Here’s a quick and easy craft for kids using simple cutting, coloring and construction.

Calder Wire Dog

Alexander Calder, "Dog", 1926-31

These creatures were inspired by a wire-and-wood dog made by American sculptor and artist Alexander Calder. I particularly love how the clothespin makes such a quirky-shaped head. So I’ve adapted the idea here into a Pteranodon.


Wooden Clothespin
Colored Construction Paper
Floral Wire (or Pipe Cleaners)
Markers (or Paint)
Small Googley Eyes
Glue Stick
Safety Scissors

pteranodon head closeup

Pteranodon head with eyes on the side


Decide which side of the clothespin is the mouth. I like to use the closed end for the mouth, so that the kids can pinch the clothespin to open and close the mouth. It makes the creature interactive. Have the kids color the entire outside of the clothespin in a color that matches the color of their construction paper wings. If you don’t have a lot of time for this craft, use markers since they will dry immediately. Paint takes a while to dry and will delay the final construction of the Pteranodon. Next, have the kids pinch the clothespin open and color the inside of the mouth red. Once the head is colored (and dry) glue the eyes on. I prefer placing the eyes on the sides, and instructed the kids to glue them just above and in front of the spring that holds the clothespin together.

Wing Template

The base of the wing shape must be on the folded edge, tips of the wing are on the open side


Start with a piece of construction paper that’s about 12” x 3”, folded in half to make a 6” x 3” piece. Using the folded edge for the base of the wing, pre-trace a single wing shape on the paper for the kids and have them cut it out (which is what I do for the kindergarteners). Older kids can probably draw their own, just make sure that the base of the wing is at the folded edge, so that when the paper is unfolded you will have two equally shaped wings from one continuous sheet of paper. You can download a wing shape here. Now the kids can draw designs on the wings. Since the Pteranodon will be viewed from all angles, I like to have both sides of the wings decorated. Painting the designs makes for some beautiful and expressive designs, but you’ll need to allow it to dry before moving on to construction. If your kids need instant gratification, have them use markers to decorate the wings.

finished pteranodons

You can make your Pteranodons any color


Take your floral wire (or pipe cleaner) and thread it through the spring that holds the clothespin together. With the clothespin at the center of the wire, pulls the sides of the wire down to wrap around the bottom of the head (the side of the clothespin that does not have the eyes glued to it). Twist the wire 3-4 times to tighten it. These twists also serve as the neck. Now place the center of wings in between the two pieces of wire and twist again to hold the paper between the wires. With the remaining small sections of wire just spread them apart so they become the legs.

This entry was published on February 2, 2012 at 4:31 am. It’s filed under Crafts, Kids Art Projects and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: