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Paper Chain Craft Tutorial
What is a Paper Chain?
If you are looking for craft ideas why not start with a paper chain? A paper chain is interlocked paper that forms a chain and it is sometimes referred to as “paper chain mail”. Paper chains are a fun and easy craft and a wonderful craft activity for kids. This finished paper product can then be used for display and it’s a great decoration for your house over holidays and special occasions. You can decorate your walls and ceilings with paper chains and they can also be used to decorate your Christmas trees and gift cards.
Reuse Paper Scraps to Make a Paper Chain
One of the great things about this craft is that you need very little material. You can recycle paper scraps, newspaper and wrapping paper from around your home to make a paper chain.
If you have odd bits of paper lying around those are perfect for making a paper chain. Leftover wrapping paper is also perfect for paper chains, especially if you want to make a festive looking decoration. The great thing about this craft is that you can get very creative or leave it as simple as you want. It’s still a fun craft, and it’s great for all ages.
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Material You Will Need to Make a Basic Paper Chain
- Paper (construction paper, gift wrap or other paper scraps)
- Glue or scotch tape
How to Make a Simple Paper Chain
Making a paper chain is very easy to do. First select the colour and size of your paper strips. For my project I chose to make strips that are 1 inch wide and 6 inches long. (It also helps to use thinner paper for glue: construction paper is thicker). The longer and thinner you cut your strips, the easier it will be for them to glue together. If you are using a thick paper such as construction paper, it will be better to cut thinner strips out or it will be difficult to glue. If you want to make a long paper chain, it helps to cut lots of strips. I chose one single solid colour, but you can a variety of colours to make a bright and vibrant paper chain. You can also add embellishments to your paper. Draw designs or add glitter glue to make the paper really stand out.
Measure out the size of your strips with a ruler and a pencil. Cut out your strips: it’s not too important if the strips are not exactly the same size, and it’s OK if the edges are not perfectly straight, but you can use a paper cutter for more precise edges. Bend the ends of the first strip of paper together to form a loop and overlap the paper by about ½ an inch, then secure the edge with either tape or glue. If you are using glue make sure you hold the edges together for a few seconds to allow the glue to adhere to the paper. You will now have a paper loop. Then take your second strip of paper, thread it through the first one and then bend and glue this second piece of paper just like the first one. If you want to use different colours on your chain, keep alternating the strips colour each time you take another strip of paper. Continue to do this until you reach the desired length of your paper chain.
Variations on the Paper Chain: Create Different Shapes
If you want to do more than just a simple paper chain, you can make a paper chain with various types of shapes. Instead of making a paper chain with simple loops, try making one with hearts, stars, suns or whatever other shapes you can think of. Start off by drawing or tracing out a shape, cutting it out and then using that first shape as a stencil for the rest of your shapes. Then when you have the shapes that you want, you can put them together. Simply cut open a slit on one of your shapes so that it can be hooked up and then interlink them together the same way you made the basic paper chain.
Make a People Paper Chain
There is another way you can make a paper chain, which involves folding your paper and then cutting it in several corners. This is often called a paper chain of people, but your paper chain doesn't have to be made with people: you can try a variety of cutting patterns to form your own unique design.
Materials You Will Need for a Paper Chain of People
- Glue or Tape
How to Make Paper Cutouts of People
Start with a regular sized piece of paper.
Step One: Fold the paper in half down the center, so that the crease in the paper folds from top to bottom.
Step Two: Then fold the paper in half again.
Step Three: Take the top flap of folded paper and fold that part in half.
Step Four: Turn the folded paper over and do the same thing with the other side: take the other half and fold it the other way, so that the edges line up.
This means that if you were to stand the paper up, you would have the shape of the letter "M". Remember that your paper person will be connected by their sides, and that the folded parts will be the arms and legs of the person. The top and bottom of your person will NOT be connected so you will NOT need the folded area to touch those sections. Knowing which sides will be connected will help you figure out which parts will be used for the people’s arms and legs.
Step Five: I traced the shape of a person on the paper before cutting it to make it easier to demonstrate, but this step is entirely optional.
Step Six: Once the shape is drawn out, cut the shape of a person out of your folded piece of paper. When you open up your cut paper chain, you will have two chain sets of people. Tape or glue these two sections together in the center to form a longer chain.