Q-Tip Skeletons


While browsing Pinterest for not-too-scary Halloween art for the kids, I came upon the idea of making skeletons out of Q-tips.  


  • Large black construction paper (12×18 inches)
  • Q-tips or cotton swabs (16 full-length, 3 cut to 3/4 length, 10 cut short)
  • Liquid glue
  • Skulls (printed or hand-drawn)
  • Scissors
  • Googly eyes (optional)

While preparing this craft, I made three changes to the Q-tip skeletons I had seen online. (Specifically, I modeled ours after this one from Woo Jr with a few changes.)  First, I used the larger 12 by 18 inch size construction paper so that our skeletons would fit more easily and in a greater variety of positions. Secondly, I added two extra swabs– a 3/4 length one to extend the spine and a full-length one to represent hips.  This way, the legs didn’t come out from the ribs and I felt like our skeletons were more proportionally correct.  (I realize accuracy isn’t a top priority when one is crafting a skeleton from cotton swabs, but I preferred the way the skeletons looked with these extra pieces).  Finally, I added googly eyes to our skulls because I had some on hand and I’m slightly obsessed with googly eyes at the moment.

p1020351Before the kids joined me, I cut our cotton swabs into the necessary sizes.  (This is not easy to do.  Make sure you have very sharp scissors and be prepared for pieces to go flying around the room).  Then I set out the materials and the kids got to work.  I guided the kids in positioning their skulls and the swabs which made up the ribs, spine, and hips.  Once these nine swabs were in place, I encouraged the kids to be creative in completing their skeletons.

p1020367M (just turned 3) didn’t quite get the gist of this craft but he was very excited about gluing nonetheless.  The other kids ranged in age from 4 to 9 and were able to complete the craft fairly independently.  The older kids in particular enjoyed deciding on poses for their skeletons.

Overall, this craft was a big hit will all the kids! I loved hearing them tell me what their skeletons were doing.  One was waving (photo 1 below), one was saying “Touchdown!” at the OU football game (2nd photo), and one was playing with a dinosaur toy (last photo).  E (3rd photo) wanted to make hers exactly like my sample.  It was so interesting to see how each child approached the craft a little differently and how no two skeletons were exactly the same.  This is definitely a craft I’ll be keeping in my files to pull out again.

finished skeletons

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