Show your kids how they can perform the ultimate “cheep trick” when they transform ordinary cardboard tubes into adorable chicks, bunnies and sheep! This is a perfect springtime craft that can be as simple or as elaborate as you and your kids want to make it. It’s also great for a wide range of ages, and leaves lots of room for personal creativity.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Cardboard tubes from toilet paper, paper towels, or wrapping paper
  • Acrylic paints, brushes
  • Glue, tape, scissors
  • Feathers
  • Colorful googly eyes
  • Colored paper or sticky notes
  • Cotton balls

supplies needed for critter tubes


  • Stickers, sequins, beads
  • Chenille stems (pipe cleaners)
  • Egg carton
  • Tissue paper
  • Paper clips
  • Markers

Getting Started

Gather your cardboard tubes. If you use paper towel or gift wrap tubes, cut them into halves or thirds. You can cut TP tubes in half to use them for the babies. Next, paint some tubes white and some yellow, using a wide brush. The tubes for the sheep simply need a vaguely face-shaped black patch. Since the paint will take as much as half an hour to dry, you could do this step before getting the kids involved. An egg carton makes a nice, optional drying rack.

Sheep face and egg carton

Fine Feathered Friends

The fun really begins as the kids start to pick out the features they want on their animals.  Affix eyes with a small dab of glue. Use a fine brush to paint beaks, noses and other details or cut out of construction paper. A marker works well for drawing mouths and whiskers. Feathers can be taped to the insides of the tubes, or glued. Pro-tip: If gluing the feathers, use a paperclip to hold each feather in place until it dries.

faces painted in egg carton blue feather with clip

You Are Getting Sheepy…Verrry Sheepy!

The sheep are the easiest animals for small kids to create. You can help with the eyes and nose. Next pour a very little bit of glue on a paper plate and let the child dab each cotton ball in the glue, then press onto the tube. Pro-tip: Older kids can give their sheep a more appealing, fluffy appearance by pulling each cotton ball into 2 pieces, then gently teasing each piece into a puffy, cloudlike shape before gluing. Finally, don’t forget to save a few of the cotton balls to use as bunny tails!

sheep bunny tail

Details, Details

By now, the critters will be looking pretty cute, but kids can keep adding little touches to personalize them. We’ve painted a simple necklace on one of the chicks. Your kids can glue beads or sequins in place for a more dazzling 3D necklace. We used sticky notes to make little feet for the chicks. Note that one chick sports feathers as wings and one has wings made with sticky notes.

chicks with wings

We considered making bunny whiskers with the chenille stems, but instead decided to make cute little carrot accessories by twirling an orange stem around a pencil, then inserting the green top into it.

carrot on pencil



These animals look great grouped on a shelf, since they stand up nicely on their own. The space on top of their heads will perfectly hold a plastic or real egg. You can even use the animals as mini goodie holders for a party. Just put a handful of treats into colorful tissue paper and push it down into the tube.

critter goodie bags

Now it’s your turn. Let’s see what you and your kids create! Share with us at



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