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Another Big Learning Craft Stick Project...

Posable Action Figure or Doll

This little buddy stands, sits, and bends every which way. Kids can twist it around a desk lamp, hang it from a doorknob, and make it hold up pencils or markers. How will your child use it?

Big Learning  What's Big Learning?

Anatomy: This figure has the same major joints as people do. Ask your child to compare the ways this doll can bend to the ways they can bend. They can bend more places, but the doll can do things they can't - like bend its elbow backward.

Vocabulary: This is a good chance to use detail words for the body parts - joint, trunk, forearm, upper arm, thigh, shin, and calf.

Art: We didn't paint or dress our sample doll, but your child may want to paint on a face, and add hair and clothing to give the doll a personality. Ask your child what details are needed to make the doll look like a particular kind of person - a pilot, a queen, or just a kid? If your kids aren't sure, find some photos on the Internet to study.

Engineering: Pipe cleaners or wires make nice stiff joints that bend but stay in place. This is also a simple lesson in hidden workings - once the doll is finished kids can't see anymore how the pipe cleaners are put together. Ask them to look at toys with hidden parts and imagine what might be inside.

Math: Kids can practice measuring half and quarter inches - see tips on fractions and measurement.


craft stick posable doll - children's woodworking project


To make this project you will need:

6 large craft sticks (3/4 inches wide by 6 inches long)
Three pipe cleaners
Acrylic craft paint

Hot glue gun and glue
Wire cutter with at least a 3/4-inch blade (for cutting craft sticks - see cutting tips)

Note: Whenever you cut a craft stick, sand the ends by rubbing on piece of sandpaper. This will greatly improve the look of the finished product.


Cut four 1-1/4 inch pieces from a craft stick (you may need part of a second craft stick).

Cut one 1/2-inch piece. Put two of the 1-1/4" pieces together side-by-side to form a small panel; this is the head. Glue the half-inch piece in the center of the two 1-1/4" pieces to hold them together, as shown below.

craft stick sections to form head

Next, cut one craft stick in half to form the front and back of the body. Lay the back half (either stick) below the back half of the head, leaving about a quarter inch for the neck.

doll with craft stick head and  back and pipe cleaners

Lay a pipe cleaner so it starts below the 1/2" piece you glued the head together with, and extends down the trunk. Glue in place at the head and along the trunk.

Put a blob of glue near the top of the trunk, and lay a pipe cleaner crosswise in the glue to form the arms.

Glue a pipe cleaner at the bottom of the trunk to form the second leg.

Complete the head

Now finish the head by adding the other two 1-1/4 inch pieces. You will have a three-layer head:

1. The two 1-1/4 pieces on the bottom
2. The pipe cleaner and half-inch piece in the middle, and
3. Two more 1-1/4 inch pieces on top.

Apply glue to the 1/2-inch piece and the tip of the pipe cleaner that's in the head, and stick on the top two 1-1/4 inch pieces on the head as shown below.

two craft sticks added to form head


Complete the trunk

Take the other half of the craft stick you cut to make the trunk. Glue it to the pipe cleaners in the trunk, sandwiching the pipe cleaners the same way you did with the head.


Cut the ends off two craft sticks, and use those curved end pieces to form the front and back of the two hands.

Cut the remaining long pieces of each stick into four equal pieces. That will give you eight equal pieces to make two forearms and two upper arms.

Starting at the shoulder, glue each pair of arm segments in place, sandwich-style around the pipe cleaner.
Make sure to leave about a quarter-inch of bare pipe cleaner between segments so the arms can bend freely.


Make the legs and feet just as you made the arms, leaving a little more pipe cleaner at each joint than you did with the arms, and making the feet a little bigger than the hands.


Using wire cutters or scissors, trim excess pipe cleaner from the hands and feet.

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