How to Make a Paper Spring

Completed paper spring

Completed paper spring

Kindergarteners at Gerry learned how to make paper springs.  I enjoy teaching this because it gives students an opportunity to practice several skills: applying an appropriate amount of glue, folding carefully and neatly, working with a pattern (very useful for weaving later), and my favorite, using imagination!  I thought it would be useful to make a “how to” so families can make springs at home if they’d like!  To start, you will need:

  • Two long, skinny strips of paper
  • Glue bottle or glue stick
  • Scissors (optional)

1. Put a small dot of glue at the end of one of the strips of paper.  Not a big blob — if it oozes out and gets the paper sticky, the spring might not work.

2. Attach the two strips to make an “L” shape.

Glue the two papers into an "L"

“L” shape

3. Fold the top of the “L” down.

Fold the top of the "L" down

Down

4. Fold the side of the “L” across.

Fold the side of the "L" across

Across

The folds create a pattern: down, across, up, across, down, across, up, across… sometimes it is easier for students to think of the pattern in terms of color, so you could say: fold red, fold blue, red, blue, red, blue…

Keep folding...

Keep folding…

There are a few things to keep in mind as you fold.  First, this is much easier if you keep the spring flat on a table instead of trying to fold it up in the air.  Another thing to remember is to fold neatly.  If the folds are crooked, the spring might not work as well, so try to fold the paper as far over as it can go, and keep it straight.  Keep folding until you run out of paper!

5. Put another small dot of glue under the last fold and pinch the spring shut.  Count to 10 and then carefully let it “un-spring.”  Voici !

Put a dot of glue under the flap

Put a dot of glue under the flap

The last fold on the spring might be a little too long; if it is, use scissors to carefully trim it.

Pop-Up Monster Eye

Pop-Up Monster Eye

Use your imagination to come up with a use for the spring.  Kindergarteners used them to make pop-up parts for their monster collages. Some glued on collage pieces, like a monster eye.  Others turned the spring itself into a part, like a monster nose that looked like an elephant trunk.  Multiple springs can also be glued together to make bracelets or necklaces.

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