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Pipe Cleaner Characters

Pipecleaner People

This activity was devised by my daughter (Brittany) when I gave her a craft box full of goodies for her 6th birthday. I recommend this project for children 6 and over as cut pipe cleaners can be sharp on the ends.


Coloured pipe cleaners in various sizes and thicknesses.

Plastic beads with medium sized holes big enough for the pipe cleaners to fit in snugly. Pony (pebble) beads are good for this project.

An old pair of scissors or a pair of wire cutters. Only use scissors you don’t care much about as they will quickly become blunted and may chip. Pre-cut the pipe cleaners into various sizes if your child is very young. You may also want to bend the tips of the cut pipe cleaners over and squash them flat with a pair of pliers to get rid of any sharp ends.


Most children will find it fun to be left with the pipe cleaners and beads to make whatever characters they like, but if your child prefers a more structured activity here are the steps one by one:

1: Take a longer length of pipe cleaner and bend into the shape shown in the diagram on the right.

2: Twist once where the pipe cleaner crosses over itself to hold it in shape.

3: Thread beads onto the legs and bend feet forward to hold the beads in place.

4: Cut a shorter piece of pipe cleaner and wind around where the body pipe cleaner crosses itself to form the arms (see photo). Thread on beads and bend hands forward to hold the beads in place.

5: Add pigtails using short pieces of pipe cleaner if desired. Curl over the ends of the pigtails to hold the beads in place.


Copyright © Brittany Overton 1999