Pipe Cleaner Ninjas

Pipe Cleaner NinjasThe boys and I had SO MUCH FUN making ninjas out of pipe cleaners and beads this weekend!  (Yes, it was Easter, but they didn’t want to decorate eggs!)

I saw this idea for bead figures in the most recent Family Fun magazine, except that they did them as a girly craft with pink beads and pipe cleaner hair.  I figured that it would be really easy to make them look like more of a boy craft, and that the boys would love the fact that they could pose them.  I showed Aidan the picture in the magazine and suggested that we make them into ninjas, and he was totally on board with that idea!

Pipe Cleaner Ninjas

These ninjas were inexpensive to make, and once we got the process down, they took about 5 minutes each to make.  Aidan (age 9) and I did most of the work.  This is not an independent craft for kids younger than 8 or 9, but younger kids can help, and the end product is fun for all ages.

To make them, you will need:

  • Pipe cleaners
  • Colored drinking straws
  • Plastic pony beads
  • Wooden beads for the heads
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Sharpies – we used a fine tip black for the faces, and larger tipped colored ones to color the heads

Pipe Cleaner Ninjas

Step 1:  Twist 3 pipe cleaners together in the middle, and bend them to look like this:

Pipe Cleaner Ninjas

Make sure that you do at least a couple of complete twists, or the pipe cleaners won’t stay together.

Step 2:  Slide 3 pony beads over both of the legs together.

Step 3:  Cut a drinking straw into 8 1″ segments.  Slide two segments onto each arm.  Slide two segments onto each leg with a pony bead in the middle of the leg segments.

Pipe Cleaner Ninjas

Step 4:  Twist the extra pipe cleaner into hands and feet.  For the hands, I made one loop for the “hand” and a smaller loop for a thumb.  Then I wrapped the excess around the wrist to help keep the straws from sliding off.  For the feet, I just made one loop and then wrapped the excess around the ankle.

Step 5:  Draw a face on a wooden bead and slide it over the top two pipe cleaners.  Since we didn’t want hair, we needed a way to deal with the extra pipe cleaners sticking out of the top of the head.  What we ended up doing was twisting the two pipe cleaners a few times, cutting it off, and putting a little Tacky Glue on the pipe cleaner ends to keep them from untwisting.  I figured that the ends would stick to the head like a little pony tail.  Well, the ends did not stay attached to the head, but with the glue, they haven’t untwisted, and the heads have not come off.

The boys drew several faces, but then everyone ended up just wanting a ninja face drawn by Mom, so most of these didn’t get used.  I thought they turned out so cute!

Pipe Cleaner Ninjas

Here is what the completed ninjas look like:

Pipe Cleaner Ninjas

After we finished making the ninjas, Aidan got right to work making swords for them out of silver pipe cleaners.  These ninjas have entertained the boys for hours since we made them!  Lots of pretending and dueling and making more accessories for them.

Pipe Cleaner Ninjas

I think it would be fun to use this same process to make superheroes with duct tape capes.  I suggested that idea, but the boys just wanted ninjas.  We made some Lego capes out of duct tape, and I think you could use the same process and just make them bigger.

Sometimes it can be hard to keep bigger boys busy, which is why I loved this craft!  For more ideas for older boys (8+) check out my Pinterest board.

Pipe Cleaner Ninjas


  1. says

    Hey! Glad I found your blog! I will definitely try it with my boy. My kids love to make crafts! And this is cheap and good fun! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Stacey Harris says

    We got the supplies for this after church today, and came home and did these.,,, So much fun… we aren’t ones to follow ALL directions.. so ours are a bit different… but still FUN, and GREAT for fine motor skills!

  3. says

    Another awesome one. Even with three boys of my own, I struggle with getting the older boys at AFters engaged … your ideas are fantastic!

  4. Suz says

    I came across this idea a few days ago and yesterday afternoon (Sunday) my 9 year old was getting bored so I showed him these. He made one then my other two boys decided they wanted one too, so at the moment I have three very excited boys who LOVE their ninjas. My 5 year old even put it in a special place to keep him safe. :-) Blessings

  5. Raewyn says

    Thanks heaps for putting up these photos and instructions. We are hosting a book trailer holiday program and I needed inexpensive pose-able figures for the participants to make. Fantastic. Thanks to your boys too for testing the craft and approving wholeheartedly!

  6. cindy says

    I’m wondering if you know what size wooden beads you used and size of holes. Looking at making for scout camp. Thanks.

  7. says

    LOVE! These pipecleaner ninjas look like such fun! Great for rainy days at home and wonderful quiet fun for time in the car or plane, too!

    I will put a link on my website for them and would love a shout out!

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas!

  8. says

    I did this with my son and nephew and they both loved it! I even had fun and made a couple girly ones. I didn’t cut the top pieces off and I put beads on like ponytails and then used a pencil to curl it. Thanks for the great idea!

  9. says

    Thanks you for sharing this fun craft. I just made these with a group of 5 boys ages 4 to 13. We put the kids faces on each one and are going to use them like Flat Stanley on our upcoming road trip. They are so much fun!!!

  10. Salman Ansari says

    I am in Plano Tx visiting my grand kids. One of them has a ‘entrepreneur competition’ to participate in . Their mom (my daughter in law) got this idea and asked me to help. was a grea experience making these with Hashim and he did most of the work. Great idea. Great Site! Keep it up and Thanks.


  1. […] animal or character you wish, children may like to design their own! I also found a tutorial http://frugalfun4boys.com/2013/04/01/pipe-cleaner-ninjas/ for making these cute little ninjas using beads and pipe cleaners. I thought these were a fab idea […]

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