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Make a cardboard-roll zoo with your minis

This fun make from designer-maker Lisa Stickley’s book Makes For Mini Folk is a perfect school holiday activity to do with the kids. A combo of cardboard rolls is great for this project, to give a variety of sizes. You’ll need to help younger children to cut, fold and slot the pieces together.


Say hello to the circus with this clever elephant balancing on a stand. You need 1 toilet roll for the stand and 1 larger kitchen roll for the elephant.

  1. Cut a 3cm/1¼ in piece from the smaller roll.
  2. Fold the larger roll flat and cut out an elephant shape, roughly following the diagram here. Be careful to leave the top of the ears attached.
  3. Where you have cut the feet, fold the section in-between the feet to the inside of the elephant. Squish the roll a bit to round it out and stick the ears out a bit.
  4. Paint the stand and the elephant, adding eyes and tusks. Leave to dry.
  5. Slot the elephant onto the stand. Trunks away!


You’ll need 5 toilet rolls for snappy results!

  1. On roll 1, cut 2 slits for the mouth and fold in the cut edges to make a pointy mouth. On rolls 2 and 3, cut 2 slits, 2cm/¾ in long, on either side in the middle(ish), making sure they are opposite each other.
  2. On roll 4, cut a tail shape. Next cut 2 strips for feet on roll 5, just under 2cm/¾ in wide, then cut claws at the end of each foot. Slot the foot pieces into the slits on rolls 2 and 3. Slot head roll into roll 2, then slot rolls 2 and 3 together. Slot tail into the other end of roll 3.
  3. Paint your crocodile green all over, then add eyes, teeth and scales. Leave to dry.


You’ll need 2 cardboard rolls for this happy chap.

  1. Cut leg shapes into back and front of the first roll and poke them out a little bit.
  2. Cut 2 ear shapes into the second roll and fold them up. Cut a slit halfway into the roll underneath the ears so the head roll will slot onto the leg roll. Fold in the mouth on head piece.
  3. Paint your zebra all over with stripes, adding eyes, nostrils and hooves, and leave to dry. Slot together once dry.

This project is taken from Makes For Mini Folk by Lisa Stickley (Pavilion), where you’ll find lots more fun craft projects to make for your minis.