How to Make Insects With Pipe Cleaners

Butterfly sideview image by jshynes from

Things You'll Need

  • Pipe cleaner (colors of your choice and black)
  • Scissors
  • Craft glue
  • 3 foam crafts balls (2 inches wide)
  • Black acrylic latex paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Hot glue gun with glue sticks
  • Googly eyes

Pipe cleaners can be used for a variety of crafts projects and a popular one is to use them to make insects. Using pipe cleaners, you can make a number of different little critters, including butterflies or ants. Making insects out of pipe cleaners is a fun and educational craft for kids. Not only will kids have fun fashioning pipe cleaner bugs, they will also enjoy learning about the different parts of the bug, the bug's diet and habitat. With a few crafts supplies and a supply of pipe cleaners, you're all set to start making pipe cleaner bugs.

Pipe Cleaner Butterfly

Cut two pieces of pipe cleaner 8 inches long, or however long you would like the body of your butterfly to be. Twist the two pieces together tightly to make a thick body, and leave an inch of pipe cleaner untwisted at the end. Pull the untwisted pieces outward a little to create your butterfly’s antennae.

Cut a 7-inch piece of pipe cleaner and glue one end to the top of your butterfly body just under the antennae, then curve it and glue the other end to the bottom of your butterfly body. Repeat this step on the opposite side with another piece of pipe cleaner to make wings on either side of the butterfly’s body.

Bend one of your wings inward in the center to make the shape of a butterfly’s wing. Repeat with the other wing so that both wings look the same. You can now adorn your butterfly with googly eyes, rhinestones, glitter, construction paper or any other decorative elements you choose. If you prefer, you can leave your butterfly undecorated.

Pipe Cleaner Ant

Paint your foam balls black with acrylic latex paint, which is the best paint to use for painting foam. Allow the paint to dry for an hour, or longer if the brand of paint you're using specifies a longer drying time. Make sure the balls are completely dry to the touch before proceeding.

Use a hot glue gun to glue your three balls together in a line. This will be your ant’s body. Have an adult perform this step, as hot glue can be dangerous for children to work with.

Cut six pieces of pipe cleaner 2 inches in length. Apply a little craft glue to one end of your pipe cleaner and insert it into the underside of the center ball to a depth of half an inch. Bend the pipe cleaner sticking out down and out into an L-shape to form one of your ant’s legs. Repeat on one side of your ant’s body two more times with additional pieces of pipe cleaner and then add legs to the other side of your ant's body as well.

Glue craft googly eyes onto one of the end balls of your ant’s body. You can now decorate with any additional accents you like or leave your ant as is.


  • Never leave a hot glue gun unattended.