Pipe Cleaner Crowns: Heck Yeah!

Internet: meet Bernadette. If y’all were neighbors (lovely thought) you would know her already. She sits in my window all year round, never changing her gaze or location. The one thing that does change is her head gear. In fact, it changes all the time. Bernadette is kind of like those plastic geese with the seasonal costumes that were so popular a few years ago. Whatever happened to those geese anyway? I haven’t seen one in ages….

Like Lola, Bernadette loves her hats; snow caps and earmuffs for the winter, delicate vintage hats and Easter bonnets in the spring, sunglasses and visors in the summer, not to mention birthday part hats, witches hats, Statue of Liberty tiaras, etc.. Come fall, she is all about leaves. Last year’s leaves were paper, this year it’s pipe cleaners!

I have been just crazy about pipe cleaners since this ring craft at my BFF’s bridal shower.  It has trickled into every corner of my life. Y’all will have to wait and see the turkey extravaganza I’m planning come November.

This is a great craft for kids: quick results, zero mess, and a great addition to any dress-up cupboard.  Pipe cleaners are such a flexible material (no pun intended). You can make all kinds of goodies with them, but I think crowns and tiaras are a great place to start. There are thousands of variations on these, but I’ll show you a basic crown and let you take it from there. The sky is the limit!

Let’s get this party started!

Note: From here on in, when you read “twist” I mean twist the pipe cleaners together so they are jointed together. Test your joint with a swift tug. For me, this means physically twisting them around at least twice. For children, or those with a delicate touch, three or four times might be better. You decide for yourself.

Pipe cleaners, at least 12, depends on head size
Drinking straws, cut in half (no longer than 5”)

1.    Use two green pipe cleaners to form a circle around your head.
2.    Twist loose ends smoothly around the circle.

3.    Twist the end of one orange pipe cleaner to your circle.
4.    Slide two straws on the orange pipe cleaner.
5.    Twist the other end of the orange pipe cleaner onto the green circle, roughly two inches down. A careful woman would measure for consistent results. Me, um, not so much 🙂
6.    Slide the straws to the base of the circle leaving a loop of exposed pipe cleaner at the top.

7.    Twist the exposed orange pipe cleaner, forming a loop.
8.    Repeat steps 3-7 until you cover the entire green circle.

9.    After pushing up the orange loops, you will essentially have a crown. Yay! you can stop now, or, add some reinforcement with a second set of triangles running all the way around (highly suggest taking this step if kids plan to play with the crown more than once). start by attaching a red pipe cleaner to the green circle, making sure the joint is halfway between two straws.
10.    Identify the “halfway point” on your red pipe cleaner (by bending it) and twist to attach to the green circle, exactly half way in-between the next set of straws, weaving it in-between the straws as you go. The weaving really helps to reinforce the crown shape. Repeat all the way around.

11.    To turn loops into triangles, just pinch.
12.     Looky there!

13.    TaDa!

Note: Keep in mind, even if you want a solid color crown (everyone seems to wants gold and silver) I suggest you use different color pipe cleaners the first time. I can tell you from experience, even with “big kids” it just makes the explanation and learning process a whole lot easier for everyone 🙂

This project is just a basic structure, but as you saw with the drinking straws, you can thread stuff on to the pipe cleaners before threading them to incorporate all kinds of fun;
* Beads
* Feathers
* Ribbon
* Silk flowers (take them apart to find the hole in the center…I’ll show ya’ll some I made another occasion)
* Dry pasta (a manicotti crown!)
* Sequins
* Buttons
* Christmas tinsel
* Foam shapes
…oh the places you will go!

Be sure to check out these matching rings.

This project is linking to Craft School Sunday at www.creativejewishmom.com 


  1. says

    What a perfect crown! It’s so architectural. I might be smart enough to make this if I really concentrate. The leaves are super stunning, and Bernadette is a lucky young lady. (Old lady?) Really, I never thought I could like pipe cleaners so much.

  2. says

    Call me crazy but does Bernadette have a mustache? Darn menopause!

  3. says

    Hi! Thanks for stopping by today! Your comment was so sweet & totally made me smile!

    Well Bernadette is one lucky girl! How fun are you! That Spring flower crown is my fave! Super cute! I can’t wait to see what other ideas you blog about!

  4. says

    I was gonna follow but there is some kind of blogger problem with the follower box right now so I will have to try tomorrow! Good night!

  5. says

    HAHAHAHA! Y’all make me laugh (which I appreciate right now more than you know 🙂
    Truth be told, Bernadette was sculpted in the likeness of an elderly local actor who had a clef pallet. Suppose she started out as a man…but somehow over the years just morphed into lady. Funny how art works like that. Guess people work like that too. We all find our calling….

    Although, I sort of prefer Julie’s explanation. If anyone asks from here on in I think I’ll just tell them it’s her mustache and leave it at that!

  6. says

    This is amazing! I’ve made paper crowns and fabric crowns but I’ve never tried this one!
    Love it!

    P.S. Thanks for stopping by and for all the wonderful comments you left. But if you hadn’t written anything I wouldn’t have found you! And since I did, I am having the time of my life!

  7. says

    I can’t wait until T is old enough for us to try this together. The fall leaf crown is definitely the best.

  8. says

    Those are gorgeous! I love how you incorporated the straws- what a great idea for fun and structure. I just LOVE your blog! So many wonderful and creative projects. I’ll be linking.

  9. says

    Oh! Oh! Crowns! Must make, must wear, so sister and I can drive to Sonic in a queenly fashion… no more store bought crowns for us!

  10. Anonymous says

    So cute! This is my first visit here and I LOVE your site! I’ll definitely be back.


  1. […] prices. What about sprawling an ostrich fan across the mantle, or getting yourself a Bernadette to display a feathered headress on your dinning room credenza? Or, hey, how about an ostrich […]

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