7 Clever Popsicle Stick Crafts for Kids and Adults
You'll be surprised at how sophisticated popsicle sticks can look.
Whether bought by the dozen at the craft store or left over from ice pops eaten on hot summer days, popsicle sticks are a happy reminder of the summer season. Easy to come by and (almost) free, it’s no wonder these humble wooden sticks have become a common supply for camp crafts and summer DIYs. Over time, the crafts have evolved, and bloggers today are using this unassuming item in some surprisingly sophisticated projects. The ombre planter and wooden phone stand featured on our list of favorite projects may bear no resemblance to the crafts we cobbled together as kids, but they still have the nostalgic quality of a material that reminds us of our childhoods. And for the little ones, the classic popsicle stick house gets a modern makeover, and a printed photo transforms a pile of popsicle sticks into a fun puzzle for car rides. Better start licking some ice pops, because you’re going to want to make more than one of these brilliant projects.
In search of a spot to rest her phone during video calls, Aki Altuna from the blog Minted Strawberry decided to craft her own stand using a mini wooden easel, popsicle sticks, and some acrylic paint. Follow the step-by-step tutorial on Live Craft Love to make your own, and don’t be afraid to customize the colors to match your desk. Small wooden easels are surprisingly common at craft and art supply stores (or here on Amazon), and expanding the ledge to securely hold your smartphone will ensure it won’t slip off the stand. With this easel in your office, FaceTime-ing your friends is about to get much easier.
These modern, honeycomb-shaped shelves look like pieces from a high-end furniture store, rather than projects constructed from an arts-and-crafts class staple. But believe it or not, these angular wall units are constructed entirely of popsicle sticks. The secret to making the childhood supply look more sophisticated? Simply coat the sticks with rich chestnut brown wood stain. Use the printable template designed by Jess from the Make & Do Crew as a guide to build your own, or dream up a fresh shape to adorn your blank walls. Each cubby forms a perch for lightweight objects you want to leave on display, such as small vases, figurines, or a few favorite books.
Popsicle sticks and hot glue get a grown-up makeover in this gradient planter project from designlovefest. Achieving the attention-grabbing ombre effect is easy: As you paint the planter, add increasing amounts of teal paint to white paint and water the mixture down slightly so that the wood grain will shine through. Once dry, slip the finished project over an inexpensive glass vase (it’s likely you already have one stored in your kitchen cabinets). The glass vessel will protect the wooden planter from water damage, so it’s ready for a supermarket bouquet or a bundle of tulips freshly picked from the backyard.
To turn a favorite family photo into a puzzle for your little one, follow the lead of Allison Waken on her blog All for the Memories. After gluing wooden craft sticks in a row on the back of a photo printed on computer paper, Waken scrawled a secret message across the sticks. Once dry, the sticks are carefully cut apart with a craft knife so that each one becomes a piece of the puzzle. For a sweet Mother’s or Father’s Day gift, package the set in a drawstring bag (bonus points for embellishing it with a painted message) and let Mom and Dad piece together their present.
Even though we've proven popsicle sticks can look chic, they’re still the reigning supply of the kids’ craft world. Littles ones will stay occupied for hours building a popsicle-stick world inspired by the houses and airplanes from the blog Say Yes. Let kids collect sticks from all of the ice pops devoured during the summer, or order a giant pack of 1,000 sticks for less than $10 on Amazon. Anything the city needs that a popsicle stick can’t cover can get drawn with markers or crayons. To fly between buildings, kids can assemble creative airplanes consisting of a clothespin fuselage and popsicle-stick wings. Craft paint or washi tape lets each kid brand their own private jet. It’s the only way to fly.
How did Fran from Fall for DIY get wooden popsicle sticks to magically curve into swooping wall hooks? She simply soaked them in warm water overnight to make them malleable, bent the ends back, and secured them in place with rubber bands. Once dry, the hooks held their new shape, so all that was left to do was decorate them with acrylic paint and attach them to the wall using removable picture-hanging strips. If you decide to make your own set, put it to work holding lightweight items like scarves, hats, or delicate necklaces. In the kitchen, these hooks can store reuseable shopping bags where you won’t forget them.
If you have popsicle sticks around the house (or even better, some fudge pops in the freezer just waiting to be eaten), there’s no reason to buy store-bought plant markers. Instead, give the sticks a couple coats of chalkboard paint, and use a piece of chalk or a chalk marker to name each herb on your windowsill. Leah Bergman from the blog Freutcake labeled one side of the markers with the plant ID, and wrote a thank-you message to her friends on the other. Try the same trick for birthdays or graduations and the plant label will double as a gift tag.