This was a simple project I recently did for my livestreamed Upcycled Makers Club for the Warren County Library System. The goal is to share a fun activity using common materials from around the house and then encourage kids to develop additional ideas based on the original craft.

Since March I’ve been offering projects to our library patrons online. Our library has been closed and we can’t offer in person programs. So, through a combination of live streamed programs, recorded content, and Zoom classes I’ve done my best to provide STEAM and Maker activities for our families. One of the biggest challenges is coming up with projects that use common household materials that will be fun to all age levels. I think this fits the bill!

What You’ll Need

  • One toilet paper roll
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Marker or pencil
  • Glue stick
  • Google eyes (optional)
  • Rubber band (optional)

Cut Construction Paper: Mark a line on the tube. Make a mark on the opposite side as well. Place the tube against the paper, lining up your marks with the top edge of the paper. Line up the left edge of the tube with the left edge of the paper. Mark the right edge of the tube on the paper. Slowly roll the tube, marking the right edge of the tube on the paper several times as you go. When the marks on the inside of tube hits the paper again, make a vertical mark on the paper. Use the ruler to draw lines, taking care to add 1/4 in (6 mm) to the length so that it overlaps when the tube is wrapped. Your piece will be approximately 6 inches long by about 4 1/2 inches wide, depending on your tube.

Wrap the Tube: Cover the construction paper with glue. Carefully wrap the tube in the paper, taking care to keep the paper straight. Gently press the paper to the tube over the entire surface. Make sure the paper overlaps in the back. Use extra glue to make sure it is secure. Allow to dry.

Cut the Tentacles: If desired, wrap a rubber band around the tube, about 2/3 from the bottom of the tube, about 3 inches form the bottom. Otherwise, use your ruler to measure from the bottom and mark several points to create a line around the circumference of the tube. This demarks the head of the octopus from the body. Cut 8 tentacles, each about 3/4″ wide.

Complete the Octopus: Gently fold the tentacles out from the body. Using your fingers or the barrel of your marker, curl the ends of the tentacles. Decorate the face as desired.

Mix It Up: Use pictures of other sea creatures to design your own upcycled animals. Make a mobile by hanging your creatures from a coat hanger, using strips of paper, ribbon or fabric as seaweed.

Want more ideas? Check out the video for this project on the Warren County Library System YouTube channel. I have lots of fun upcycled activities. A new project every week, Mondays at 3 pm!

And if you are in Warren County, stop by the Blairstown Farmers Market on September 26 or the Warren County Farmers Market on September 27 to grab a Take & Make bag to create your own octopus.

If you enjoyed this project, be sure to check out my book, The Big Book of Maker Camp Projects, or leave a tip on Ko-Fi. Your support makes it possible for me to keep creating!

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