Paper Towel Roll Firefly Craft for Kids

We were inspired by Eric Carle’s The Very Lonely Firefly to make this firefly craft using  an empty paper towel roll. This simple art activity provides practice in cutting, gluing and painting, and turns out super cute!

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firefly craft for kids inspired by The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric CarleThis post contains affiliate links.


Eric Carle is one of our favorite authors, and recently, Theo and I have been enjoying his book, The Very Lonely Firefly, over and over! It’s such a fun story to read aloud- kids love the repetitive text and colorful illustrations. (And the last page of the hardback version has a very exciting surprise- it actually lights up!)

the very lonely firefly by eric carpe


We decided to make our own fireflies (or lightning bugs as I used to call them) using a cardboard tube and some paper. They turned out super cute! (You could even make a smaller version using an empty toilet paper roll.)


Firefly Craft for Kids Using a Cardboard Tube


Materials for Firefly Craft

  • Empty paper towel roll
  • Paint: white, yellow, brown, red, orange, black
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Construction paper: green, blue, yellow, red, brown
  • Art paper (This is our favorite art paper. It’s inexpensive and holds different types of paints really well.)


cardboard tube firefly craft inspired by eric carle

Directions for Firefly Craft

1. Paint your cardboard tube to resemble the body of a firefly. We painted the top 2/3 of ours brown and the bottom third with white and yellow stripes. Set it aside to dry.


painted cardboard tube for firefly craft


2. Create the colored paper to use for the wings. (We wanted our wings to resemble the firefly’s wings in the book so we decided to paint our wing paper, but you could also just use construction paper wings to simplify the activity.)

To make your own painted wings:  place red, orange, and a touch of black paint onto a paper plate. Use a brush to cover your entire sheet of art paper with paint. We started with orange and mixed in red. On the second sheet of paper, we added a bit of black. Set this paper aside to dry.


make collage paper for eric carle firefly craft


3. Once the paper is dry, cut out two sets of wings. Glue them to the back of your cardboard tube.


4. Cut out the pieces for the head of your firefly from the construction paper. You’ll need: 1 green circle for the face, a red circle for the nose, two yellow circles and two smaller blue circles for the eyes, and two brown antennae. If your children are comfortable with scissors, encourage them to try to cut out the shapes on their own.

Glue the pieces to the green face. Then glue the completed face to the front of your cardboard tube. Let dry.


lightning bug craft for kids


Use your completed firefly for creative play or hang  them up in your home or classroom!


cardboard tube firefly craft inspired by eric carle

Love using children’s books to encourage a love of learning and creating? Be sure to check out our book, Exploring Books Through Play!

exploring books through play

lightning bug craft for kids




Paper Towel Roll Firefly Craft for Kids: Use an empty cardboard tube to make a lightning bug art project inspired by The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle! Great addition to a unit on insects or bugs and perfect for summer! ~

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