Beaded Shamrock Craft for Kids


Your students are going to love this beaded shamrock craft! It’s colorful, creative, and a perfect addition to your St. Patrick’s Day activities for preschoolers.

Child holding a shamrock craft made with pipe cleaner and pony beads

Related: St. Patrick’s Day Math

I’ve noticed over the years that many children just love beads and pipe cleaners. Set those two items out, and watch the kiddos go. Have you noticed the same?

Beaded Shamrock

In addition to creativity, beading allows children to work on their fine motor skills. It takes a lot of little finger and hand muscle work to get beaded crafts assembled. Plus, sorting and patterning often come along when children are using multiple colors of beads. So you have art and crafts, fine motor skills, AND math all rolled up into one engaging activity.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at how to make beaded shamrocks with the kids! We’ve been making them in some form or another for over 9 years at this point, so we’ve really perfected the technique.

Pipe Cleaner Shamrock Materials

Oh, how I love an activity that doesn’t require many materials. In fact, you’ll find I often err on the side of ideas that don’t use too many items. (Either that or I swing in the other direction and get out way too many things!) But, really, to make your own beaded shamrock, you really only need two materials:

Yes, that’s it. That’s all you need!

close up of beaded shamrock made with pipe cleaner and rainbow pony beads

How to Make a Beaded Shamrock

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been making beaded shamrocks with the kids for close to a decade at this point. We’ve tried a few variations and settled on one specific technique that we prefer:

  1. Twist two pipe cleaners together. Leave them in a straight line.
  2. Add some pony beads. We prefer making patterns, but you don’t have to. Don’t overload the pipe cleaner with beads.
  3. Then fold the long pipe cleaner in half.
  4. At the curved end of the folded pipe cleaner, make a simple heart shape.
  5. Twist underneath the heart to help hold the shape.
  6. Fold the remaining edges up and twist them all together in the middle where they meet.
  7. Push the other 2 pipe cleaner loops into heart shapes.
  8. Add another pipe cleaner to create the “stem” of the beaded shamrock.
Steps for making a beaded shamrock

The key is to make sure you don’t overload the pipe cleaners with pony beads. I know that can be hard, especially when some children are very exuberate with their pony bead usage! But you want to have some room on the pipe cleaners to manipulate the shape into a shamrock.

Other Ways to Make Beaded Shamrocks

Of course, our favorite way isn’t the only way to make pipe cleaner shamrocks! It’s just that . . . our favorite. We’ve tried a couple of other ways as well. You can always give them a go if you’d prefer:

  • Use just 1 pipe cleaner and bend it into a shamrock shape with your fingers. Add beads and twist the ends together to secure them. Add another pipe cleaner (or part of one) as a stem.
  • Grab 3 pipe cleaners (or pipe cleaner pieces) and make 3 hearts. Twist them together using a fourth pipe cleaner as a stem.
2 child-made pipe cleaner shamrocks with beads

We found our shamrocks looked more like flowers when we tried the first alternative method. And the second alternative felt too cumbersome. But maybe they’ll work better for you!

Can Preschoolers Make Their Own Beaded Shamrocks?

Yes, they definitely can! I’ve made this pony bead shamrock craft with children of various ages, from 3- to 8-years old. You need to make adjustments to the activity based on the age of the kids, their abilities, their needs, and their interests. Which is what we do day-in and day-out when teaching, right? You know your students best, so many the tweaks most appropriate for them.

Here are a few possible adjustments you can make:

  • Let the kids add the pony beads and leave you in charge of putting the beaded shamrock together in the end. This is what I’ve done with younger children or kids who request the help.
  • Older children, or those who want to be more independent, can create their own shamrocks with the materials. Remind them (and yourself!) that the outcome doesn’t have to look exactly the same. As long as they’re having fun along the way.
  • Incorporate larger beads and longer pipe cleaners for children who need more room to work. You can make longer pipe cleaners by twisting the end of some together.
  • Instead of making shamrocks, let the kids make bracelets or necklaces. That’s just as much fun!
2 beaded shamrocks made with pipe cleaners

Would your students get a kick out of making pipe cleaner shamrocks? If you try them out, be sure to let me know how it goes!

More Pipe Cleaner and Bead Crafts

If your students enjoyed the beaded shamrock craft, I have even more ideas for you! Here are some pipe cleaner and bead crafts to keep in your back pocket for the next time the kids are in an extra crafty mood. The first five are mine, and 3 of those incorporate kids’ names into the craft!

Done-For-You St. Patrick’s Day Preschool Resources

Be sure to check out the following preschool resources for your March planning! They’re fully-developed and created to make your teaching life a LOT easier! Click on each image below to get your own:

st. patrick's lesson plans cover
St. Patrick’s Day Preschool Lesson Plans
st. patrick's day math games cover
Roll and Color St. Patrick’s Day Math Games

You can also find us on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Originally published March 2013.

Collage of shamrock crafts with text that reads beaded shamrocks

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