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October has finally arrived – with its rustling leaves, gleaming gourds, grinning pumpkins.
These eerily ethereal bendable bat sculptures were inspired by the mysterious mood of Halloween – an ode to things that go bump in the night! Combining the fun of hands-on art process exploration and some little tricks to give the illusion of bats in flight, our mini-sculptures are a ghoulishly good way to spend a fall afternoon.
There are a million ways to make this autumn art project work for kids of any age, skill level, or interest, so hang around (te-he!) until the end for some modified bendable bat ideas!
To make your own DIY bendable bats and sculpture you’ll need:
Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains a few Woodpeckers Crafts and/or Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*
Sheetof watercolor paper or white cardstock
Sheetof black cardstock or construction paper
- Watercolors, pastels, or other supplies to color your bat
- Wire (we used this 20-Guage beading wire – it holds shape well, but it is still very easy for little hands to bend!)
- Hot glue gun
- A needle& thread (or tape & thread)
- A wooden block (like these)
DIY Bendable Bat Sculpture Instructions:
- Sketch a bat silhouette or download & print our templates
Print out the desired template pages on to copy paper (to cut a template) or directly on to watercolor paper that has been trimmed to fit your printer (you may want to run a test print through first to make sure your printer can handle the thickness of the paper).
You can use the first page for two smaller bats as we did, or you can create one large bat using the second sheet.
If you’d rather not use our printables, you can sketch your own simple bat outline onto a piece of watercolor paper or heavy cardstock to create your own template.
- Color your bat with watercolors, pastels, or other art supplies
Let air dry for 10-15 minutes, or hit with a dry dryer to speed up the drying time.
You can experiment with fun painting techniques or new art supplies. Try using salt with watercolors or flicking your brush to create paint splatters! You can drip ink onto the page, or quickly run over your bat with a glue stick (after it’s dry) and sprinkle with DIY salt glitter for a horrifyingly good supernatural sparkle.
- Glue a small line of wire to the back of your bat
Once your colorful bat has dried completely, flip it over and hot glue a thin line of jewelry wire (or piece of
pipecleaner) straight across from wing to wing. We used a piece that was about 4.5 inches long. This will make your bat bendable!
Note: If you’d like to simplify the project for younger kids, you can skip this step. If you’re using paper, you’ll still be able to fold it – it’s just more likely to lose its shape over time.
- Trace a second bat onto black paper
Wire-side up, lay your bat on a piece of black paper, and trace with a pencil to create a second bat. Cut out the black copy of your bat.
- Stack your bats and glue them together
Using a glue stick, cover your black bat with glue (or run along the full edge with a thin line of hot glue). Stack the colorful bat on top (wire side facing down) and glue your bats together – making sure the edges are aligned.
- Bend your bat into the desired shape
Now for the fun part…bend, gently form or fold your bat into any position you’d like! Do you want your bat to look like it’s flying through the air? Or maybe your bat is sleeping and the wings are folded in over its body…it’s totally up to you!
If you’re working with younger kids, you may want to stop right here and just explore shaping and re-shaping your bats. You can hang them from a piece of yarn, glue them to a clothespin, or create a ghoulishly good garland with a full set!
- Thread with string to hang
Push a threaded needle up through your bat to string and prepare for hanging. You’ll want to think carefully about where you position the string. Threading it closer to the front will cause the bat to tilt upwards, while positioning it toward the back gives it a downward angle.
Note: Trying to avoid a sharp needle? You can just use a sticky piece of clear tape or glue gun to attach the string to your bat.
- Hot glue a piece of beading wire to a wooden block base
Cut a strip of beading wire to about 16 inches, then fold in half and twist to double up (this will make your hanger stronger, so it’s able to hold up the bat without slowly bending down). Form a slight arc, create a small bend, and
smallcircle at the bottom, then hot glue to the top of a wooden block.
We liked the look of black blocks (perfect for Halloween, right?!) so we painted ours – you may want to do this before you glue your wire on (it was a little messy when we painted ours after).
- Tie your bat to the wire and let fly!
Tie the loose end of your string/strings to the small circle on your hanging wire and watch your bat fly!
Other ways to use your handmade bats
Love these little bat sculptures but looking for options with fewer steps? Try one of these
- Make a full set of bendable bats, then glue to a ribbon for a
- Create 2-3 bendable bats, then cut a moon and stars from paper. Add a piece of yarn to each, then tie on to a stick or wreath.
- Turn your bats into a creepy collection of faux bat taxidermy – instant kid-made devilish decorations!
- Glue a clothespin or magnet to the back of a bendable bat for a bat that can hang from anywhere.
- Glue your bendable bat to a headband or add a pin-back, for cool wearable art.
- Need a little bat-spiration? Learn more about them with some general bat info (via Kiddle) check out all the cool species (via Bat Conservation International) or spend some time diving into a little bat science (via Scholastic).
Here for the boos? We have Halloween covered with this adorable free printable Halloween doodle book, some super hip upcycled costume ideas, a roundup of our fav modern no-carve pumpkins, and even a recipe (and ghost stickers!) for healthy homemade Ecto-Cooler!
*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 or Woodpecker 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!