Milk Jug Elmer Elephant Craft

Make an Elmer the elephant using a milk jug and coloured tissue paper squares!  A great craft for kids to go along with a much-loved story book which can be used as a story prop or puppet too.Elmer elephant milk jug craft

This is a classic craft that we were doing back when we were teaching and it is always popular as a way to celebrate the beloved Elmer character from David McKee’s wonderful story books. If you don’t already know Elmer and his beautiful, patchwork design, you’ll be in for a treat when you discover this book with your little ones!

Milk jug elephants

Materials needed for this milk jug Elmer elephant craft:

1 (or more) empty and clean milk jug containers


brightly coloured tissue paper cut into equal size and shape squares

PVA/ white glue and brushes

white card

black pen

Stand the milk jug up and cut into it just below the handle. This will form the elephant’s trunk. Then cut off the entire bottom half of the jug and cut four legs into it, as well as a little tail. Done!

Materials for Elmer craft

We simply looked at the pictures in our Elmer book, then set out tissue paper and glue and started to stick. We talked about the squares needing to touch each other all of the way around his body, and that there should be no gaps. I helped start them off in a straight line, then they were very independent in continuing on their own.Elmer craft

Where some of the colours overlapped the colours occasionally bled into each other, but this looked lovely and we agreed that it improved his design even more! Once they were covered they added another wash of glue over the top to make it dry hard and shiny. It didn’t take long at all, and then we came back to them to add ears and eyes.Elmer elephants using milk jugs

The ears were made by cutting equal sized pieces of white card into semi circles, with a tab at the bottom so we could bend it and glue onto the body. They stuck the colours onto the ears before we attached them, then we trimmed around the edges where it had overlapped.

The eyes were simply white circles cut from card, with black pupils drawn with Sharpie markers.Milk jug Elmer elephant craft activity

All done and looking oh-so-adorable! These make a great puppet or story-telling prop and it would be fun to make some of the other elephants from the story, both in their usual grey colour and in their decorations from the Elmer’s day parade! Kids could make up their own designs and be as inventive as they can.Milk jug Elmer elephant craft

See all our other Arts and Crafts ideas for kids here.

The children are currently: 5, 4 and 2.

What they are learning as they play:

maths: making a patchwork using repeating squares

creativity: junk model making, sculptural art, overlapping, layering, experimenting with colour

literacy: using props and puppets for story-telling, brining story characters to life through games and retelling

physical: fine motor skills and coordination, working on a vertical plane

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  1. says

    Such a fantastic idea, why have I never seen a milk jug as an elephant before? It seems so obvious 😉 Ethan would love this, he adores all of his Elmer books!

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