How to Make a Totem Pole out of Paper Towel Rolls

Things You'll Need

  • 1 paper towel tube
  • Acrylic craft paint, markers or crayons
  • Brown construction paper or butcher paper
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • White craft glue
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Glue gun (optional)
  • Craft foam (optional)

How to Make a Totem Pole out of Paper Towel Rolls. Totem poles are beautiful works of art created by the Indians of the Pacific Northwest coast. Each totem pole represents a story of an Indian family's history and ancestral spirits. The poles can carry detailed images of bears, eagles, beavers, otters, wolves, sea lions, salmons, whales, moose and porpoises.

Cut a piece of brown construction paper large enough to wrap around the entire paper towel tube with just a little overlap.

Lay the construction paper flat and use the ruler to divide it into 4 or more sections. Draw an animal face on the middle of each section, making sure that the face will show on the front of the totem pole. Use paint or colored markers to decorate the faces. Allow it to dry.

Wrap the construction paper around the paper towel tube and glue the seams in place.

Draw wings for some of the totem faces on construction paper or craft foam, and decorate them with crayons, markers or paint. Cut them out and attach them to the back of the tube with craft glue or tape.

Snip a small triangle shape from construction paper, crease it down the center to make it pointy, and glue it to the bird faces.

Create a base for the totem pole by gluing it to 2 popsicle sticks. A hot glue gun works well for this.


  • Older kids can make 3-D totem poles by creating features from clay and attaching them to the totem faces.

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