This idea was inspired by the book Poupées Marionettes et Pantins by Ilse Strobl-Wohlschalger, a vintage craft book from 1968. These paper tube people are easy to make and are fun for small world play! My five year old really enjoyed crafting these up with me, and he managed all the steps by himself.

Paper Tube People by Francine Clouden

Supplies for Paper Tube People:

  • Paper tube from a roll of paper towels or plastic wrap, about 1″ to 1&1/2″  in diameter
  • Wooden spheres or beads 1&1/2 ”  to 2″  diameter.
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Strong wood or craft glue
  • Yarn
  • Fabric scraps
  • Ribbon scraps
  • Scissors
  • Paint brushes
  • Permanent marker
  • Craft knife
  • Cutting Mat

Paper Tube People Craft Supplies

First, cut your tube into pieces 3″ to 4″ long

Building Paper Tube People

Next cut fabric slightly taller that the tube, and wide enough to fit around. Apply glue to long edges of fabric

Crafting with Kids

apply glue to fabric - Paper Tube People

Align the edge of the paper tube with the edge of the fabric as shown, and wrap fabric around the tube.

Paper Tube People by Francine Clouden for Make and Takes

Tuck the excess piece into the top of the tube

Paper Tube People by Francine Clouden for Make and Takes

Paper Tube People by Francine Clouden for Make and Takes

Apply glue along the join of the fabric, and add a piece of ribbon

Paper Tube People by Francine Clouden for Make and Takes Paper Tube People by Francine Clouden for Make and Takes

To make the arms, cut a popsicle stick into two and wrap fabric around them to make sleeves

Paper Tube People by Francine Clouden for Make and Takes

Stick the arms to the sides of tube

Paper Tube People by Francine Clouden for Make and Takes Paper Tube People by Francine Clouden for Make and Takes

Paper Tube People: Crafting with Kids

While waiting for the body to dry, it’s time to give them heads!

Use the permanent marker to draw a face on the wooden sphere

Paper Tube People by Francine Clouden for Make and Takes-17 Paper Tube People by Francine Clouden for Make and Takes-22

Cut some yarn for the hair, and glue to top of head

Paper Tube People by Francine Clouden for Make and Takes-19

Paper Tube People by Francine Clouden for Make and Takes-20

Tip: It might be easier for younger children to stick the hair on first and then draw the face, using the hair as a reference.

Finally, stick your head on top of the tube

Paper Tube People by Francine Clouden for Make and Takes-23

Crafting With Kids: Paper Tube People Puppets

We made another set too. Once they are all dry it’s time to play!

Kieran With Paper Tube People - Make and Takes

(Yes, that’s a cheesy take a photo grin)

Paper Tube People Craft for Kids

Kieran told me they are a family, the Dad, Mom and two sisters, even though they are all the same size. So you can go ahead and make yours different heights, and maybe make them to represent your own family?

Have fun crafting up some small world play!