Google+ Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas: Wild Swans Storytelling Set

Monday, July 22, 2013

Wild Swans Storytelling Set

Crafts are a wonderful way to extend a children's book and ignite a love of reading. Today, Kate from The Craft Train is here to share an easy paper roll craft to go with the fairytale The Wild Swans. Paper rolls have so much possibility, don't they? Here's Kate to tell you how she transformed them into magnificent swans......

It's no secret that we here at The Craft Train adore toilet roll crafts. We can't get enough of them. Recently, we made easy toilet roll swans and a princess to go with them, characters from the fairy tale The Wild Swans. My two girls loved making the characters, role playing with them as we read the story and making up stories of their own by incorporating numerous toys from their toy box. We stretched this craft out over a couple of days, which is a good way to do it if the kids are little and don't have a long attention span. This is how we made them -

You will need:
• Toilet rolls, there are 11 brothers that become swans in the story so to be accurate you would need 11 rolls - but you can get the picture with half as many, plus 1 princess
• Scissors
• Paint
• Feathers, felt (or colored paper) and glue
• Black fine point marker
• String for hair on the princess, or you could use more felt
• Goggly eyes for the princess (optional)
How to:

First get your hands on a copy of The Wild Swans. Ours is in a mixed collection of fairy tales I found at the local Op Shop for $1. I have spoken about my addiction to pretty vintage picture books before in my post on Tissue Paper "Stained Glass" bookmarks, and can often be found scouring local shops for old treasures at bargain prices. This one is a relatively recent 90's copy with beautiful pictures and well told tales my kids love to listen to.

Folding the swan
Start with an ordinary toilet roll

Squash it flat

Like this

Make a long cut at a sharp angle lengthways from the top corner

Then a cut at a slight angle across-ways about a third of the way up from the bottom of the roll. The two cuts need to meet, and this should cut the toilet roll into two pieces. One piece becomes the swan

Use the other piece for whatever you like. My kids pretended to be pirates with them.

This is the swan piece. Pop it back into the shape of a roll, but with slight corners at the front and back.

Bend the top tip of the long piece downwards to make the swan's graceful neck.

We made the full 11 swans!

Decorating the characters:

Swans are usually white but to add a bit of interest we painted ours in a rainbow of shades.

For best effect paint the inside of the roll too. My kids didn't want to (we had 11 to paint!)

Lovely work! Leave these to dry before starting the next part. As you can see here, the paint was slapped on rather thick so ours needed overnight drying time.

Give the princess a pink face by painting just the top part of the roll, the bottom will be covered with felt for the dress.

Once dry, stick on the feathers and little triangle felt beaks. Draw on little eyes with a black marker for the swans. The princess can have googly eyes if you like, or just draw them on too. Then decorate her with a felt dress, string hair and a felt crown.

They had fun sticking on multi colored feathers.

Isn't it darling?

Time to Play

We made two princesses, one by me and one by Miss R. My princess became the nasty queen in the story.  

 As you read the story let them play it out with the characters you have made. You won't have every character in the book unless you make a few extra (the king and the handsome prince for a start), but that doesn't matter.

They can make up their own games when you are finished. Our characters have their own cardboard box castle we made last school holidays, the girls still play with it nearly every day, but it's starting to look a bit tired and old now so I think we'll soon have to make a new one :-) 

Hi, I’m Kate. Thank you for reading my guest post on one of my favorite blogs, Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas.

 I have lots more fun craft ideas over at, come visit and follow along, we'd love to have you there. You can also find us on Facebook or Pinterest


  1. I can't believe those are toilet paper tubes!?!? Awesome!! I'd love it if you'd link this up to the After School Linky Party on my blog right now (and every Monday): Thanks, Kate and Bernadette!

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