Easy Paper Crafts for Your Kids

Jump-start your child's creativity with these simple crafts made from all varieties of colorful paper.

  • Photograph by Alexandra Grablewski

    Paper Glass

    Turn coffee filters into pretty paper glass with this crafty idea from a Nashville art teacher.

    Rachel Motta is an art teacher with the Metropolitan Nashville Public School district in Tennessee. A firm believer in the idea that art is for everyone, she loves planning lessons with projects that students can interpret in their own way, with no wrong answers. Here, she shares an example that was a hit with her students.

    A trio of exhibitions of Dale Chihuly's contemporary glass sculptures in Nashville inspired this project. Chihuly created a series of colorful, organic, bowl-shaped forms called Macchia (the word means spotted in Italian). For our student version, we used coffee filters. The translucency of the paper mimics the look of glass.

    1. Use scissors to trim the edge of a coffee filter to create an uneven, organic shape.
    2. Make lines, spots, and blobs on the coffee filter with non-permanent markers.
    3. Drape the coffee filter over an upside-down plastic cup or yogurt container.
    4. Apply spray starch to the filter until the marker colors bleed together and the coffee filter is completely wet.
    5. Let the filter dry.

    Originally published in the December/January 2015 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

  • Photograph by Alexandra Grablewski

    Tube Town

    Transform cardboard tubes into cute cottages in just a few simple steps.

    1. Paint the tube and let it dry.
    2. Make two angled cuts into one end of the tube to form a point. Fold a 3- by 3 1/2-inch piece of scrapbook paper in half, then set it on the pointed end as a roof. Use tacky glue to secure it.
    3. Make two cuts to create a rectangular door, as shown. Glue on a bead for a doorknob.
    4. Draw windows onto colored paper, cut them out, and attach them to the cottage using a glue stick.
    5. For a chimney, fold a strip of paper into a four-sided, open-ended box, and glue it to the roof.

    Originally published in the November 2014 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

  • Kid Craft: Cute Paper Animal Heads
    Kid Craft: Cute Paper Animal Heads

    Cute Cone Heads

    To create a member of this colorful menagerie, cut a circle 4 to 7 inches wide from card stock, then cut a pie slice from the circle. Roll the circle into a cone and secure it with glue dots. Cut out card stock ears. Attach them opposite the seam with tacky glue. Add white office sticker eyes and glue on a pom-pom nose. Draw details with marker. To hang, glue a small rectangle of card stock to the top inside of the cone, fold the flap down, and tack it to a wall.

    Originally published in the February 2014 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

  • Photograph by Alexandra Grablewski; Idea used by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Boston, MA, roostbooks.com.

    Big Flake

    Make an epic paper snowflake using this technique from Side by Side, a book of collaborative crafts for parents and kids by Tsia Carson.

    Working on the floor, lay 9 full-size sheets of newspaper in a three-by-three grid to form a square, then tape the sheets together. Fold and cut the square into a paper snowflake, as you would with a regular-size piece of paper. (Need a snowflake-cutting refresher? Go to firstpalette.com and search for "paper snowflake.") Carefully unfold the paper and admire!

    Originally published in the February 2014 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

  • Alexandra Grablewski

    Paper Cats

    Our sleek family of construction paper cats is the purr-fect project for little crafters.

    1. Print out our cat template, then trace it onto a sheet of black construction paper.
    2. Cut out the pieces and assemble the cat with a glue stick according to the template directions.

    Originally published in the October 2012 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

  • Paper Stars
    Paper Stars

    Paper Stars

    These hanging stars may look store-bought, but they're a cinch to cut and fold.

    Originally published in the June/July 2012 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

  • Greeting Card Flower Pendant
    Greeting Card Flower Pendant

    Greeting Card Jewelry

    Regift a pretty card by turning it into a flower pendant or pin for someone special.

    Originally published in the May 2012 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

  • Vacation Countdown Caterpillar
    Vacation Countdown Caterpillar

    Vacation Countdown Caterpillar

    Your kids will love tearing daily links from this adorable paper-chain caterpillar to count down the days until an exciting trip or event!

    Make It: Trim a few sheets of colorful double-sided cardstock into strips. Staple or glue the edges together as you help your kids form the chain. Accent the caterpillar with cute pom-pom feet, googly eyes, and a heart-shape felt-sticker mouth. Finish this cute little guy by punching two small holes in the head and threading a short chenille stem through each to create curly antennae.

  • Scott Little

    Paper Ice Cream Cone

    At last -- a delicious-looking ice cream cone that won't melt in the summer sun!

    Make It: Roll textured brown cardstock into a cone shape and secure with a brown brad. Crumble a piece of tissue paper into a ball, and help your child tape strips of colorful patterned paper around it. Attach to the cone. Use red buttons and a little hemp string for a perfect cherry topper.

  • How To Make Paper Ice Cream Cone Decorations
    How To Make Paper Ice Cream Cone Decorations
  • Scott Little

    Paper Mosaic Place Mats

    Your children can use their imaginations to create mosaic-style landscapes that look picture-perfect as place mats on your dining room table.

    Make It: Select a large piece of cardstock or thin cardboard for the backdrop. Sketch rough outlines of a simple landscape or have your kids create their own. Let your kids tear colored paper to glue onto the cardboard. When the design is finished, take it to an office supply store for laminating.

  • Scott Little

    Summer ABC Book

    Capture your child's summer memories in this easy-to-make index-card book. Your child can choose people, places, and activities to add under each letter of the alphabet.

    Make It: Help your child plan fun ideas for each letter; cut out corresponding pictures from magazines or take your own photos. Mat images with patterned paper and adhere to index cards.

    To display a letter on each page, write the letter on a white circle and mat with patterned paper. Separate each page with plastic index-card dividers, and create a durable back cover by trimming the tab from an extra divider. Punch holes in the upper corners of the cards and dividers and insert a binder ring. Tie pretty ribbon on the ring. Decorate the cover with stickers to complete this unforgettable keepsake.

  • Scott Little

    Pretty Paper Fans

    Cooling down on a hot day has never been sweeter! Let your children choose paper to fit their personalities.

    Make It: For each fan, trim a 12x12-inch piece of heavyweight cardstock to 8x12 inches. Use a decorative border punch along a long edge of the sheet. To simplify the folding process, score at every inch with a scoring blade. Fold accordion-style. Gather at the bottom edge, punch a hole through all folds, and tie a decorative ribbon to complete a lovely fair-weather fan.

  • Jay Wilde

    Paper Mobile

    Watch your child's artwork twist and twirl at even the slightest gusts when you hang paper clip art characters on this cute mobile.

    Make It: Select royalty-free clip art to use for your mobile (we chose nature-theme images). You'll need two versions: the standard icon and the icon flipped to be the mirror image (most image-processing software will allow you to do this; if you can't, simply doodle on one side of the art before hanging it). Print the standard images. Turn the paper over in your printer and print the mirror image on the back. Have your child color both sides with markers or crayons. Cut out the images when he's done, punching a hole in the top of each.

    Cover two dowels with patterned paper and tie them together with ribbon to form an X shape. Attach string to the images and hang them from the ends of the dowels. Add string at the top to hang the mobile.

  • Scott Little

    Fun Paper Kite

    This adorable paper kite is made from an old map -- perfect for inspiring all kinds of lofty adventures.

    Make It: Tie two dowels (one dowel should be longer than the other) into a cross shape with twine. Cut a notch on the edge of each dowel and stretch a string around the kite frame. Open a map and lay the frame on top. Trim around the frame, leaving a few inches to fold over the edges. Adhere the paper around the frame. Tie a long string for the tail to the back of the kite. Embellish the tail with ribbons and decorate the kite with a white paper cloud and theme stickers.

  • Stained Glass Kite
    Stained Glass Kite
  • Scott Little

    "Stained-Glass" Wall Hanging

    Your child will love watching the summer sun shine right through this beautiful "stained-glass" wall hanging made from colorful tissue paper.

    Make It: Paint an embroidery hoop in your child's favorite color. Cut the outline of a butterfly -- or any other shape -- from cardstock, to fit inside the hoop. Place the butterfly onto a piece of clear contact paper, sticky side up. Let your child tear up colored tissue paper to stick onto the wings. When you're done, place a sheet of tissue paper over the butterfly and add another layer of contact paper, sticky side down. Place inside the hoop and trim the edges. Hang with a ribbon near a sunny window.

  • Jay Wilde

    Spare-Change Papier-Mache Bowl

    Help your child keep her spare change ready for a shopping trip with this adorable papier-mache bowl.

    Make It: Line the inside and rim of a small glass bowl with plastic wrap. Have your kids tear up colorful tissue paper and stick the pieces to the inside of the bowl using a simple mixture of white glue and water. After you've added a few layers, let it dry; remove the glass bowl and plastic wrap. Have your kids spell out "savings" in cute letter stickers. Add a little decoration by punching holes around the rim of the bowl and threading a pretty ribbon through.

    Copyright © 2010 Meredith Corporation.

  • Photograph by Alexandra Grablewski

    Clever Collages

    Give your child an imagination workout with an open-ended activity that blends drawing and cool cutouts.

    The Setup
    From a magazine, cut out images -- half of a person or an object (such as a piece of fruit, as we show) or entire vehicles or buildings -- and glue them to sheets of drawing paper. Put out colored pencils or markers.

    The Project
    Encourage your little artist to complete the half images by adding legs, for instance, or a fish tail, or doors and windows. Suggest drawing a landscape for the cars and buildings. Your child can glue on more images and add a title, if desired.

    Bonus Fun
    Cut word balloons and text boxes from white paper. Use them to turn the collage into a comic book-style story.

    About this idea: This project is from Rachelle Doorley, who shares her creativity-sparking ideas on tinkerlab.com and in the book TinkerLab: A Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors.

    Originally published in the August 2015 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

  • Photograph by Alexandra Grablewski

    Color Your World

    Crepe paper streamers make vibrant, cheery crafts.

    Swish Sticks
    These fluttery wands call for a backyard parade. Cut 3-foot lengths from several streamer colors, then cut them in half lengthwise. Gather the pieces at one end. Place a drop of glue on the end of a painted dowel, stack the streamers on top, then securely attach them with a thumbtack. Glue a toy jewel on top of the tack.

    Trunk Show
    Dress up a tree or two for your next party. Start by wrapping a streamer around the trunk once and securing it to its end, not the tree, with double-sided tape. Continue wrapping until a few inches are covered, then secure the end with tape. Repeat with more colors.

    Originally published in the August 2015 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

  • Photograph by Alexandra Grablewski

    Have a Ball

    Create 3-D textured artwork with balled-up bits of crepe paper. Cut a rectangle from a cereal box and draw a simple image on the unprinted side.

    Crumple and roll 1 1/2-inch-long pieces of streamer into balls. Working on a section at a time, spread tacky glue onto the cardboard, then press the balls in place.

    Originally published in the August 2015 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

  • Photograph by Alexandra Grablewski

    Pencil Pals

    Our spiky-haired pencil topper is a welcome homework helper. Stack three 4 1/2-inch lengths of streamer, then cut fringe into one long edge. Sandwich double-sided tape between the layers. Place tape on the bottom layer and roll the stack around the end of a pencil. Glue on googly eyes and a paper mouth.

    Originally published in the August 2015 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

  • Photograph by Alexandra Grablewski

    Cool Shades

    Match your lamp shade to your decor, for cheap. Starting at the bottom of a plain shade, simply wrap lengths of streamer around it, securing the ends with double-sided tape.

    Originally published in the August 2015 issue of FamilyFun magazine.