You’ve probably heard an owl calling in the distance late at night, even if you didn’t realize what it was. Although it’s more rare to see them than hear them, they are certainly prevalent throughout North America and just about everywhere else around the globe. From the majestic snowy owl to the common barred owl, this group of unique avian predators is revered by some and misunderstood by others. In celebration of owls and their amazing stories, I’ve gathered seven awesome owl crafts you can make with your kids (from across the internet and beyond). But first, let’s explore a few of the myths and legends surrounding these (not-so) mysterious creatures…
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Owl Myths and Legends
Many Native American traditions warn against the sight of an owl outside your window, as it often spells misfortune. In some tribes, owls are associated with ghosts, while others believe owls carry messages from beyond the grave. The Zuni tribe trusts owl feathers placed in a baby’s crib will keep evil spirits away.
For many native people, owls are sacred creatures to be revered. In the Aztec and Mayan religions, owls are companions to the gods of death. The Hopi tribe believes the burrowing owl is a symbol of their god of the dead. The owl is called Ko’ko and is a protector of the underworld and things that grow in the earth, such as plants and seeds. Burrowing owls nest in the ground and are therefore associated with the earth itself.
For Australian Aborigines, owls represent the spirits of the women in their tribe and should never be harmed. The Kwakiutl people believe owls carry the souls of the tribe’s people. If an owl dies, that person may also die. Many cultures believe people become owls after they die.
Owls are also symbols of prosperity and good health. The Ainu of northern Japan place carved eagle owls on their houses to ward off famine or pestilence. For them, the eagle owl is a messenger of the gods. They even toast the owl for good luck before leaving on a hunting expedition. Some Native American tribes see owls as healers as well and hang their feathers over the door to keep illness away from the family.
Owl Crafts for Kids
Regardless of which owl legend your “tribe” believes, you’re sure to enjoy creating these one-of-a-kind owl crafts. You might even want to hang them up over your door (for good health or prosperity) or use them to decorate a baby’s room. Owls have become quite popular with interior designers, crafters, knitters, and artists around the world over the past few years.
Owls are certainly beautiful, mysterious and well-adapted to their environments, and deserve to be revered for their unique place within the web of life. Enjoy these crafts (click on the image to visit the corresponding website for instructions, where applicable), and please share your creations in the comments section below. Happy crafting!
Foil Owl Art
These foil owls are very classy, but they do require a bit more detail than some of the other crafts listed below. As a result, I’d suggest doing this project with older children.
If you’ve ever wondered what to do with that jar of random buttons, here’s a project with dual purpose! Create a one-of-a-kind work of art AND reuse your old buttons.
Painted Owl Jar Lids
Don’t throw away those jar lids! They may not recycle like glass jars do, but you can re-purpose them to create these adorable painted owls. Add a magnet to the back, and you have an instant birthday or holiday gift for someone special (for an even better gift idea, include a photo that can be hung on the refrigerator using the magnet).
Owl Pencil Toppers
These are simple and fun for kids to make on their own. You can use just about any material you like, so go ahead and raid your craft closet!
Owl Painted Rocks
This classic is super easy for kids of all ages to craft! If you’re considering this as a companion to a lesson on owls, have the kids take notes on the features of various species and try to replicate those features on their rocks. The snowy owl is a good example.
Owl Leaf Art
I wasn’t able to find instructions for this craft, so I’ve provided my own version below:
What You’ll Need:
- Cardstock (orange for beak, 2 colors for eyes, and white)
- String to hang or magnet for refrigerator
- Small, multi-colored leaves from your yard, neighborhood or the park
- Hot glue gun and glue sticks
- Elmer’s glue
Use the image above to create your own owl pattern. It can be big or small, depending on the size of your leaves. Draw the body pattern on cardstock and cut it out. You’ll be covering the body with leaves, so it doesn’t really matter what color the cardstock is. Draw eyes and a beak on your preferred colors of cardstock paper and cut those out as well. Use Elmer’s glue to stick the eye parts together, starting with the double circle base (see the photo), followed by two white circles (slightly smaller), and finally the pupils. Set the eyes and beak aside. We’ll add these to the owl once the “feathers” are in place.
Go through your selection of leaves and arrange them in piles by color so you can pick and choose more easily. Begin by laying down leaves at the base of the owl and working your way up row by row. I suggest working with 2-3 rows at a time and gluing the leaves down one by one before adding more. You may be tempted to place all the leaves at once to see how it will look, but it’s unlikely you’ll be able to maintain that design as you’ll need to remove the leaves to get down to the bottom again. Vary your colors and sizes as you go. Be sure to have an adult in charge of the glue gun as it can easily burn little fingers.
When you get to the top of the owl’s head, you’ll need to choose 2 leaves for the ear tufts. These should be rotated in the opposite direction as the “feathers,” pointing upward (see the photo for a better idea). Glue them in place and then check for any holes that allow the base to show through. Fill those in with smaller pieces of leaves or color with markers.
Once the leaves are all in place, use a bit of hot glue to gently place the eyes and beak. You can either hang your owl or add a magnet to the back so it can watch you from your refrigerator door.
Harry Potter Owl
This one is my own design. You can download a copy of the instructions and a template below. If you like what you see, please join the Tree Huggin’ Tribe. You’ll receive exclusive nature craft tutorials (created by yours truly) that can’t be found anywhere else. You’ll also be signed up to receive my monthly newsletter, full of fun nature facts, updates on recent blog posts, and tons of ways to get your kiddos outside. Don’t worry, I promise not to spam you constantly; that drives me nuts too.
I hope you enjoy these owl craft projects. Kuddos to the awesome crafters that designed and shared them with the rest of us!