WON Landing Page OCT 2022

Coffee Filter Creatures: An Indoor Activity for Outdoor Kids

This week brought our first snow day of the year. After playing outside in the perfectly-sticky snow, my children were worn out and ready to go inside and warm up. To help entertain them, I broke out a few craft supplies, threw down some worksurface protection and let them color away. Coffee filter creatures are super easy to make, and allow for versatility in design and materials used.

Up close coffee filter animals 1
Coffee filter creatures

Materials for Coffee Filter Creatures

First, gather the following materials. As I mentioned, this list is fluid and more of a guideline for creating this craft. The colorful coffee filters will become the background for creatures cut from construction paper. The whole assembly can be affixed to a window or glass door pane, creating a suncatcher effect in the daytime.

  • Coffee filters
  • Washable watercolor paints
  • Paintbrush
  • Washable markers
  • Surface cover (I like these dishwasher safe silicone placemats)
  • Cookie sheet or other metal tray with sides
  • Clean spray bottle filled with water
  • Construction paper (we used black)
  • Scissors
  • Scotch tape and/or double stick tape
  • Feathers (if creating birds)
Kids at work
Kids at work

Coffee filters are an inexpensive craft medium, and have become a staple at our house. We’ve used them to make bats at Halloween and butterflies in the spring time.

Creating the Creatures

Now that you’ve gathered your supplies, covered your worksurfaces and poured a hot cup of tea or cocoa, you may begin the craft. Color the coffee filter, making sure to fill as much surface area as possible. My children really enjoyed using the washable watercolor paints to color their filters.

Using paint to color the coffee filters
Using paint to color the coffee filters
Using marker to color the coffee filters
Using marker to color the coffee filters
Up close crayola paint
Enjoying the paint!

Next, place a coffee filter in your cookie sheet and saturate with water, using the spray bottle. And, if your children are like mine, some of the surrounding table surface and your little brother’s sleeve.

Spraying the coffee filters with water
Spraying the coffee filters with water – maybe the most fun part!

Lay each filter on top of a protected surface (I use old terry cloth dish towels). Then, allow the filters to dry fully. While they dry, cut out basic animal shapes from construction paper. When your backgrounds are dry, tape one shape to each coffee filter.

Dried colorful coffee filters
An array of dried, colorful coffee filters
Dried coffee filter cool splotches
Even the splotchy “mistakes” look cool
Up close coffee filter animals 2
Even the less color-saturated filters made beautiful backgrounds for our creatures. Feathers were added on top of the bird to give it dimension.

This craft can easily be tailored to your child’s interest. Mine are currently fascinated by turtles and sea creatures, and I am looking forward to our meal time conversations about the creatures in view from their high chairs. What animals will your children want to see?

Coffee filter animals on door
Finished coffee filter creatures

Easy Dough Recipe for a Snow Day

Here is a great, easy recipe for pizza dough using your bread maker. I assembled the pizza before our craft began, and baked it while we colored. The oven and cooling time was the perfect duration for us to color, spritz and lay out to dry our creations, all the while smelling our dinner cook in the oven.

Pizza Crust in the Bread Maker

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. butter or vegetable oil (I used Canola)
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 2 tsp. bread machine yeast

Add to the bread maker pan in the order shown, from liquid to dry ingredients (yeast last). Start the dough cycle on your machine; when it is finished, dump the pizza dough onto a lightly-floured surface to rest for 10 minutes. Shape into a 16-inch pizza, top and bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 475°F. Cool for about 10 minutes, cut and serve with a side salad. Yum!

Homemade pizza on a cold night
Homemade pizza on a cold night
  • About Jackie Richardson

    Jackie Baird Richardson is an interior designer, editor at The WON and avid junker. Watch for her design tips and occasional crafting ideas, bringing the outdoors indoors.