No craft station is complete without a stash of pipe cleaners and with good reason: These bendy beauts are budget-friendly and can be used in a variety of ways by a range of ages. That’s why we rounded up 20 pipe cleaner crafts for kids to spark creativity, hone fine motor skills and use up all that stuff you bought that one time you went overboard at Michael’s.
20 Fun and Easy Pipe Cleaner Crafts for Kids
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1. Beaded Pipe Cleaner Flowers
Your kid will love building this beautiful bouquet that, unlike the real thing, is completely low maintenance once assembled. Pipe cleaners give structure to both the stem and petals of these flowers, while pony beads make the finished product look extra fancy. This craft is simple enough for little ones as young as three to enjoy, and the beading aspect makes it an excellent exercise for fine motor skills—minus the frustration that thread or string would inevitably bring to the table.
2. Pipe Cleaner Daisy Rings
Adorable pipe cleaner bling that—with a little guidance—is easy enough for little kids to make. Best of all, this craft is completely mess-free, since pipe cleaners are the only supply you need to pull off this project.
3. Pipe Cleaner Borax Crystal Ornaments
Before you attempt this craft, you should know that borax is not safe to ingest—but if your child is old enough to resist the temptation to taste the materials, then this project is fair game. Pipe cleaners are twisted into unique creations before being steeped in a mixture of borax, boiling water and food coloring. The end result? A crystal-coated work of art that looks lovely when dangling just about anywhere.
4. Egg Carton Spy Glasses
Your resident sleuth will be pleased as punch to craft these nifty spy glasses (and then use them for every variety of top secret mission). Extra bonus? The pipe cleaner arms of these specs are flexible, ensuring a prop that can actually withstand intense rounds of pretend play, replete with rough and tumble super spy gymnastics.
5. Heart Pencil Toppers Craft
If there’s one thing a No. 2 pencil needs, it’s a little bit of personality. Set your kid up with some pipe cleaners and work together to create a pencil topper so pretty that your pre-K kid will request writing exercises and your tween will rush off to write in her journal.
6. Pom Pom And Pipe Cleaner Dolls
These undeniably charming and flexible figurines are an ideal accessory for any dollhouse. The crafting process itself is fairly intricate, so don’t attempt this one with a toddler—but definitely team up with the big kid in your house for some parent-child bonding and a finished product that’s sure to inspire pride all around.
7. Clothespin And Pipe Cleaner Butterflies
Once again, your kid’s fine motor skills will get a workout while stringing colorful beads on pipe cleaners to complete this sweet clothespin butterfly craft. Plus, there’s loose glitter involved, so it’s guaranteed to be an instant hit with the younger crowd—just be sure to have your vacuum cleaner standing by.
8. Celery Stamped Flowers
A genius designed this craft to make the task of dinner prep with kids a little less stressful. Plop your mini at the kitchen table with a bit of paint and the bottom part of a celery head—you know, the one you just chopped off for tonight’s stew. Once the colorful petals have been stamped on paper, hand your little one some green pipe cleaners to glue down for stems. Preschoolers can see this one through with minimal intervention—and who doesn’t love a craft that encourages independence?
9. Pipe Cleaner Apple Tree Craft
You know that gnarled stick your kid convinced you to let him bring home from your last walk? Well, against all odds, there might just be a way to put it to use. Have your nature-lover string some green and red beads on a pipe cleaner before molding it into the shape of an apple. Then, hang those beauties from a branch to achieve an apple tree design so endearing that, despite the sudden ant problem, you won’t even regret bringing that random twig indoors .
10. Rainbow And Pot Of Gold Craft
No need to wait for St. Patrick’s Day to test out this pot of gold craft with your brood. Children of all ages will enjoy assembling the rainbow and painting the various components of this impressive display, which requires only pipe cleaners and recycled materials to construct.
11. Hedgehog Ring Toss Game
We love a craft that keeps on giving, which is precisely why this homemade ring toss game screams artsy success. (Just kidding, there’s no actual screaming involved—the kids are too busy out back playing a rousing lawn game.) Of course you could buy a ring toss set—but is that money well-spent when you can make this beaut with nothing more than a cardboard box and that pack of pipe cleaners that has been gathering dust ever since your last project?
12. Paper Straw Bendy Snakes
Reptiles and googly eyes: Let’s be honest, this one is a shoo-in. Preschoolers can practice scissor skills while chopping up colorful straws before showcasing their fine motor finesse as they thread the tubes onto the snake’s pipe cleaner body. This effortless craft is a great way to keep young kids occupied with a creative endeavor that simultaneously hones valuable skills.
13. Cat In The Hat Pencil Topper
Presenting serious pencil pizzazz that’s sure to please any fan of Dr. Seuss’s books (i.e., everyone). Grab your kid and work together to coil and craft this pipe cleaner Cat in the Hat embellishment. The finished product looks clever and the process only takes a few minutes to complete—making it an ideal project for whenever you want to get your child to change gears, but don’t want to commit to a more time-consuming undertaking.
14. Halloween Monster Wreath
Older kids will love making this quirky wreath, which promises to help ring in the Halloween season with a decidedly cool, Jim Henson-esque aesthetic. Googly eyes come to life when attached to pipe cleaner springs and the bright orange boas are a treat for all the senses—just be sure to keep them away from toddlers or endless costume play will take precedence over crafting goals.
15. Pool Noodle Spiders
You need not be a master crafter to help your child engineer an exceedingly simple and incredibly cute pool noodle spider that features colorful, spindly pipe cleaner legs. Little ones can flex their creative muscles by decorating their eight-legged friend however they see fit—and since the finished product floats, don’t hesitate to put it to use as a fun, new tub toy.
16. Rainbow Jellyfish Craft
Real talk: We love our little rascals but the truth is that precious few crafts our small children create actually look good when put on display. However, these rainbow-colored jellyfish are the exception to the rule. Playful and silly, yet aesthetically pleasing, this craft requires very little in the way of materials and can be done with hands-on help from a pint-sized artist. When you and your kid are done crafting, hang these creatures up for a whimsical effect that will brighten any room.
17. Pipe Cleaner Finger Puppets
Gather a few basic materials—pipe cleaners, pom poms, googly eyes—and then take your hot glue gun out of its holster. This fun finger puppet project will spark your child’s imagination during the crafting phase and facilitate plenty of pretend play down the road. As long as an adult is there to wield the hot glue gun, this guy is well-suited for wee ones, who can design puppets for a parent to assemble. When the masterpiece has set, grab some popcorn and head to the couch, grown-ups: You’re about to be treated to an original ten-finger performance.
18. Pipe Cleaner Rainbow Flower Bracelet
If your child has been eyeing (and possibly swiping) your jewelry, protect the valuable stuff by setting your little one up with a bracelet-making project that’s sure to make her feel glamorous. This entertaining, kid-friendly craft relies on basic and easy-to-find supplies—and the resulting wrist candy looks surprisingly polished.
19. Cardboard Tube Stork
Fact: There’s no limit to what you can do with a package of pipe cleaners and the skeleton of a toilet paper roll. If you don’t believe us, just check out this stork craft which comes together with nothing more than a cardboard tube, a couple feathers and a few pipe cleaners. This project requires some precision if you actually want the completed project to resemble a stork, but older kids will have no trouble assembling the bird independently and little ones can help with glue. (Just a dot, not a lot!)
20. 3d New Year’s Eve Craft
You don’t need fancy supplies to craft something that leaves both you and your kid with a sense of accomplishment. In fact, all you need is cardstock, glue and pipe cleaners for a festive project that invites kid-participation every step of the way, and boasts a pop-up effect that’s sure to wow your little. Warning: The finished craft might make you pine for the days of dioramas.