Crinkly Crumpled Paper Designs

It’s a snap to scrunch up something special with tissue paper scraps! Plus it’s perfect preschool hand-eye coordination and small motor skill practice!


This activity involves lots of small paper pieces and glue, so prepare cover yourself, your child and your area. Check out the FAQ for cover-up tips.

MATERIALS - click to buy
  1. Construction paper like this example on Amazon - any color your preschooler chooses
  2. Brightly colored tissue paper found here, cut into pieces about 1 to 2 inches in size. It takes about 60 pieces to completely fill a 9 by 13 inch piece of construction paper. Adults, you can cut several layers of tissue into squares in advance. Or, 3's and 4's may enjoy helping you tear the tissue into pieces. Note that square-shapes are ideal, but any shape or scraps will do. The key is that the pieces are small enough for your preschooler to crumple with their fingers. We don’t recommend using heavier paper, such as construction or wrapping paper, because it’s too difficult for smaller fingers to crunch.
  3. Washable, clear glue or disappearing, white glue like this. We don’t recommend using glue sticks for this activity, because the paper won’t stick properly.
  4. Scissors, for Adults only!
  5. Small, washable bowl or 9-inch paper plate like this to hold glue. We find it’s easiest to pour out a small amount of glue into a container, then dip the pieces into the glue, versus dabbing a dot from a bottle on to each piece.
  6. Optional - Small containers with lids like these to hold any left-over tissue
  1. Skilly Spark: Look at all these small pieces of tissue. So many different colors, right? Can you tell me what colors you see? Watch how I can crumple them between my fingers. Now you try crumpling some, too. Then, we can use these crinkly, wrinkly pieces to make designs. Let’s see what we can create!
  2. Gather your flat, tissue paper pieces into the center of your work area.
  3. Adults, pick up one of the pieces, crumple it, and dip the bottom of the crumpled tissue piece into your glue. Then, press a piece down onto the construction paper, one at a time. Do this a few more times to be sure your little one sees how to do it.
  4. Now it’s time for your preschool artist to do the same. Give your little one a piece of construction paper. You may find that 2-year-olds enjoy the crumpling by itself and may not be interested in pasting the pieces onto the paper. This is perfectly fine, you can save them for later!
  5. Your preschooler may choose to glue the pieces close together to make a solid area or anywhere on the paper in a random pattern. It’s their choice!
  6. Continue crumpling, gluing and pasting until the design is complete or your little one loses interest.
Keep the fun going
  • What season is it? Choose colors that reflect the current season and the changes you can see.
  • Go big! A group of preschoolers can work together to make a collaborative Crinkly Crumpled Paper Designs project on a long piece of easel paper like this.
  • Older children, 3- and 4-year-olds, can first draw shapes (perhaps their favorite animal) with markers or crayons and then fill it up or add details with crumpled tissue.
  • Trees and flowers! Adults, make an outline of tree branches or a flower stem on a piece of construction paper. Then ask your child to add dimension with crinkled tissue.
  • Upcycle an plastic clam-shell container or cardboard box with crinkly designs to make a outstanding gift!