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These bendy childhood classics are the ultimate chameleons. Here are five fun and educational pipe cleaner crafts – kids will love this easy DIY activity.
A pack of pipe cleaners is a must for any craft caddy and, best of all, they can be reused again and again. Thanks to their structure, these tactile sticks are a great way for kids to work those fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination – all while flexing their creativity. Expect some happy children and some pretty epic creations, too, with these pipe cleaner crafts.
Kids can make their mates a wearable keepsake by fashioning pipe cleaners into a friendship bracelet. Start with a simple plait, then add shiny embellishments or words using letter beads or twist another pipe cleaner into a fun saying. Coloured string or some ribbons make the perfect finishing touch and the whole task works to strengthen their hands and fingers, which aids writing skills and more.
Step 1 Take three pipe cleaners and lay them flat, then add a twist at the end to ‘tie’ them together. This creates the base of the bracelet’s plait.
Step 2 Weave the pipe cleaners over and under each other, making a cool and colourful design. There’s no right or wrong way to plait them; as long as they stay together, it will work.
Step 3 Slip coloured beads onto the finished plait, making sure you choose ones with a centre hole big enough to slide over the pipe cleaners.
Step 4 Craft another couple of pipe cleaners into words like ‘Bestie’ or your BFF’s name. You might want to write the word down first and bend the pipe cleaners over the top of the paper to give you a template.
Step 5 Wind some string or ribbon through your word, then attach the string to either end of the plait, holding it all in place. Finish with some bows, leaving the ends dangling for extra texture.
Who doesn’t love a beautiful jar of blooms? And the best part about a pipe cleaner bouquet is it will last forever. The main part of this project – creating the vase – is great for concentration and dexterity. As for designing the flowers, let the kids exercise creativity and imagination as they decide on which kind of petals and blooms to create.
Step 1 Use a cardboard roll to trace a small cardboard circle. Cut out and attach to the bottom of the roll using a low temperature glue gun. (It’s always good to have an adult close by when using a glue gun.)
Step 2 Twist 10-15 metallic pipe cleaners into one long ‘train’.
Step 3 Cover the cardboard roll in double sided sticky tape, from the top to the bottom.
Step 4 Beginning at one end, slowly wrap the pipe cleaner ‘train’ around the cardboard roll until you reach the top.
Step 5 Make fun flowers in all shapes, sizes and colours using green pipe cleaners for the stem and leaves and yellow as the blooms’ centre.
Take book covering to the next level with this pipe cleaner hack. It’s as simple as layering colours from the bottom to the top of the book, then adding a spine to avoid any spiky bits. The final touch is to label it with a class name. Not only will this task practice colour sorting, pattern design and more, it is also a great rainy-day school holiday project.
Step 1 Take a plain exercise book and, using a low temperature glue gun, add a line or two of glue along the bottom of the book. Press a pipe cleaner into the glue.
Step 2 Add another glue line and press down more pipe cleaners working your way up. Repeat until you get to the top.
TIP Don’t add more than a line or two of glue at a time, as it will dry before you get a chance to stick on your pipe cleaner. You may want to practice your design first on a flat surface.
Step 3 Trim the ends of the pipe cleaners, cutting the spine end flush against the book and the right-hand side with about a centimetre hanging over.
Step 4 Bend the ends of the right hand side over the cover and press onto the inside to keep the edge soft to touch.
Step 5 Attach one or two pipe cleaners to the outside of the spine with a strip of glue. This will cover any spiky bits.
Step 6 Cut small pieces of pipe cleaner to make a word like ‘maths’ or even your name. Attach to your furry tactile cover with the low temperature glue gun.
A quick and easy task for kids both big and small, this design works as a mini frame for a favourite photo, a door handle sign or a pretty Christmas tree decoration. All it takes is some weaving of pipe cleaners to make the frame. Taking two pieces of pipe cleaner to add a cross shape in the middle gives the photo a backing so it won't fall out.
Step 1 Plait or twist three pipe cleaners together to make your frame’s design.
Step 2 Bend the plait into a circle and twist the ends together to secure them. If you want a larger frame, make two plaits and then craft them into a circle.
Step 3 Twist the centre of one pipe cleaner into two small loops, making a bow. Attach it to the top of your frame, by twisting the ends around the plaited circle.
Step 4 Trace the frame onto a piece of cardboard. Cut out for the backing of your photo and add a pipe cleaner cross at the back of the frame to hold it in place.
Step 5 Glue a photo onto the cardboard and slip into the frame so that it sits snugly in place.
TIP To print your photos, visit Officeworks Print & Copy Shop.
Challenge your kids to get creative by developing their own pencil topper. It could be anything from an animal to a starburst, shape, letter or more. This will develop their fine motor skills as they twist, trim and manipulate the fuzzy sticks into a cool topper. Trust us, once they start they won’t stop until every pencil in the house has a fancy hat.
Step 1 Twist a pipe cleaner around the top of a pencil, leaving 5-8cm sticking up at the top.
Step 2 Make a loop using the straight end, by twisting it back on itself, attaching back to the base of the pencil.
Step 3 Cut more pipe cleaners into small even lengths.
Step 4 Attach them by twisting through the loop.
Step 5 Repeat with lots of colours and lengths, making a fun and creative starburst.