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

32 Comments

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  1. Eddie - The Usual Mayhem Apr 2, 2013

    Best. Craft. Ever!

    Reply
    1. Simple Mum Apr 2, 2013

      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!

      Reply
      1. Alitash Apr 4, 2013

        My son loved this!!! Thank you..

        Reply
        1. Janna Apr 5, 2013

          I love this idea, can't wait to try it out!

          Reply
          1. Sandy Apr 17, 2013

            My son loved this! "Best craft ever!" according to my 9 year old. Thanks!

            Reply
            1. Sarah Apr 17, 2013

              That's great! I'm glad he enjoyed it! Thanks so much for letting me know!

              Reply
            2. Majka May 31, 2013

              Thank you for inspiration. My son liked it, even his friends in school. :)
              http://www.neposednenoznice.sk/2013/05/ninja-panacikovia.html

              Reply
              1. Sarah May 31, 2013

                They did a great job! Thanks for sharing your post with us!

                Reply
              2. Art Mama Jun 24, 2013

                These are brilliant! I teach a group of 3rd & 4th grade kids in an afterschool program. This is definitely going to be a project this fall!

                Reply
                1. Cindy deRosier Jun 24, 2013

                  I'm the Editorial Assistant for Fun Family Crafts and I wanted to let you know that we have featured your super cool ninjas! You can see them here:

                  http://funfamilycrafts.com/pipe-cleaner-ninjas/

                  Thanks for a wonderful project idea!

                  Reply
                  1. JDaniel4's Mom Jul 6, 2013

                    This is an amazing idea! What great fun!

                    Reply
                    1. Stacey Harris Jul 7, 2013

                      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!

                      Reply
                      1. MaryLea (pink and green mama) Jul 8, 2013

                        My daughter and I love this, we're making our own set of Star Wars guys this way today!! Thank you for the idea and inspiration! om

                        Reply
                        1. Sarah Jul 8, 2013

                          I can't wait to see your Star Wars version!!

                          Reply
                        2. KylieM Jul 18, 2013

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

                          Reply
                          1. Suz Jan 5, 2014

                            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

                            Reply
                            1. audrey Jan 11, 2014

                              Simply awesome. So simple and so fun. And they look great!

                              Reply
                              1. Raewyn Mar 25, 2014

                                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!

                                Reply
                                1. cindy Apr 27, 2014

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

                                  Reply
                                  1. Cassi May 11, 2014

                                    Wow! This is so creative! I'll be sharing this on The Crafty Crow soon!

                                    Reply
                                    1. jason May 14, 2014

                                      epic;)

                                      Reply
                                      1. Deanna Jun 6, 2014

                                        Thank you! Awesome boredom buster! Let the sound effects ensue! DS loved it!!

                                        Reply
                                        1. Sable Jun 27, 2014

                                          I am so excited to make these with my boys!! Thanks for the awesome idea!!

                                          Reply
                                          1. The Educational Tourist Jul 15, 2014

                                            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!

                                            Reply
                                            1. Beth Jul 30, 2014

                                              Thanks!!! We are making these at my sons' birthday party! Great!! Found you on Pinterest.

                                              Reply
                                              1. Kimberley Scott Jan 23, 2015

                                                What a great idea!!! Thanks so much. My little grandson loves these and so will his friends! Keep up the good work!!! Sounds like you're a great mom to! :D

                                                Reply
                                                1. Faith Marie Mar 7, 2015

                                                  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!

                                                  Reply
                                                  1. Keitha Jul 17, 2015

                                                    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!!!

                                                    Reply
                                                    1. Salman Ansari Aug 6, 2015

                                                      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.

                                                      Reply
                                                      1. Alyssa Mar 10, 2016

                                                        This is amazing idea! I am featuring this in my Crafts Roundup if you don't mind.

                                                        Reply
                                                        1. Mamiko Oct 15, 2016

                                                          Thank you for sharing your knowledge

                                                          Reply
                                                          1. Devon Jan 18, 2017

                                                            I just made a flower fairy for my daughter out of pipe cleaners and a wooden bead. My son was so upset that I didn't make something for him as well. This is perfect! I'm going to be making ninjas while he's at school tomorrow. He'll love it!!

                                                            Reply
                                                            1. imankwa Apr 1, 2017

                                                              It is awsome this is the best craft ever

                                                              Reply
                                                              1. J Dec 4, 2017

                                                                Hi what size wooden beads did you use for the heads? Trying to order it all from amazon. These ninjas are adorable!

                                                                Reply
                                                                1. Frances Hidalgo Jun 9, 2018

                                                                  Can you post how to make dogs out of pipe cleaners and straws or anthing else?

                                                                  Reply

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