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This cardinal-inspired paper craft teaches children about circles and cutting on a curved line.


Art, Math, Science  



Title – Circles create Cardinals
By – Paula Hrbacek
Primary Subject – Art
Secondary Subjects – Science, Math
Grade Level – 1




This cardinal-inspired paper craft teaches kindergarten and first grade children about circles and cutting on a curved line.


“This time of year, red birds, also called cardinals, can be seen hunting for seed all over Eastern North America, but they don’t migrate. The birds you see in your yard live in your town just as much as you do. Cardinals like to nest in dense tangles of bushes and vines like azaleas.” For more information about cardinals, see .


  • Light blue construction paper
  • Red construction paper
  • Scraps of green, orange and black construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Paper hole punch
  • Glue
  • CD’s or sour cream lids
  • Lids from baby food jars or Pringles cans, or poker chips
  • Cardboard cut into a leaf shape or oval lids from solid deodorant
  • Pencil
  • Pictures of cardinals for an example.


  1. Demonstrate how to use a CD for a tracer, running the pencil around the edge so that it touches the paper and CD at the same time. Trace three circles on red paper using a CD, and one smaller circle using a lid about two inches wide. Cut out the circles.
  2. Glue one of the large circles in the center of the blue sheet. Fold the other two large circles in half, and glue them on opposite sides of the first circle to make wings. The folded edge of the wing should point forward because this is how a wing works. The front edge of a wing is rounded to make the wind move faster, and that creates lift.
  3. Glue the small circle to the sheet to make the head.
    Cut a triangle from red paper and glue it to the body to make a tail. Cut a small triangle from orange or yellow paper to make a beak. Use a paper punch to make two small circles for eyes.
  4. Use a cardboard tracer to make four leaf shapes from green paper. The freshness seals that come on plastic containers of solid deodorants also make good tracers for this project, as do the lids. The caps from deodorant can be squished on each end with a pair of pliers to make the plastic pointed on each end like a leaf. Trace around the shapes on green paper and cut out four leaves. If you don’t have enough tracers for a large group, the plastic lids can be used as stamps with an ink pad.

    Note: The proper name for a leaf or football shape is “vesica piscis.” The shape is made when two circles overlap each other. Vesica piscis is Latin for “bladder of a fish” or a fish body. It looks like a fish without fins. In Italian, the shape is called mandorla, which means “almond”, a kind of nut. (Wikipedia)

  5. Glue the leaves to the paper to make it look like the bird is flying through the trees. This is called an “aerial view” because it is the view you would see from an airplane.

Variation of the finished project:

Download or print Ms. Hrbacek’s original article and actual example below:

You can make a different cardinal picture by adding another red triangle crest and a black or brown rectangle branch. The variation on the left is by

Note about the author:

Paula Hrbacek writes a column about children’s arts and crafts in The Examiner , a free online newspaper. Click the subscribe button on the bottom of the page, and new articles will be sent to you by email free of charge. You can also follow “PHrbacek” on Twitter.

E-Mail Paula Hrbacek !


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