In the world of kids, there are many formulas that virtually guarantee fun and here is one of them:

Kids + Things That Glow in the Dark = Fun, Fascination, and Entertainment.

Stephanie bottlebugs (11)

This craft project is a handy boredom buster that repurposes a familiar item.  Repurposing helps kids think outside the box when they are shown, or are asked to consider, other ways to use common materials.

You will need:

empty plastic bottles (such as the green soda bottles used here)

black paint (optional)

beads (or googly eyes)

pipe cleaners

construction paper

glow sticks

Ready?  Let’s get Glowing :-) !

Remove the label from plastic bottles.  Wash and allow to dry.

Stephanie bottlebugs (1)

You can either leave the caps green – these will be the “heads” of the fireflies – or paint them black.

Stephanie bottlebugs (5)

While the caps are drying, have kids choose some colored beads for the eyes and set them aside.

Stephanie bottlebugs (4)

Begin looping 3 pieces of black pipe cleaner around the mid-section (where the label used to be).  On the underside of the body, twist the ends of the pipe cleaners together where they join – just like a twist tie.  You’ll end up with 3 sets of two short legs.

Stephanie bottlebugs (6)

Now cut a strip of construction paper (or craft foam, or fabric) the size of the label and wrap it around the midsection to cover the pipe cleaner evidence (legs will be the only parts left exposed).  Glue or tape the paper to the body on the underside.

Stephanie bottlebugs (7)

Use a wire cutter to cut a small length of pipe cleaner for the antennae.  You can also wrap the extra length of pipe cleaner around the neck of the bottle a couple times if you don’t have a wire cutter.  Twist the pipe cleaner at the top of the neck and curl the ends.

Stephanie bottlebugs (2)

When caps are dry, screw them back onto the neck of the bottle and glue beads (eyes) to the top.

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Here’s another view of the completed bug:

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In this photo you can see how far to space the pipe cleaner legs.  Also, you may have noticed that this bug has wings!

Print the template for wings (2 sets) below and trace onto thicker paper, or print directly onto the color paper of your choice.

wings - imageGlue wings to the top of the body and, don’t forget to add a glow stick to the inside of the bottle for night-time fun!

Stephanie bottlebugs (12)

Encourage kids do their own research to learn more about what makes insects glow, or brush up on a few facts yourself and talk about them as you tuck little ones into bed.  I enjoyed learning basic facts about fire flies on the National Geographic website.   It’s fun for kids to have a craft that has been made and played with by day that also becomes a great night light companion and bed time story/ topic of conversation by night.

Have Fun!


    1. July 7th, 2013 at 9:12 pm
      olivia says:
      I love this craft!!! What an adorable idea! A great summer-rainy day activity! I will be using it! Great ideas as always!
      • July 13th, 2013 at 11:19 pm
        Stephanie says:
        Thanks Olivia, I'm happy to hear it!
    2. July 8th, 2013 at 9:09 am
      brittany says:
      Super cute idea. I will have to try this with my kids.
    3. July 8th, 2013 at 11:57 am
      mary says:
      such a neat idea! my kids will love taking these to bed!
      • July 13th, 2013 at 11:18 pm
        Stephanie says:
        It's the original glow worm :-)
    4. July 8th, 2013 at 3:32 pm
      Nicolette says:
      This is a great family reunion craft to do during the day and then watch all the kids run around at night!
      • July 13th, 2013 at 11:17 pm
        Stephanie says:
        I love the idea as a family reunion craft - I can see all the little ones running around with their creations at night. That makes a neat mental picture!
    5. July 13th, 2013 at 8:46 pm
      Trish says:
      Thank You
      • July 13th, 2013 at 11:18 pm
        Stephanie says:
        You're welcome, Trish!
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