Chenille stems, also known as pipe cleaners, are widely used within the arts & crafts community. Pipe cleaners were originally designed as cleaning tools for smoking pipes because with frequent use pipes would quickly clog, grow moldy and unpleasant without regular cleaning. Today, pipe cleaners are widely used as crafting materials. Their bright colors, manipulatable stems, and soft textures make them crafting favorites, even in households where no pipes may be found.
What to make with pipe cleaners? There are endless projects for both children and adults to create using arts and crafts pipe cleaners. The first and simplest possibility is just to shape the pipe cleaners themselves into different colorful shapes, including flowers, letters, numbers and any other shape you like. You can twist chenille stems into interesting items or bouquets, then attach them to magnets and arrange them on your refrigerator.
The stiff wire stems at the center of the chenille stems are also ideal for three-dimensional crafts. You can wrap them into coils to create finger puppets or pencil toppers, braid them into bracelets or bend many pipe cleaners together into doll furniture and other delicate miniatures. Plus, you can combine pipe cleaners with pompoms, straws and googly eyes to create animals, superheroes and dancers, etc. for small children to play with.
Remember that the wire in the center of pipe cleaners is magnetic. You can twist pipe cleaner creations that help teach kids about magnets, even creating games using magnets to pick up fuzzy animal-shaped pipe cleaner crafts.
Where to buy pipe cleaners? Artists can find pipe cleaners where crafts are sold, in craft stores, general stores, tobacco stores and at Arteza, naturally. The largest and most specialized packs are sold online, where you can find packs of hundreds of pipe cleaners in dozens of different shades. Some may glitter, and some may be made of cotton instead of chenille; some may even be made with more durable wire that can bend indefinitely without fear of snapping.
Whatever crafts you’re making, pipe cleaners/chenille stems are an excellent, colorful addition that will add that unique texture to your projects. They’ve become so indispensable as craft materials, it’s no wonder they’re not used just for cleaning pipes anymore.