Kids’ paper craft project: Make your own rockhopper penguin for Bird of the Year from a toilet roll

Keep the kids busy these school holidays and support the Eastern Rockhopper in Forest & Bird’s Bird of the Year competition with this easy toilet-roll craft project including downloadable stencil.

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Rockhopper penguins are the punk rocker of the penguin world, but their numbers have declined by 30 per cent in the past 30 years. They need our help.

NZ Life & Leisure and thisNZlife are supporting the Rockhopper penguin for Forest & Bird’s Bird of the Year competition – Te Manu Rongonui o Te Tau (1-14 October 2018) so look out for our stories on these fascinating birds.

Words and photos: Rebecca Needham

Kids will love our fun penguin craft project. Don’t forget to vote for the Rockhopper at


Cardboard toilet-roll tube (or other cardboard tube approx. 4.5cm wide and 10cm high)
Glue stick
Thin card (black, white, yellow, pink, orange)
2 x googly eyes
A4 pdf stencil printout (see link below)


Step 1

Download and print the A4 PDF of the penguin’s stencil here

Step 2
Cut out the stencil shapes, trace around them onto card of the corresponding colour then cut out.

Step 3/3a

Glue the back of the large rectangle black card and then wrap it around the cardboard tube.

Step 4/4a
Glue the back of the white stomach shape and then stick it to the front of the black tube on the opposite side to where the black join meets.

Step 5/5a

For the arms: Fold the crease where it’s shown on the stencil and glue the tab.

Stick the arms onto the tube about 3/4 of the way up, just overlapping the white card and so that the arms only just reach down to the bottom of the tube.

Step 6
For the feet: Where shown on the stencils, fold the back of the feet up and glue the top tab at the front, so that they can be stuck to the inside of the tube.

Step 7
Crease the beak cut-out as shown on the stencil and glue it on about half way between the white stomach and the top of the tube.

Step 8
Glue the eyes on so they are just overlapping the beak.

Step 9/9a
Glue the yellow top feather cut-outs only on the bottom 1/3 and stick them on just above the eyes so that they meet in the middle.

Step 10/10a
Glue the black feather cut-out only on its bottom 1/3rd and stick it on in the centre of the tube, between the eyes and just above the beak. If you wish, draw little black tips on to the penguin’s pink feet.



All done?

You can do your bit to help the endangered Rockhopper penguins by casting a vote for them in Forest & Bird’s Bird of the Year competition here (Voting runs from 1-14 October 2018) and by sharing photos of your little cardboard Rockhoppers with the thisNZlife community.

Email your pictures to us here, or message them to the Facebook page.

Forest and Bird

Bird of the Year is an annual competition run by Forest & Bird. New Zealanders are asked to vote for their favourite bird at Make a donation to help save New Zealand’s threatened and endangered birds here.


Craft project: Make this rockhopper penguin crochet hat (child-sized) for Bird of the Year

7 fun facts about the eastern rockhopper penguin, New Zealand’s next Bird of The Year

Recipe: Eastern Rockhopper Cocktail for Bird of the Year

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