I was flipping through Pinterest last night when I saw some photos of amazing miniature animal creations and realized that they were all made out of pipe cleaners.

That's something we have a lot of in the craft supply area at the nature center, so I figured it would be the perfect craft to feature on our website this week.

Following some basic instructions that you can build off of to make different animals, I tried a chameleon, turtle, bee and robin that all worked out successfully. I will admit I attempted to make a bald eagle and failed miserable. Perhaps you have more talent than I do.

Photo of pipe cleaner animals

Here are the basic instructions that I used to make my mom's favorite bird, a robin. Use it, build off of it and show us what animals you come up with!

To make a head, fold the pipe cleaner in the middle and make a loop.

Photo of a pipe cleaner being folded

Then wrap the tail that you folded over around the loop to fill it in, making a head.

Photo of pipe cleaner wrapped around a marker

Wrap another pipe cleaner around a marker --- the fatter the marker the fatter the body --- and then slide it off of the marker.

Photo of two pipe cleaners attached togetherSlide the curled body segment onto the head piece, attaching at the base of the head by crimping the top of the body segment onto the head piece. That's the basis of most animals. Then use other pipe cleaners to add color and shapes. I threaded through an orange pipe cleaner for a robin's belly and folded the bottom of the original pipe cleaner into a tail. I then cut a yellow pipe cleaner and folded it into feet and a beak.

A sticky googly eye adds personality!

Photo of a pipe cleaner robin

Pipe cleaner animals are tons of fun, because you get to use your imagination. Plus, if you mess up, a pipe cleaner costs hardly anything at all.

If you want to share your creations with us, e-mail naturecenter@co.dickinson.ia.us or post them on the Dickinson County Nature Center Facebook page!

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