How to Make a Giant Cardboard Penguin

Taking care of a cardboard penguin is easier than dealing with the real thing.
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From "Mr. Popper's Penguins" to "March of the Penguins," penguins have been capturing the spotlight in books and movies for years. Capturing the spotlight as a pet is a little harder, however, as it takes a huge amount of resources to create a penguin habitat. Luckily for the average penguin lover, some cardboard and other craft supplies can help you make your very own flightless bird, minus the freezing pool and sardine lunches.

Things You'll Need

  • White Tempera Paint
  • Black Tempera Paint
  • Three Paintbrushes Or Paint Pads
  • Pencil
  • Overhead Projector, Flashlight Or Lamp
  • Large Piece Of Cardboard
  • Yellow Tempera Paint
  • Glue
  • Utility Knife
  • Googly Eye
A silhouette gives you the basic body shape for  your cardboard penguin.
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Draw the outline of a penguin on a large piece of cardboard. Either draw the body shape freehand using a picture or print out a picture and project the silhouette onto the cardboard using an overhead projector, flashlight or lamp. Be sure to include a beak sticking out from the side of the face that matches the scale of the rest of the silhouette.

Cut the cardboard silhouette out using a sharp utility knife.

Paint the body and neck of the penguin white and wait five to ten minutes for the paint to dry. Add a second coat of paint if necessary; the need for this will depend on the thickness of the paint and the color of the cardboard. Wait five to ten minutes for it to dry.

Paint the feet, arms and face, excluding the beak, black and wait five to ten minutes for the paint to dry.

The neck ruff is the area where the head, neck and torso meet.
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Paint the beak and neck ruff (the feathers at the front of the penguin's neck) yellow and wait five to ten minutes for the paint to dry.

Glue the googly eye onto the head about one quarter of the face width from the beak.


  • Create a prop so that the penguin is freestanding by cutting a large triangle from the cardboard and bending it in half. Glue one side to the back of the penguin, making sure the bottom edge is flush with the floor.

    For easy cleanup, work over a plastic sheet or concrete surface.