Monday, April 11, 2016

Toilet Paper Roll Bats

When I was researching fun DIY Halloween Decoration ideas, I came across some adorable bats made out of toilet paper rolls.  This looked like a simple and fun project to do with Lucky, but an almost 2 year old and paint don't really mix yet.  He tends to be more interested in painting his hands than painting paper or a specific object.  Next year I think he'd be perfect to help out with a project like this, but since he didn't help with me this time I won't add the "Crafting with Toddlers" tag to this project.  

For most of the bats I folded the toilet paper cardboard tubes before painting the top half black.  As an experiment I painted one tube pre-folding to see how the paint would hold up after the folding.

BEFORE: Prepainted no folding
AFTER: prepainted folded
This worked much better than I expected.  I'm not sure why I thought that the paint might chip off during folding, but even the paint-thickened cardboard folded easily.

When we started saving toilet paper and paper towel tubes for this project, I started to wonder how many bats I was really going to make.  They're easy enough to construct that I could make dozens.  Ultimately I decided to continue to save the paper towel tubes because you never when you'll want a bunch for a craft project.  It could be a useful material to have on hand for future play dates.  (I promise I'm not hoarding!  There are just hundreds of crafts that use these tubes and I'd rather not have to ever buy any.)

I'm lucky the black paint is thick enough to only need one coat.  By the time I'd finished painting half the tubes I could turn them over and paint the other side.

I decided that 11 would make a nice even number.  Well, not even or round, but a fun number for Halloween.  (Sure, maybe 13 would be better, but Keith likes 11's, so 11 it is!)  I ran out of toilet paper tubes at 9, so I cut a paper towel tube in half for the last two bats.  These tubes are slightly longer than the other bats (not a problem) and the cardboard happens to also be a bit thinner (also not a problem.)

I used black construction paper to cut out 11 sets of wings for my bats.  Three pieces of paper was enough to create 12 sets of wings (although I only made 11.)

I used rubber cement rather than school glue to add the wings to the back of the TP rolls.  I selected this so it would dry faster and I'd have an easier time with the application of the flat wings to the curved backs of my bat bodies.  As I learned in my origami flowers, you can add some glue, wait a minute or two to let it get tacky and then stick it together.  

Once the wings were dry I only needed to add googly eyes to my bats.  Unfortunately, I underestimated the number of eyes I had in my stash so even using some with eyelashes I didn't have enough for 11 bats.  A quick run to the craft store helped me find some yellow and green eyes which were perfect for some Halloween Bats.  Plus, this add some variability to the decorations.  

I stuck the bats to my wall using painters tape.  They are too cute to be spooky, but make some wonderful Halloween Decor.

All but one of the bats survived the party.  They are much sturdier than you might expect, and the one casualty was knocked down and got stepped on.  The rest I think I might save for next year.  

What are your favorite crafts to make with toilet paper rolls?  I have enough of a stash (again, not a hoard!) to make something fairly epic!