Pipe Cleaner Pals


Pipe Cleaner Pals


Turn an everyday craft material into a jungle of fun when you make Pipe Cleaner Pals. These easy kids' crafts can be completed in minutes, but the results will provide endless fun. You no longer have to buy toys at the store because now you can make animal crafts that are just as good. Pipe cleaner crafts are inexpensive ways to have a blast, and since they cost pennies, you can make an entire farm full of your favorite animals. Twist, cut, and twirl to transform something ordinary into something extraordinary.

This fabulous tutorial is an excerpt from Martha Stewart's Favorite Crafts for Kids.

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Estimated CostUnder $10

Time to CompleteUnder an hour

Primary TechniqueGeneral Crafts


Age GroupPreschool & Kindergarten, Elementary School

Materials List

  • Pipe cleaners
  • Marker
  • Felt
  • Scissors or nail clipper
  • White craft glue


  1. To make a basic head: Make a loop in the middle of a pipe cleaner. The size and shape of the loop determine the size and shape of the head. Wrap head from neck to nose.

  2. To make a basic body: Coil pipe cleaner around a marker (the thicker the marker, the fatter the animal) and slide off.

To Make a Chameleon

  1. Make basic head and body shapes, leaving tail extra long for curling. Slide body into place. Slip legs between coils and twist to secure.

  2. Cut out felt eyes; Glue on. Bend legs at knees and feet. Cut a skinny pipe cleaner for tongue.

  3. Draw pupils on eyes with a permanent marker. Slide tongue into face; curl end.

To Make a Tiger

  1. Make basic head and body shapes. Slide body into place. Slip back legs over tail; Twist to secure. Slip front legs behind first coil and twist.

  2. Slide ears through top of head, and reshape. Bend tip of tail.

  3. Cut eyes and nose from felt; Glue on. Trim fur on face and ears with scissors. Add stripes with marker.

To Make a Squirrel

  1. Make basic head shape, leaving a shorter length on the end of the head piece for a hook. Hook a piece of fluffy pipe cleaner onto it. Make a short body.

  2. Slide body into place. Shape ears. Slip through top of head. Cut felt eyes; Glue on. Place legs over front and back coils, and Twist to secure.

  3. Curl tail.

To Make a Monkey

  1. Make basic head shape, leaving face loop unwrapped. Bend  tail up. Form a short body, and Slide into place. Slip long legs in front and back of the coils, and Twist to secure.

  2. Twist ends of ears onto head. Curl tail. Cut a yellow piece for a banana.

  3. Curl front paw around banana.

How are Pipe Cleaners made?

Have you ever stopped in the middle of a craft with pipe cleaners and wonder how exactly these handy little materials were made? It seems simple enough, but you may wonder where they came from. Pipe cleaners were initially, as the name suggests, used to clean smoking pipes. Their thin and bendable design made them the perfect tool for cleaning out small areas and tight spaces. Many musicians use pipe cleaners to clean between the keys or their instruments or their mouthpieces. However, the pipe cleaners can be used for other purposes aside from cleaning. Some use them as twist ties to seal food or as paintbrushes for detailed and delicate artwork. The pipe cleaners themselves are made from two pieces of twisted wire that trap fibers of various material in between. The pipe cleaners used for arts and crafts are usually made from polyester or nylon and made longer and thicker than the original smoking pipe cleaners. Lucky for the kids, they also come in lots of fun colors or in sparkly material for cuter crafts!

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These are great little critters and they really do look like tiny cute animals. Any kid would love making these and it would really keep,them occupied because they would want them to turn out great! An option would be to,use googly eyes to,give them a more comic look, but I think I like them as they are! Great instructions, thanks so much for sharing!

I love the chameleon! This is such a cute way to use pipe cleaners and I'm sure kids would love it.

What cute and fuzzy critters! My kids will love making the animals using their favorite colors of pipe cleaners. I can see them hours of fun trying to make them and then playing with them. This would a great way to keep them busy and also tell them some interesting facts about the animals they make.

Love, love, love, pipe cleaner animals! I have been known to put lengths of differently colored pipe cleaners in a ziplock bag, along with a pencil to wind pipe cleaners around for curls and springs. Our pipe cleaner kits keep kids busy for hours on the road, or at home, first creating and then playing with their creations.

These are super cute. Thanks so much for the idea!

These are adorable and were a huge hit with my kids!

They are sooooo cute!


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