Thursday, 7 January 2016

Things to make with old Christmas cards - The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Seems a shame to chuck out all those bright, cheery, sparkly Christmas and Birthday cards, which is probably why I have an overflowing box full of them!
So, if you still haven't got around to recycling yours, or you've been hoarding them like me (because you just never know...), then what about a Very Hungry Caterpillar?

Very Hungry Caterpillar made from old Christmas cards

You'll need:
A selection of old cards (Christmas and Birthday)
PVA/craft glue (leave some in a cleaned out jar or yogurt pot over night if you can, so it thickens up)
Paper and felt tip pens (optional)
Sticky tape

1. First, sort through your cards and make a pile of the ones with blue or green tones - even just part of the picture is fine. The body pieces aren't going to be too big.

2. Find one predominantly red card for the head.  Draw an oval shape on the back of the picture (ours is about 10cm/4" by 7cm/3" wide, but makes yours smaller if you want), and draw a decent sized tab on one side. The body will be attached to this.

Use a picture of the Very Hungry Caterpillar to guide you, there are loads online - we actually had a VHC card in our collection which was handy, though still managed to get our caterpillar facing in the opposite direction...

3. Start drawing and cutting out body segments - make them a bit smaller than the head. They're a sort of jellybean shape with a tab on the side. Once you've drawn and cut one out - use it as a template for the others.

We made 14, plus 2 smaller jellybean shapes without tabs for the end.

4. Lay out your caterpillar on some plain paper. If like us you don't have a big enough piece, a sheet of newspaper will do. Use a ruler to draw a line on the newspaper to keep your caterpillar level.

Following the arched shape of the picture, arrange the body segments with the tabs behind, overlapping as you go. until you're happy with the shape.

5. Then, get a pencil and carefully place the palm of your other hand on the front section of the caterpillar so you don't move the card pieces, and draw around the bottom of the segments. Repeat along the length of the Caterpillar.
This makes it easier to see where each piece goes when you start gluing, but if you'd rather skip this stage and just start sticking, then do!

6. Push the segments out of the way before brushing some glue onto the head tab for the first body segment. When this is glued down, brush glue on this tab, plus some on the underside edge of the next segment, where they'll overlap, and so on.

If the pieces start popping up, don't worry - when you've got to the last segment, place something heavy, like a book on top, to weigh it down while the glue dries.

7. It may have stuck to the newspaper, but that's okay, just pull as much as you can away. It should be nice and sturdy, because of all those tabs - but if you want some extra strength then put sticky tape along the back.

8. We cut the eyes out of cards too as we just happened to have lovely sparkly yellow and green, but an easier option would be to draw the eyes on a piece of plain paper using bright yellow and green felt tips, then cut out and stick in place.

9. The antenna and small round mouth are cut from a card too - use sticky tape to attach the antenna to the back of the head.

10. Cut the stands from one of the thicker cards in your stash - use the plain half, and draw and cut out an arch shape. We made four, but the Caterpillar stays up fine with two.

11. Snip halfway down the stand from the top of the arch. Snip an extra sliver out to widen the slot. Then make the same size slot in a lower body segment - again snip out a bit extra so it's easier to push the stands into place. Sit it up on the stands. Push the stands up or down if you need to, to get the caterpillar to to sit level.

One other thing you could do that I haven't, is draw little legs on the stands with a black felt tip pen.

And there you go, a very hungry caterpillar, and a small dent in the old Christmas card collection...


  1. Another masterpiece Tracey! x

    1. Thanks so much Fiona! Really fun to do - photos could be better, but struggle when the weather's so grey and dreary! x