How to Make a Paper Chain

How to Make a Paper Chain

A paper chain is an easy, mostly mess-free art project. You can hang paper chains as festive party decorations, or you can just make them for fun. This is a safe and repeatable project for kids and adults. Read on to learn how to make a basic paper chain!


[Edit]Cutting the Paper

  1. Choose your paper. The color and thickness will depend on why you're making the paper chain. Consider picking colored paper that matches the theme of an upcoming holiday: red and green for Christmas; white and blue for winter; orange, black, and purple for Halloween; pinks, blues, yellows, and other pastels for Easter. You can buy colored construction paper, or you can color the paper yourself.[1]
    Make a Paper Chain Step 1 Version 9.jpg
  2. Cut strips from the paper. Use a ruler and a pair of scissors to cut out a series of long, rectangular strips. Each strip of paper makes one "link" in the chain, so plan accordingly. Each new strip should be equal in dimensions to each of the other strips. If you're cutting from a sheet of standard printer paper, try strips that are 1" wide by 8.5" long. This way, one piece of paper will make 11 even strips.

    • Try using a rotary cutter for large volumes of paper. This tool may be quicker than scissors.
    • The thicker and shorter your strips are, the less margin for error you'll have. When in doubt, make your strips thinner rather than wider.
  3. Consider making a "paper doll chain." This project is similar in scope and style to the standard paper chain. However, the doll chain involves cutting out a series of paper "people," each connected by the hands.[2] You will need all of the same materials, and it shouldn't take much longer – so research your options and decide what you're looking for.[3]
    Make a Paper Chain Step 3 Version 9.jpg

[Edit]Making the Chain

  1. Make the first "link." All you need to do is tape, glue, or staple the far ends of one paper strip together into a ring. Try to match up the sides evenly. Tape and staples will make for a quick process, but glue will take much longer because it needs to dry.

    • If you are using glue, hold the two ends of paper together until the glue dries. Make sure that the edges of the paper do not slip askew.
    • You should not need more than one staple or one small square of tape to seal each loop. Make sure that the link is sturdy and will not fall apart.
  2. Add a second link. Once you have one sturdy ring, thread another strip of paper through the center of the loop. Now, join the ends of this second strip together with tape, staples, etc. The wide, flat edges of the two links should line up, but the loops themselves should sit at a rough 90 degree angle – like a chain![4]

  3. Keep adding links. Continue in the same pattern until your chain is as long as you want it. In theory, there is no limit to the length of paper chain that you can build, as long as you have enough paper, tape, and time. If you want to hang the chain somewhere, measure the length against the space periodically to check if it's long enough yet.
    Make a Paper Chain Step 6 Version 7.jpg
  4. Loop the chain (Optional). You can choose to leave the chain long and straight, with a loop at each end, or you can link the ends together with a single strip of paper. To do this: wait until you have an odd number of links in the chain, then loop and seal one final strip of paper through both of the end-links at once. Now, you should have a large ring of paper loops.

    • If you try to seal a chain that already has an even number of links, the orientation of the loops won't match up.

[Edit]Decorating with Paper Chains

  1. Hang your paper chain from the walls or ceiling. If you leave the chain long, you can string it through a space to add a festive flair. Hang the chain a little bit loose, so that it dips low in the center. Try crossing chains over one another, alternating colors, or even linking long chains together to make a super-chain.
    Make a Paper Chain Step 8 Version 7.jpg
    • If you're having a party, use a waist- or chest-level paper chain to block off a "private area" like a staircase, a hallway, or a section of backyard. The paper may not hold up to force, but it will serve as a gentle deterrent to wayward guests.
  2. Decorate for a holiday. You can string up paper chains for a birthday, a party, or a major holiday. Match the colors of the chains to the theme of the party, or to the colors usually associated with that holiday. Get creative![5]
    Make a Paper Chain Step 9 Version 7.jpg
  3. Make a "wreath." If winter or Christmas is coming up, try making a faux-wreath using one or more paper chains. For the basic design: use green construction paper, then loop the finished chain into one large circle. You can add concentric small green circles to fill out the "wreath." For added effect, make a "bow" from red paper or string, and tie it to the front of the wreath.
    Make a Paper Chain Step 10 Version 7.jpg
    • Hang the wreath on your door, your wall, your fence, your tree. The paper wreath should be light, and easy to attach with tape or a hook.
  4. Use the chain as a paper necklace. Tie a series of (preferably small) loops together into a large loop that fits around your neck. For best effect, make the individual links rather small: not much more than half an inch wide and two inches long. One idea: string an array of bright, colorful loops together into a paper "lei" – a traditional Hawaiian flower necklace. Try looping a long chain of tight golden links into a "gold chain" – perhaps even two chains!
    Make a Paper Chain Step 11 Version 7.jpg



  • Paper chains make for great birthday party decorations for kids. Use them with streamers and balloons to make your party truly special!
  • Use different colored strips for a multi-colored chain.
  • For festive holiday decorations, use patterned or glittery paper. Wrap your garland around the Christmas tree for extra flare, or make all-white paper chains that look like snow!
  • Make sure the strips are the same size as each other, unless you purposely want to vary the strip sizes for an artistic effect.
  • For Christmas decorations you could add red string to the chains.
  • If there is no holiday coming up, feel free to make your paper chain plain white or to use a wild mix of colors. Work out a pattern of alternating colors in complement or contrast.
  • Avoid using thick paper that will not bend easily. Most construction paper should be okay, but you don't want to get much thicker. Remember: you want your paper not only to bend, but to stay bent!
  • Try using special seasonal paper. For Christmas, for instance, use wrapping paper.[6]


  • Make sure your garland is not a fire hazard; avoid hanging it directly over lamps, candles, or the fireplace.
  • Be careful when using scissors or a stapler, especially if you are working with young children.

[Edit]Things You'll Need

  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Pencil/pen/markers (optional)
  • Glue/tape/stapler
  • Ruler (optional)

[Edit]Related wikiHows


[Edit]Quick Summary

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