Thorndyke’s Portal to Owl Crafts

Hi Kids,

Whoooo-who wants to make something fun out of your leftover paper towel/toilet paper tube? I love being able to turn stuff in the library into exciting new things to be enjoyed. It’s called “upcycling” and you can do it with almost anything!

This fun upcycle was taken from the book Out of the Box by Jemma Westing. There are so many great crafting books in the J745 nonfiction section. I hope you bring in your finished upcycle for me to see!

Bear Hugs,



  • Cardboard tube (cut paper towel rolls in half)
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Paintbrushes
  • Paint


1. Make the owl’s feet. Gently flatten your tube and draw four short lines, spaced apart as shown. Make cuts along all four lines.

2. The cuts that you have made will create two flaps. Fold these flaps outward and away from the tube to make the owl’s feet.
3. Now that you have folded the feet over, trim around the base of the tube. Cut away any cardboard that is below the level of the feet.
4. To finish making the feet, draw zigzag lines on the end of each foot. Carefully cut along the lines to give your owl nice, pointed talons.

5. Next, make the owl’s beak. Using a pencil, carefully draw a V shape in the center of the tube.
6. Squeeze the tube a little to help you cut along the two lines. Then pry out the beak and gently fold it away from the tube, making sure it doesn’t tear.
7. To make the owl’s head, press down the front and back edges of the top of the tube. Then fold them inward to form a curved head shape.
8. Add wings to your owl. Using a pencil, carefully draw a V shape on either side of the tube.
9. Finally, draw the features of your owl with a pencil. Then paint them on in bright colors, using a fine paintbrush for any detailed decoration.