Make: A Bubble Wrap Printed Chameleon Craft for Kids

We’ve gone absolutely WILD for spring hat season this year! Something about the month of April makes me want to doll myself up, put on a fancy hat, and strut my stuff in this GORGEOUS weather. This year, instead of an Easter bonnet we decided to go avant-garde with an exotic DIY fascinator – accessorized with our own alluring bubble wrap printed chameleon!

An adult wearing our jungle-themed DIY fascinator with bubble wrap painted chameleon in front of a white background

Inspired by green (the ultimate color of spring!) our cardboard chameleon craft and DIY fascinator start with an incredibly fun process your kids can try as a stand-alone chameleon art activity. The star of our headpiece was printed with bubble wrap to give the illusion of colorful rainbow scales. And he looks so adorable that I’ll be putting him on a stick and saving him for puppet shows when I’m finished wearing this spring beauty. Or MAYBE even making him his own upcycled reptile aquarium…!

If you haven’t tried bubble wrap painting with your kids before, this project is a great way to dip your toes in because the effect just works SO well. Try this, then move on to bubble wrap printed dinosaurs, fish, turtles…the parade of animals you can make with this technique never ends.

Love this little chameleon? Move from reptiles to adorable amphibians with our climbing paper tree frogs and hopping spring peeper poppers!

To make your own  upcycled bubble wrap stamped chameleon craft you’ll need:

Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains Woodpeckers Crafts and/or Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*


  • A cereal box or cardboard (or 1-2 sheets of heavy cardstock)
  • Scissors
  • Acrylic paints in bright colors
  • Bubble wrap
  • A bottlecap
  • A drinking straw or pipe cleaner
  • Craft glue or a hot glue gun



  • A headband
  • A green plastic bottle
  • A brown paper grocery bag
  • A mesh produce bag

DIY Upcycled Bubble Wrap Stamped Chameleon Craft

  1. Draw a chameleon and jungle leaves or print our template

    Print out the desired template pages on a sheet of white or color cardstock (or trimmed cereal box as we did!) and cut your chameleons and leaves out. You can also print onto a page of scrap paper, cut out and trace onto thicker materials like cardboard that may not run through your printer.
    Create a variety of colorful chameleon kids crafts with simple recycled supplies using our chameleon and jungle leaves templates | via barley & birch

  2. Use bubble wrap to print a colorful pattern onto your chameleon

    Time to paint! I had hand-drawn the shapes onto a cereal box, so I started by painting a layer of flat color onto all of my pieces. If you want to speed up the project or avoid a lot of paint and longer drying times, you can print directly onto colored cardstock instead.
    Use bubble wrap to print on these cute crafty chameleons! | via barley & birch
    After letting the first layer dry, I added scales to the chameleon by printing with small squares of bubble wrap. Smush a dab of paint out so it’s flat, thin, and evenly spread, gently dab your bubble wrap in, then start using it as a stamp on your chameleon! Be sure to give it a good, even press when you stamp to get a nice textured scale look! I used quite a few bright colors, but you can use any combination you want.

    You can also paint or draw embellishments on, add glitter, or use other printmaking techniques to create a whole bunch of colorful chameleons!

  3. Add details with recycled scrap items

    Add a lizard-like bulging eye by gluing a bottlecap on. You can add a dot of paint to create a tiny eyeball as we did, or glue on a googly eye.
    Our bubble wrap printed chameleon sitting on a pair of jungle leaves.
    A brightly-colored drinking straw makes the perfect tongue! Roll one side up and give it a pinch, then glue it to the back of your chameleon. You can also use a pipe cleaner or a thin strip of rolled-up paper.

  4. Add to a headband along with recycled items for a jungle-inspired fascinator!

    Want to really get crazy with this bubble wrap chameleon craft and make some wearable art as we did? You can hot glue your chameleon and a few of our leaves to a headband and turn it into a crazy cool fascinator! Can you match up each supply we saved from the recycling bin to the other details of our fascinator…??The supplies for our DIY chameleon fascinator.
    The cereal box and bottle cap were used for our chameleon and leaves. We added some mesh netting from a lime bag to create a soft netting decoration that covers our forehead. Some green plastic bottle cuttings were used to create jungle-like “foliage”. To give our chameleon a “branch” to sit on, we twisted up a strip cut from a paper grocery bag.

A fascinator fit for a queen! And just wild enough for a royal wedding…might want to check your mail for an invitation if you decide to make one of these! 😉

A pair of kid-made bubble wrap painted chameleons in process.

More ways to play with your handmade chameleon craft!

Not feeling headwear? There are so many ways to have fun with this little guy! Here are a few of my favorite ways for kids to put their chameleons to use…

  • Give your chameleon a home in a DIY cardboard pretend play pet tank – perfect for kids who are interested in a pet, but not quite ready for the real thing…!
  • Hot glue your chameleon to a pinback back to create a large and amazingly awesome jungle-lovers DIY badge.
  • Attach it to a length of yarn or ribbon along with some rolled paper beads or for an exotic DIY necklace.

This whole project started when our friends over at Start Creative Studio invited us to take part in an exquisite exhibit of DIY fascinators from recycled materials. Along with some of our favorite creative confidants, we crafted a whole rainbow of headwear! You can take the colorful tour by visiting Start Creative Studio’s red head-turner, Cinta & Co.’s orange amazement, Creating Creatives’ enchanting yellow charmer,  ART CAMP’s vision in blue, and Make it Your Own’s purple blooming desert splendor!

If you’re looking for more reptile crafts, you will definitely want to stop by our toddler turtle play dough invitations (with a free printable playdough mat!). Or make more recycled animals with our simple DIY tutorials for (floating!) egg carton ducklings and egg carton whales.

*A note about affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Amazon, Etsy, or Woodpeckers Crafts. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click through to make a purchase we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!

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Amanda E.

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help kids and families discover their creative potential through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. Amanda has a background in graphic design, environmental design, and art curation. When not playing with ideas and designs for barley & birch, she enjoys working in freelance design, art, and illustration.


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