Paper Plate Animals

Make your animal-themed activities interesting and fun with these easy paper plate animals.
Paper Plate Animals craft


  • Paper plate
  • Any water-based paint
  • White glue
  • Scissors
  • Paint brush
  • Wiggle eyes
  • Construction paper
  • Crayons or markers
  • Craft stick, pompoms, other decorative materials

Safety Tips

  • Watch out for this sign Ask for an adult's help.. It means adult help is needed for the particular step.


Step 1 Paper Plate Animals craft 1.

Think about what animal you want to make

Imagine a paper plate to be the animal's head. What do you need to decorate the paper plate with to make it more look like the animal you have in mind?
Step 2a Paper Plate Animals craft 2.

Make the ears and other special parts

The next step involves cutting out head parts that need to be painted the same color as the head. For most animals, this will involve cutting out a pair of ears out of construction paper or cardboard.
Step 2b Paper Plate Animals craft   Some animals, like the elephant, will need additional parts, like its long trunk.
Step 3a Paper Plate Animals craft 3.

Attach the ears

With the paper plate's right side up, glue the pair of ears on either side of the plate. Allow the glue to dry.
Step 3b Paper Plate Animals craft If your animal has other parts that need to be glued on, flip the paper plate over so that the bottom side is facing up, before gluing on the trunk or other head parts.
Step 4a Paper Plate Animals craft 4.

Paint the animal

Remember to position the paper plate bottom side up with the ears glued at the back. Paint the animal with any water-based paint.
Step 4b Paper Plate Animals craft Paint on some spots or stripes if your animal has these patterns. You can finger paint or use a paint brush. If you want to try something new, you can make your own potato stamps or fruit and vegetable stamps to make the animal patterns. After you're done painting, allow the paint to dry completely.
Step 5 Paper Plate Animals craft 5.

Add eyes

When the paint has dried, you can add the remaining facial features. To make the eyes, you can glue on wiggle eyes, buttons or paper cut-outs.
Step 6a Paper Plate Animals craft 6.

Make the nose and mouth

For a lot of animals, you can simply draw or paint on the nose and mouth. Examples are shown below that include a leopard, tiger and lion.

Some animals like this giraffe, have snouts. To make a snout, cut out an oval shape from construction paper and draw the animal's nostrils and mouth on it. You can use crayons, oil pastels, colored pencils or markers for drawing.
Step 6b Paper Plate Animals craft Glue the snout onto to the paper plate head. To make the animal's head a little less round, position the snout so that it protrudes a little bit along the bottom of the plate. You can do this with long-faced animals such as giraffes, horses, cows or goats.
Step 7 Paper Plate Animals craft Ask for an adult's help.7.

Additional details

You can add additional details if you like. This giraffe needs a pair of horns and I made them by cutting a craft stick in half and gluing them at the back of the paper plate. The craft sticks can be colored or painted before gluing on circles out of construction paper at the tips of the horns.
Step 8 Paper Plate Animals craft 8. This giraffe illustrates the basic steps for making paper plate animals. More ideas for making these animals are presented in the section below.

More Ideas

Paper Plate Tiger and Leopard craft

Paper Plate Tiger and Leopard

Children will surely enjoy exploring and painting the different patterns and colors that animals have. This craft can also be used to learn about the similarities and differences of animals belonging to the same family or classification.
Paper Plate Lion craft

Paper Plate Lion

The important detail for making a lion is its mane. Cut out strips of brown construction paper or crepe paper and glue these around the back edge of the paper plate.
Paper Plate Elephant craft

Paper Plate Elephant

As shown in the tutorial above (Step 3), a long trunk out of cardboard or construction paper is attached to the paper plate prior to painting. The lines or creases can be painted on or drawn with a crayon. When using a crayon, make sure the painted paper plate is dry before drawing the lines or other details.
Paper Plate Dog craft

Paper Plate Puppy

If you don't feel like making a messy craft, you can skip the painting step altogether. This puppy just needed brown paper cut-outs for the ears and the patch around the eyes. The nose was cut out from thick craft foam to give it a more three-dimensional feel.
Paper Plate Bunny craft

Paper Plate Rabbit

To add fluff to this rabbit, a pompom was glued on for the nose and a fluffy snout was created out of cotton.
Paper Plate Zebra craft

Paper Plate Zebra

The steps for making this zebra are almost identical to that of the giraffe except for the tufts of hair at the top of the zebra's head. To make these hair (or mane), cut thin strips of black construction paper and glue these at the back of the paper plate, in the area between the ears.
Paper Plate Cow craft

Paper Plate Cow

Craft sticks are great for making animal horns although you can also make horns out of construction paper or cardboard.
Paper Plate Reindeer craft

Paper Plate Reindeer

Handprints are an easy way of making antlers. See how it's done in our paper plate reindeer craft.
Paper Plate Bear craft

Paper Plate Bear

Add fuzz or fur to the animal by gluing on cotton or paper towel strips onto the paper plate. Check out our Fuzzy Paper Plate Bear craft to learn how to make a furry polar bear, brown bear, black bear, and panda bear.
Paper Plate Three Little Pigs craft

The Three Little Pigs

Paper plate animals are great for storytelling or role playing. Make a handle by gluing a wooden dowel at the back of the paper plate so that the dowel spans the top and bottom edges of the plate. If you don't have a dowel, you can glue or tape two craft sticks end-to-end like I did so that it makes a long handle.

Give the animals lots of character by drawing expressive mouths, eyebrows or even distinct facial features like freckles or mustaches. Hats, bows and wearable details can further give them character. If you want to wear them as masks, simply cut out eyeholes on the paper plate.

I hope this tutorial has given you a lot of ideas for making your own paper plate animals. For more amazing animal crafts, check out our Animal Crafts page. Have fun!