How to Make a Skeleton From Paper Plates

Things You'll Need

  • 16 paper plates
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Twine or yarn
  • Black marker

Paper plate skeletons are an inexpensive Halloween craft, and they're so simple to make that any child old enough to use scissors can create them. Hang them from the ceiling or attach them to your front door to create a homemade Halloween decoration. Because the skeleton's bones are connected by strings, it appears to dance around whenever it's moved. Make sure to choose inexpensive, thin white paper plates with fluted edges — the sturdier, more costly kind will be harder to work with.

Draw a basic rectangular bone shape onto a paper plate with a pencil. The bone should be narrower in the center and wider at each end and should go from one end of the paper plate to the other.

Cut out the bone shape and use it as a guide to trace and cut out seven more identical bone shapes. These will create the arms and legs of the skeleton.

Place your hand on a paper plate and trace around it with a pencil. Cut out the hand shape, place it on another paper plate and trace around it. Cut out the second hand. Repeat these steps using your foot to create two foot shapes.

Draw a ribcage shape onto a paper plate by drawing one large vertical column down the center with three horizontal "ribs" on each side. Cut out.

Cut a semicircle from the top and bottom of a plate to create the hip bone shape. Repeat to create the shoulder shape. Cut two rounded triangles out of the bottom left and bottom right of a plate to create the skull.

Lay the shapes out on the floor to form a skeleton. Punch holes at the ends of each paper plate shape where it connects to another shape.

Connect each bone to the next by running a 4-inch piece of twine or yarn through one bone's hole, then through the connecting bone's hole and tying into a basic knot. Repeat until all bones are connected.

Draw a face on the skeleton's head with a black marker. Punch a hole in the top of the head and run a piece of twine through it to hang where desired.


  • Add personality to your skeleton with a construction paper top hat and bow tie.


About the Author

Betsy Morgan has been writing and editing professionally since 1995. She has written for publications like "Wired" magazine, "Paper" magazine and She has a Bachelor of Arts in history from Columbia University.