How to make a 3D honey bee model

Written by dawn marcotte
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How to make a 3D honey bee model
Honey bee gathering nectar. (bee image by Andy Sears from

Honey bees are social insects vital to the health of many plants and ecosystems. They pollinate flowers as they move from one to the other gathering nectar. This pollination allows the plants to create seeds and reproduce. Honey bees are similar to all insects in their anatomy. They have six legs, a three-part body, compound eyes, antennae, jointed legs and a hard exoskeleton. You can make a simple model with clay and a few other craft items.

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Things you need

  • Diagram of honey bee
  • Orange or yellow clay
  • Black or brown clay
  • Thin pipe cleaner -- black or brown
  • Scissors
  • Red string or wool
  • Glue
  • Thick pipe cleaners -- black
  • Scrap paper
  • Pencil
  • Clear acetate sheet
  • Toothpicks

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  1. 1

    Roll a small ball of yellow or orange clay that fits easily into the palm of your hand to create the head. Squeeze the ball gently between your hands to create an oval shape. Press the ball gently onto a flat surface on one side of the oval. Repeat on the opposite side to create a slightly pointed shape at one end of the head. This will be the front of the bee's head. Roll two small balls of black or brown clay. These are the compound eyes and should be small enough to place on the head. Press them into either side of the head directly across from each other. Gently draw three small dots in the centre on the front of the face below the compound eyes. These represent the simple eyes.

  2. 2

    Cut the thin pipe cleaner into sections approximately 5 cm (2 inches) long. These are the antennae. Insert each of the antennae into the head between the compound eyes. Bend the antennae slightly forward. Cut a piece of red string or yarn approximately 5 cm (2 inches) long. Insert into the lower front portion of the head. This represents the tongue. Glue eyes, antennae and tongue as needed. Set the head aside.

  3. 3

    Roll orange or yellow clay into a ball slightly larger than the head for the thorax or centre section. Press the ball between your hands slightly to create an oval shape. Cut six pieces of the thick pipe cleaners 7.5 cm (3 inches) long for legs. Insert three legs on each side of the body. Bend the legs so that 2.5 cm (1 inch) faces up and the rest slopes down and out away from the body. Glue in place as necessary.

  4. 4

    Review the honey bee diagram for the shape of the wings. Draw a template for the forewing and hindwing combined on the scrap paper. Cut out the template. Trace twice on the clear acetate. Cut out the acetate wings. Glue a toothpick along the long straight edge of each wing. The toothpick should extend forward of the wing so you can insert it into the body. Allow the glue to dry. Insert the wings into the body and glue in place as needed.

  5. 5

    Roll a ball of yellow or orange clay that is twice as big as the head for the abdomen. Press gently between your hands to create an oval shape. Draw black stripes around the abdomen with a thin black marker. The stripes should only cover the back half of the abdomen. Break a toothpick in half. Insert the toothpick into the back of the abdomen so the point extends outside of the back. This is the stinger of a female honeybee.

  6. 6

    Partially insert a toothpick into the back end of the head of the honeybee. Press the front of the thorax onto the toothpick so the two sections join. Partially insert a second toothpick in the back of the thorax and press the front of the abdomen onto the toothpick so the thorax and abdomen are joined. Adjust placement of the body parts and the legs so the bee can stand. Glue in place as necessary.

Tips and warnings

  • Modelling foam is not as heavy as clay and may be easier to work with.

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