Let’s make a toilet paper roll snake craft! If you are looking for a preschool craft to do with empty toilet paper rolls, try this paper snake craft that uses just a few craft supplies and creates a very realistic looking snake. Make a cardboard tube snake craft at home or in the classroom.

Collage of paper snake ,step by set instructions, real snake picture and a toddler wearing a paper snake - Kids Activities Blog
Grab a few craft supplies…we are making a cardboard tube snake!

Cardboard Tube Snake Craft for Kids

Last weekend, we went to Liberty science center and saw a live snake in an animal show.

Related: How to draw a snake

Real snake pictues - inspiration for snake craft
Isn’t it cool? I have never seen a snake this close. Also, look at the patterns.

My son and I were really mesmerized by the looks, slithering moves, and patterns on the snake and were inspired to do this paper snake craft after coming home. We used things we already had on hand to make our snake. Don’t be afraid to substitute craft supplies to save yourself a trip to the craft store!

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Toilet Paper Snake Craft

Materials Used to Make Paper Snake Craft

supplies for making toilet paper snake craft using empty toilet paper rolls
This is what we used to make a toilet paper roll snake!

Directions to Make Toilet Paper Snake Craft

Step 1

Step 1 - Toddler painting an empty paper roll for preschool craft to make snake
Start by painting your cardboard tubes

Paint the empty toilet paper rolls using a paintbrush in the color of your choice.

We chose brown inspired by the real snake we saw during our weekend trip to the science center (see above picture).

My little one loved painting the rolls.

Step 2

Step 2 - empty toilet paper rolls are painted brown for snake craft
We are going to add snake skin details…

Allow painted rolls to dry.

Step 3

Step 3 - sponge is dipped in dark brown paint and made patterns to mimic the real snake
Look how the diamond shapes makes great snake skin!

Cut a sponge in a square shape to make a pattern.

Mix a dollop of black paint with brown paint to get dark brown paint. Dip the sponge in the paint mixture to make the square pattern on the painted paper rolls. 

Step 4

Step 4 - yellow square pattern on empty toilet paper roll preschool snake craft
Add some other colors to your snake skin…

Then repeat the previous step using yellow paint on both sides of the brown squares.

Allow that paint layer to dry.

Step 5

Step 5 - Make snake tongue and snake eyes using pipe cleaner and yellow buttons for paper snake craft

While the paint is drying, make tongue and eyes for the snake.

  1. To make the snake tongue, twist the pipe cleaner as shown below.
  2. To make the snake eyes, cut the center part of the eyes in black tape and stick it in the middle of the yellow button to make the snake eyes.

If you don’t have black tape, you could use black card stock or just a black marker to draw the eyes. 

Step 6

Step 6 - Cut two small triangle pieces on either side of the paper roll after gluing the tongue to create the snake head for paper snake craft
Shape the snake head

Take one of the painted paper rolls, use hot glue to glue the snake tongue inside of the roll and close the paper roll.

Step 7 - paper snake craft with close up of snake's head
Add the forked tongue!

Cut two small triangles on either side to make the snake’s head as shown.

Then glue on the snake’s eyes. 

Step 8 - end of the snake - how to make paper snake craft using empty paper rolls
Now for the snake tail…

Step 7

Now take the ribbon and insert it on another end of the first paper roll and glue it:

  1. If you are using paper towel rolls like me, you can cut them to the size of toilet paper rolls to make the snake curvy.
  2. Thread each roll and glue the ribbon to the bottom using hot glue.
  3. When you reach the last roll, close the end using glue and shape it like a tail using scissors. 

Finished Toilet Paper Snake Craft

finished snake: how to make paper plate snake craft
Our finished snake looks so real!

The paper snake craft is done. Now you can take the snake and train it like you wish, dance or slither with it. We absolutely love how this snake craft turned out. 

snake craft using toilet paper roll tube for preschool and kindergarten
I don’t want to see this snake in my backyard!

Snake Craft for Preschool & Kindergarten

This is a great preschool or Kindergarten project to do with a group of kids and thread each of the rolls the kids painted into a big snake and display it. 

toddler holding a snake craft using empty toilet roll craft
Let’s play with snakes…kinda.

My son loved wearing the snake craft and pretending like he is holding a real snake and making afraid faces. 

Yield: 1 snake

Toilet Paper Roll Snake Craft for Kids

how to make paper plate snake craft

This toilet paper roll craft is perfect for preschool and kindergarten age kids...and due to the realistic nature of how this turns out, older kids will enjoy it too! Painted toilet paper or paper towel rolls are strung together with string and a snake tongue and snake eyes are added. You can make these as long as you want...and they can look very realistic!

Active Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Difficulty easy
Estimated Cost $0


  • toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls or craft rolls
  • washable paint of your choice - we used brown, black and yellow
  • sponge
  • paintbrush
  • buttons
  • black tape
  • red pipe cleaner
  • ribbon


  • Hot glue gun
  • Hot glue gun glue
  • Scissors or preschool training scissors


  1. Paint the empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls a consistent color - we used brown & let them dry.
  2. Cut a sponge into a diamond pattern to use as a stamp for the snake skin.
  3. Dip sponge into a dark color and make a pattern of diamonds down the edge of the painted rolls. Let dry.
  4. Dip sponge into a lighter color and repeat the step above.
  5. Make a snake tongue out of a red pipe cleaner by twisting and making a forked end.
  6. Create snake eyes out of buttons and black tape or black paper.
  7. Place tongue in the end of one painted tube and then glue and squeeze to a point. Snip either side making the snake head more triangular.
  8. Glue on snake eyes.
  9. Glue string or ribbon into the head end and then string on the other painted pieces. We had 12 pieces for our snake. Secure the end in the tail piece with more glue.

Additional Snake Learning for Kids 

Reptile book cover

Eyewitness Books: Reptile

Here is one of our favorite books, all about creepy crawling reptiles: Reptile (Eyewitness Books)
The Eyewitness book, Reptile has full-color photos and is a close up look at the habitats, behavior and natural history of reptiles.  It is for reading age 9-12, but younger kids will love learning about the subject and looking at the pictures.

More Snake & animal Crafts from Kids Activities Blog

Looking for more toilet paper fun? Here are 25 more toilet paper crafts! and another list of 65 toilet paper roll crafts!

How did your paper snake craft turn out?

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  1. Thank you for linking a great SNAKE activity up to the ‘Children & Animals at play’ BLOGHOP.
    Lovely greetings, Angelique

  2. Even I like that snake- and I am not a snake lover. At least this one is not a snake that mom can confuse for the real thing, right? I think both of my boys would love this. When Logan was about 16 months we went to a playgroup where we just made snakes by painting a papertowel tube green and tying a string to it. He pulled that “pull toy” around for at least a month. It’s crazy how easily they can be entertained!

  3. What a super cute idea! Can’t wait to try it with my kids, they love Diego and Dora when they get to watch it at Grandma’s house.

  4. Now why haven’t I thought of that? Very cute idea. I’ll have to start my TP roll collection today. =)

  5. What a cute activity! The pumpkin would love this, and the toilet rolls are big enough she would have the coordination to help string it! Thanks!