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Paper Chain Craft Tutorial

Updated on April 5, 2013
A step by step guide to making different types of paper chains
A step by step guide to making different types of paper chains | Source

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.

Material You Will Need to Make a Basic Paper Chain

  • Paper (construction paper, gift wrap or other paper scraps)
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • 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.



paper chain craft ideas: Add designs to your paper to make it look unique
paper chain craft ideas: Add designs to your paper to make it look unique | Source
Paper chain Craft ideas: Glue the paper strips together to form a chain
Paper chain Craft ideas: Glue the paper strips together to form a chain | Source

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.

Paper chain craft tips: it help to measure out your strips before cutting them
Paper chain craft tips: it help to measure out your strips before cutting them | Source
Paper strips are ready to be glued together
Paper strips are ready to be glued together | Source
How to make a paper chain: Form a loop with your first strip and glue it together
How to make a paper chain: Form a loop with your first strip and glue it together | Source
How to make a paper chain: Thread another strip through the first one and glue that loop closed
How to make a paper chain: Thread another strip through the first one and glue that loop closed | Source
Paper chain tutorial: the finished product
Paper chain tutorial: the finished product | Source
Valentine's paper craft: make a heart paper chain
Valentine's paper craft: make a heart paper chain | Source

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.

Learn how to make paper chain people
Learn how to make paper chain people | Source

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

  • Paper
  • Pen/Marker
  • Scissors
  • 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.

Use a regular piece of paper
Use a regular piece of paper | Source
People Paper chain Step 1: Fold this paper in half
People Paper chain Step 1: Fold this paper in half | Source
People Paper Chain Step 2: Fold it again
People Paper Chain Step 2: Fold it again | Source
People Paper chain Step 3: Fold the top part in half.
People Paper chain Step 3: Fold the top part in half. | Source
People Paper chain Step 4: Fold the other side in half.
People Paper chain Step 4: Fold the other side in half. | Source
People Paper chain: This will create an "M" shape
People Paper chain: This will create an "M" shape | Source
People Paper chain Step 5: Outline the shape you want to make
People Paper chain Step 5: Outline the shape you want to make | Source
People Paper chain Step 6: The outline of my people paper chain before I cut it
People Paper chain Step 6: The outline of my people paper chain before I cut it | Source

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    • Better Yourself profile image

      Better Yourself 3 years ago from North Carolina

      Congrats on HOTD! I haven't made a paper chain in a very long time, love this hub! Great craft idea for party décor or just for fun with the kids!

    • darrensurrey profile image

      darrensurrey 3 years ago from Surrey, England

      With a bit of creativity for the people chain, you can make pumpkin chains out of orange paper. Halloween is coming up after all!

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Congratulations on Hub of the Day!

      Great explanation, and wow--what a flashback to my childhood. I had to laugh at the instructions for the "people chain," (what we used to call "paper dolls").

      I remembered the frustration my mom and I had one day, trying to make one of these paper doll chains for my kids, and we could not remember how to fold/cut so that they stayed connected together. What a hoot!

      Voted up, interesting and useful.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      This is neat. I love the people chain. The photos are great. Congrats on HOTD!

    • profile image

      Benjamin Chege 3 years ago

      Hi TheKatsMeow. Beautiful hub. I love the creativity of each and every artistic piece. I didn't think paper crafts would be so beautiful. Congrats too for having the hub featured as the hub of the day.

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 3 years ago from India

      Good idea to keep kids engaged.

    • prasadjain profile image

      Dr.S.P.PADMA PRASAD 3 years ago from Tumkur

      A beautiful,funny, and useful hub. How much strain and interest is involved in creating this hub!Everybody can make use of this. CONGRATS!

    • ComfortB profile image

      Comfort Babatola 3 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      Kids will stay busy and out of trouble with these paper crafts. Great reuse of paper too.

      Voted up and useful. And, congrats on the HOTD award!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

      Congrats on your Hub of the Day award for this post on these timeless paper crafts!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 3 years ago from sunny Florida

      Hi Morning

      these are so much fun to make. I remember making them as a child with my Momma. And then teaching my nieces and nephews how to make them. Great fun.

      Angels are on the way ps

    • profile image

      cheeluarv 3 years ago

      Useful craft for the little ones to try at home.Thanks for sharing

    • Anamika S profile image

      Anamika S 4 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

      I have done these before. Crafts used to be my hobby during my school and college days. But now I do not have the patience anymore.

    • TheKatsMeow profile image
      Author

      TheKatsMeow 4 years ago from Canada

      Thanks you very much for the kind comments pstraubie48, I reall appreciate it!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      These are so much fun. And I thought it was the coolest that the little technology oriented kids still loved making these.

      Thanks for sharing..the people chains are great for classroom décor

      Shared..

      Sending Angels your way :) ps

    • TheKatsMeow profile image
      Author

      TheKatsMeow 4 years ago from Canada

      Thank you @peachpurple, They are a lot of fun to make, I hope your kids enjoy them :)

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      Wow! Simple and easy. So many chain crafts you had made. Wonderful. Now my kids can enjoy crafts at home too. Voted useful

    • TheKatsMeow profile image
      Author

      TheKatsMeow 4 years ago from Canada

      @Tracy Lynn Conway, thanks for the comments! Paper chain people are fun for kids (but I always have fun making them too :P)

    • Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

      Tracy Lynn Conway 4 years ago from Virginia, USA

      Simple yet great ideas here! I have never made chain mail people but I can't wait to try them out, with my kids of course.

    • TheKatsMeow profile image
      Author

      TheKatsMeow 4 years ago from Canada

      @wonder wool thank you for saying that! I appreciate your comment :)

    • Wonder wool profile image

      Priyanka Estambale 4 years ago from United States

      Classic! Awesome! Loved the detailed explanations!