2 dictate how large the piece is, and rounds 3-9 dictate how long the limb is overall.

To make this limb wider or narrower, add more or fewer rounds to the section at rounds 1-2. To make it longer, add more “sc around” rounds to the end of the pattern.

How to use hemispheres and semicircles in amigurumi

How to crochet a hard turn

Hard turns are a technique used in amigurumi to create a corner. Most crochet pieces are naturally curved, so it can be difficult to create ninety degree angles.

In the cylinder above, I’ve used a hard turn technique to clearly define the top and bottom circles, as well as the middle section. If I didn’t use the hard turn, it would look a lot rounder on the top and bottom, and overall more bullet shaped instead of cylindrical.

To create a hard turn, simply work a back loop only round in the first round of the new section.

For example, in the cylinder above, I worked a back loop only round in the first round of the middle section.

In the cube below, I worked a back loop only round in the first “sc around” round.

The back loop only round sets off that round so that it is easier to be at an angle to the previous round.

You can see it in action in the two examples below!

How to crochet a cylinder

  • Round 1: 6 sc in MR (6 sts)
  • Round 2: inc x6 (12 sts)
  • Round 3: (sc, inc) x6 (18 sts)
  • Round 4: BLO, sc around (18 sts)
  • Round 5-11 (7 rnds): sc around (18 sts)
  • Stuff.
  • Round 12: BLO, (sc, dec) x6 (12 sts)
  • Round 13: dec x6 (6 sts)
  • Finish off.

This cylinder is created by crocheting a circle (rounds 1-4), crocheting “sc around” rounds to build up the cylinder, and then closing the cylinder off (rounds 12-13).

This cylinder uses a technique called a hard turn, which we discussed earlier.

How to modify this cylinder pattern

This cylinder can be made larger or smaller, taller or wider.

  • To make the diameter larger: make the initial circle larger by adding more rounds after round 4, increasing by 6 each time. You will need to decrease more corresponding to how much larger you made your initial circle.
  • To make the diameter smaller: make the initial circle smaller by moving on to the “sc around” section before round 4. You will need to decrease less later on.
  • To make the cylinder taller: add more “sc around” rounds to the middle section, until the cylinder is as tall as you want it.
  • To make the cylinder shorter: add fewer “sc around” rounds to the middle section.

How to use cylinders in amigurumi

Cylinders aren’t as common of a shape. Usually when I want to make a tube shape I’ll use the elongated hemisphere, but cylinders are occasionally useful when trying to imitate man-made objects.

These are some of the most basic shapes that I use in amigurumi, as well as instructions on how to modify them and how to use them in designs!

This is just a starting point for shapes, but once you get familiar with them then it will be much easier to make up new ones on the fly.

I hope this helps, and if you have more questions please leave a comment below or email me!

Don’t forget, you can get all the patterns in this blog post in a convenient, printable PDF right here, plus some bonus shapes that only come in the PDF!

Commonly Asked Questions

How to shape amigurumi

As a general rule, changing the rate of increasing or decreasing stitches is the most important factor in shaping amigurumi. Increasing at the same rate will result in an even slope, but increasing faster will make the shape fan out, and increasing more slowly will make the shape bottleneck.

How do you curve in amigurumi?

Curving in amigurumi is achieved by changing the rate of increasing or decreasing. If the work has been increasing by 6 stitches per round, changing the rate of increasing to 8 or 10 will result in a curve out. Changing the rate of increasing to 2 or 4 will result in a curve in.

Why is my amigurumi pointy?

Amigurumi piece form points when there are not enough stitches in the round to create a curve. If it is pointy, try manually pressing down on the point to eliminate it, or re-make the piece with two or four extra stitches in the initial round.

How can I make amigurumi more round?

Amigurumi pieces can be made more round by increasing by six each round. Increasing by seven or eight will result in flatter pieces, and increasing by less than six will result in pointier pieces.