Chic Crafts That Prove Popsicle Sticks are Still Our Favorite Craft Medium
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Popsicle sticks are the unsung hero of the craft department. Also known as craft sticks, they are inexpensive, easy to work with and great for a lot of different kinds of projects.
My daughter goes through Popsicle sticks like you would not believe, using them to make everything from tiny people to bookmarks. She also uses them for all sorts of construction projects. While they are great for kids, there are a lot of Popsicle stick crafts grownups can — and will — want to do, too.
Popsicle Stick Basics
Popsicle sticks are just what you think they are: little wooden sticks like those that might have a delicious frozen treat on the end.
Of course you can take the time to collect Popsicle sticks and clean them for crafts, but you can also save time and your waistline by buying them at your local dollar store, where you should be able to find packs of 100 for $1.
Popsicle sticks come in different sizes, most commonly 4.5 inches long. Mini sticks are about 2 inches long, while jumbo sticks are 6 inches long. The width can vary, too, from about 1/2 inch to 5/8 inches, depending on the brand.
They’re typically available in a light wood color or in multicolor packs of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.
Here are a few of my favorite ideas for Popsicle stick crafts that are perfect for kids and adults alike.
Picture Frames Made with Popsicle Sticks
Chica Circle has a great tutorial showing how to make classic square frames and jazz them up with paint markers. Try regular markers, paint, stickers or just about anything else to make these frames your own.
First Palette has more ideas for decorating Popsicle stick picture frames, like gluing on buttons, shells and flowers. And Artistic Junkie broke out the multicolored Popsicle sticks to make frames in different shapes and sizes, including a triple frame.
This pretty stand-up frame from DIY Family is a great choice for sitting on your desk, and you can make it hold either a horizontal or a vertical photo.
Who says a frame has to go around the outside of your picture? These cute frames from Eighteen25 are decorated mats you can pin or tape your pictures to. Add magnets to the back for easy hanging on any magnetic surface.
Upscale Home Décor with Popsicle Sticks
You might be getting the idea by now that you can make all sorts of crafts that look high-end with Popsicle sticks.
Make and Do Crew has a couple of amazing tutorials for Popsicle stick shelves in hexagon and honeycomb shapes that are sure to send you running to the craft store for a big box of sticks. The single hexagon shelf used about 100 sticks, so you can make it for $1 if you already have some glue and stain or paint. Compare that to this wooden hexagon shelf on Amazon that will run you $25 plus shipping.
Or try a different kind of wall art with these giant craft stick arrows from Festoon and Frill.
Turn a tiny mirror into a big statement piece like this one from Gracefully Searching. She says her version cost about $7. Compare that to least expensive version on Amazon at $10.87 — and the price goes up from there.
Make a plain glass vase a little more interesting by soaking and bending Popsicle sticks to place inside. You can also make a clock or an icosahedron candle holder with tutorials from Instructables, or make a whole table from sticks, like the one shown at HomeLife.
Popsicle sticks are great for holiday décor, too, as you can see in these great holiday trees from Momtastic. You’ll need a foam base and some other basic supplies, but a trip to the craft store will get you set up easily. Or make giant snowflakes like these from A Girl and a Glue Gun.
Kids’ Crafts Made with Popsicle Sticks
Of course kid-focused crafts are the traditional use for Popsicle sticks, but even this genre of crafting provides some really cool options kids and adults alike will enjoy.
I made a craft caddy for my daughter using the bottom of a round cheese box (Laughing Cow wedges) and 24 craft sticks. Glue the sticks to the outside of the box and let dry.
Spray paint or paint in the color of your choice. I used two coats of spray paint. I made my organizer with things I already had, but even if you had to buy all the supplies it would cost around $5 to make.
Molly Moo Crafts shares a tutorial for craft stick bracelets, a great basic craft with tons of variations. You can draw on them, write on them, paint them, add stickers and glue on buttons or just about anything else you can think of. So fun!
You might have made God’s eyes when you were younger — they are a classic craft that can be woven with Popsicle sticks. Red Ted Art has a couple of great options, including a basic version and one that looks like a flower in the center.
Let kids personalize their rooms in a crafty way with a Popsicle stick door hanger like the one shown at 101 Nifties, or follow KraftJoy’s tutorial to make a chalkboard-painted door sign decorated with Legos or other small toys.
Popsicle sticks are a great medium for all sorts of fun projects, such as this craft stick loom from Art Projects for Kids. Or try the craft stick harmonica or marble run from Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls.
Outdoor Crafts Made with Craft Sticks
Take your craft sticks outside to create some fun Popsicle stick crafts for the birds and beyond.
Babble took the idea a step further by turning a similar base into a Popsicle stick bird house.
Popsicle sticks are a great choice for little houses you can put outside for fairies or use in small world play (and of course you can keep them inside, too). Check out the roundup at Hative for tons of inspiration.
Jazz up plain terra cotta pots by hanging them from craft stick hangers, like the ones at Omaha.com.
Use your bead stash or other little treasures to make wind chimes, a great project for kids and adults alike. Get the steps from How to This and That.
Art Projects Made with Popsicle Sticks
We’ve barely scratched the surface of all that can be done with craft sticks, but here are a few more ideas.
Make a fun magnetic pattern game for kids with inspiration from Pure and Noble. This is great for kids to play with while supper is cooking or would be fun on a road trip if you bring a metal cookie sheet along.
Try a super cute Popsicle stick notebook from In My Blue Room. Kids can decorate the cover of their own books, but these are great for grown ups to make and use as well.
Showcase art projects by making buildings around a cut-out drawing, as shown in these examples from kindergarten art teacher Hannah Hendrickson. Or feature a tiny piece of art on a Popsicle stick easel, made with this tutorial from ikat bag.
Tips for Working with Popsicle Sticks
Popsicle sticks are wooden, but you don’t have to use wood glue in your projects if you don’t happen to have any handy. Plain all-purpose glue or Aleene’s Tacky Glue will work just fine, and you can even use glue sticks for some projects, which are great for kids’ crafts.
I have not had good luck using an Elmer’s type of washable school glue on Popsicle sticks — it tends to be too runny.
Any kind of paint can be used on Popsicle sticks, including spray paint and varnish. You can even dye the sticks in water with a few drops of food coloring.
If your project is going to live outside, a couple coats of spray varnish or acrylic sealer will help it stay fresh.
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Sarah E. White is a freelance writer, editor, crafter and mom based in Arkansas. She writes about creativity for moms and other busy people at Our Daily Craft and about decluttering craft supplies and using what you have at Minimalist Crafter.