Paper Chain Crafts

Paper chains are simple and easy to make from all kinds of paper or thin card. You can make them from newspaper, wrapping and wallpaper or make your own painted papers.

They can be any length and make wonderful decorations for birthdays and festive occasions as well as lots of creative activities!

This traditional paper craft is also great for helping little ones develop fine motor skills. (Please make sure they are supervised particularly when using scissors).

Making painted papers

For these activities, I made my own painted papers from A4 sugar paper. This is in itself is a fun activity for children to enjoy mark making, using different objects to create their own patterns and experimenting with colours.

3 photographs showing sheets of coloured paper painted with patterns using bottle tops, stencils and paint.

In my printed papers, I used both sides of a milk bottle top to make circles, as well as bubble wrap, the end of a felt pen lid and potato prints.

Making Paper Chains

I made my paper strips from painted A4 papers. I divided the A4 paper into 8.

This is  a great way for children to practise fractions by folding paper into half, then half again and finally half again to create 8 strips per sheet.

I then cut along the fold lines.

To make the chains, take one paper strip and glue or staple the ends together to form a loop.

Take a second strip and thread it through the first loop. Glue or staple the ends together to form a second loop.

Continue doing this until you have length required for whatever you are making.

Here are 5 paper chain crafts to enjoy making and customizing to create your own versions!

Snake

6 images showing the making up of a paper chain snake

You will need:

  • Paper or card for the snake face and tail and paper chains.
  • Paints, colouring pencils, felt tip pens or crayons for decorating the paper chains.
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Googly eyes (optional)
  • Stapler (optional)

Making Instructions:

  1. For the snake’s body, I made a paper chain of 15 loops, see the making paper chain instructions above. Remember you can make whatever length you choose, just make sure it’s an odd number.
  1. Cut out a triangle shape for the snake’s face and round off the 3 corners. (Each side of my triangle shape was roughly 8cm). Stick 2 googly eyes on the face. If you don’t have any googly eyes, then simply draw your own eyes on white paper, cut them out and stick them on. For the snake’s tongue, cut out a paper strip 1cm by 6cm. I cut a zig zag shape at the bottom to make the tongue forked.
  2. Stick the snake’s face onto one of the end paper chain.
  3. For the snake’s tail, cut out a smaller triangle shape, rounding off the 3 corners. Stick on to the other end of the paper chain.
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Octopus

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6 photographs of the making up of a paper chain octopus.

You will need:

  • Card for the octopus, approximately 30cm by 35cm.
  • Paper or card for the paper chains.
  • Paints, colouring pencils, felt tip pens or crayons for decorating the paper chains and octopus body.
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Hole punch and ribbon for hanging the octopus up (optional)
  • Stapler (optional)

Making Instructions:

  1. Cut out an octopus shape. The shape I cut was approximately 30cm wide by 35cm high. It looks a bit like a large egg shape with a straight lower edge!
  2. Have fun colouring in and decorating the octopus.
  3. Draw some eyes and a nose on white paper or card. Cut them out. Stick onto the octopus as shown in the photograph.
  4. Make 8 paper chains for the tentacles, using the paper chain instructions  above. I made each tentacle 8 loops long but you can choose what length you’d prefer! The final paper chain loop will need to be made a little smaller so there is paper left at one end which can be used to attach this last loop to the lower edge of the octopus (see bottom left photograph of making the octopus).To do this, glue or staple the one end of the loop about 5 cm away from the end. The last loop will look more like a d-shape rather than an o-shape.
  5. Stick the 8 tentacles along the back of the lower edge of the octopus.
  6. To hang your octopus up, punch a hole in the top, thread a length of ribbon through the hole and tie the ribbon ends together to create a loop.

Caterpillar

4 photographs showing the making up of a paper chain caterpillar.

You will need:

  • Paper or card for the antennae and paper chains.
  • Paints, colouring pencils, felt tip pens or crayons for decorating the paper chains.
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Googly eyes (optional)
  • Stapler (optional)

Making Instructions:

  1. For the caterpillar’s body, I made a paper chain of 10 loops using the making paper chain instructions above.
  2. Stick 2 googly eyes on one of the end paper loops. If you don’t have any googly eyes, then simply draw your own eyes on white paper, cut them out and stick them on.
  3. For the antennae, cut 2 strips of paper approximately 1cm wide and 12cm long. Wrap these paper strips around a pencil to make them curly. Glue one end of each strip to the catepillar’s head as shown in the photograph.

Jellyfish

6 iphotographs showing the making of a paper chain jellyfish.

You will need:

  • Card for the jellyfish, approximately 30cm by 25cm. (You could use, for example, a paper plate or cardboard cereal packet)
  • Paper or card for the paper chains.
  • Paints, colouring pencils, felt tip pens or crayons for decorating the paper chains and jellyfish body.
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Hole punch and ribbon for hanging the jellyfish up (optional)
  • Stapler (optional)

Making Instructions:

  1. Cut out a jellyfish shape. The shape I cut was approximately 30cm wide by 25cm high. I rounded the edges at the top to create a jellyfish shape.
  2. Cut a strip 5cm x 30cm or the same width as your jellyfish. This strip will be stuck onto the lower edge of the jellyfish.  You could cut the lower edge in a zig zag pattern or just leave it straight if you wish.
  3. Have fun colouring in and decorating the jellyfish and zig zag strip.
  4. Stick the zig zag strip onto the lower straight edge of the jellyfish.
  5. Draw some eyes on white paper or card. Cut out. Stick onto the jellyfish as shown in the photograph.
  6. Make 6 paper chains for the tentacles, using the paper chain instructions above. I made each tentacle 8 loops long but you can choose what length you’d prefer! The final paper chain loop will need to be made a little smaller. This is so there is paper left at one end which can be used to attach the last loop to the lower edge of the jellyfish (see top right photograph of making the jellyfish). To make a smaller last loop, glue or staple the one end of the loop about 5 cm away from the end of the other end. The last loop will look more like a d-shape rather than an o-shape.
  7. Stick the 6 tentacles along the back of the lower edge of the jellyfish.
  8. To hang your jellyfish up, punch a hole in the top, thread a length of ribbon through the hole and tie the ribbon ends together to create a loop.

Clouds & Rainbow

6 photographs of makingPaper plate clouds with red, yellow, pink, green, purple and orange paper chains attached to them at the lower edge.

You will need:

  • Coloured paper or card in rainbow colours or make your own painted papers for the paper chains.
  • 3 white paper plates
  • Scissors
  • pencil
  • Glue
  • Stapler (optional)
  • Hole punch and ribbon for hanging the clouds and rainbow paper chains up (optional)

Making Instructions:

  1. To create the rainbow effect, make 7 paper chains of the colours red, yellow, pink, green, purple, orange and blue, using the making paper chain instructions above. The final paper chain loop of each chain will need to be made a little smaller. This is so there is paper left at one end which can be used to attach the last loop to the lower edge of the clouds.To make a smaller last loop, glue or staple the one end of the loop about 5 cm away from the end of the other end. The last loop will look more like a d-shape rather than an o-shape. (see top left photograph of making the cloud & rainbow).
  2. Draw a cloud shape on each paper plate. Cut out the clouds.
  3. Put glue on the back of one of the clouds and stick this cloud to the 2 other remaining clouds to form a row of 3, see photographs.
  4. Stick the red, yellow and pink paper chain to the lower edge of the first cloud. Stick the green paper chain to the lower edge of the middle cloud and stick the purple, orange and blue paper chain to the lower edge of the third cloud.
  5. If you’d like to hang up your cloud & rainbow, punch a hole in the upper edge of the clouds and thread a length of ribbon through the hole and tie to form a loop.

Hope you have a wonderful time being creative!

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