How to Make Paper Bag Puffins

Written by ellie kaye
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How to Make Paper Bag Puffins
Sixty per cent of Atlantic puffins make Iceland their breeding home. (puffin at sunset image by Lars Lachmann from

Puffins are approximately 10 inches tall, so making puffins from paper lunch bags is the perfect example of their approximate size. This project can be done at home, or with a large group of children. The materials used are fairly inexpensive, so it is a perfect classroom art activity. Many Atlantic animal lessons are available on the Internet, and teachers or parents can use this fun craft idea to teach children about these small, swimming birds.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Paper lunch bags
  • Newspaper
  • White, orange and black construction paper
  • Black crayons or markers
  • Glue
  • Stapler
  • Large wiggly eyes, beads or buttons

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Cut an oval shape from the white construction paper to make the puffin's belly. Cut a heart shape for the puffin's white face. The face should be approximately half the size of the belly. Fold a piece of black construction paper in half and cut a 3-inch teardrop shape for the two wings. Draw and cut out a wide 3/4-inch triangle using the orange paper for the puffin's beak.

    How to Make Paper Bag Puffins
    You can substitute gold or yellow construction paper for the orange if needed. (paper image by AGphotographer from
  2. 2

    Colour the paper bag with a black crayon or marker. Make sure to colour most of the bag, but you may leave the front belly area blank.

    How to Make Paper Bag Puffins
    Puffins are mostly black, with small areas of white around the lower front and the face. (macareu image by jérôme caffin from
  3. 3

    Glue the white oval belly on the front of the paper bag. Let the glue dry completely.

    How to Make Paper Bag Puffins
    School glue works best for this puffin project. (bottle of glue on black marble image by phizics from
  4. 4

    Open the bag and fill to a little more than halfway with crumpled newspaper. You need enough room at the opening to fold the top of the bag over once. Staple the top of the bag to close.

    How to Make Paper Bag Puffins
    Newspaper works well as a filler, but any recycled paper or newsprint will do. (newspaper image by Christopher Hall from
  5. 5

    Glue the heart shape over the stapled part of the bag, so the fuller end of the heart is the top of the face. Glue the beak over the bottom end. Allow to dry, then add the wiggly eyes, each one on the far sides of the face. Add the wings, gluing each one on both sides of the puffin's body.

    How to Make Paper Bag Puffins
    Plastic beads or buttons can be used in place of wiggly eyes. (beads image by Gina Smith from

Tips and warnings

  • To save time and eliminate the colouring, purchase plain black paper bags from a party store if they are available.
  • If working with small children, pre-cut the shapes or provide students with templates.
  • Supervise children with scissors and glue.
  • Ask an adult helper for assistance when small children are using the stapler.

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