How to build a model skeleton

Updated February 21, 2017

A homemade model skeleton provides a fun toy for children or a decoration at a Dia De Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, celebration in Mexican culture. Though the human skeleton has over 100 bones, with each hand clocking over 20 apiece, a model of the skeleton can represent the overall shape of the structure along with the the most familiar bones, such as the skull, rib cage, spine and femur. Make the model skeletons as a classroom project or for fun at home.

Draw the skull with a white-ink pen on black paper. Position the skull at the top of the black paper to ensure there's enough room for the rest of the body.

Glue cotton swabs to the black paper to form the basic arms, legs and spine of the skeleton. Orient the heads of the swabs to each other to represent joints. Cut the swabs in half to form hands and fingers.

Draw in extra detail with the white-ink pen. For example, draw radiating arcs from the central spine to represent the rib cage.

Draw a skeleton with your pencil on white paper. Make the bones much wider than the width of a hole punch.

Cut out the skeleton with your scissors, carefully snipping off any scraps that make the skeleton look frayed.

Cut the skeleton apart at all the major joints such as the shoulder and elbow.

Lay the two ends of a joint, such as the femur and shin bones, overlapping at the joining point and insert a metal brad to connect the two. Flatten the teeth of the brad and continue this process until you assemble the entire skeleton. Move the skeleton into a particular shape.

Things You'll Need

  • White and black paper
  • Metal brads
  • Scissors
  • Cotton swabs
  • Glue
  • White-ink pen
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About the Author

Matt Scheer began writing professionally in 2005. His work has appeared in "The Daily Texan" and "The New York Tribune." Scheer holds a B.A. in English and a B.A. in history, both from the University of Texas. He is also a certified Yoga teacher and Web designer.