coffee filter poppies


Remembrance Day Craft: Coffee Filter Poppies

Nov 3, 2015

In honour of Remembrance Day next week, the hooligans and I made these beautiful coffee filter poppies.

Not only did the children have fun with this creative process, they learned about colour-blending and absorption, and at times their fine motor skills were challenged as well. The poppies were easy to make, and required only a few common household items.

What You Need:

  • coffee filters
  • food colouring or liquid watercolours (we used both, and used shades of red, orange, pink and purple)
  • black buttons
  • paint brushes
  • ice cube tray or small bowls
  • pipe cleaner
  • safety pin
  • plastic table cloth


Because this craft involves food colouring, be sure to protect the surface that you're working on. We worked on a vinyl table cloth.

We started by adding a small amount of water to an ice cube tray. I wanted our colours to be really vibrant so I only filled each ice cube section about half-way with water. Then I added the colour. Our food colouring was quite intense so I used about 2 to 3 drops per section. For the liquid watercolours, I used 6 to 8 drops per section (maybe more).

I placed the ice cube tray in a shallow pan to prevent it from being tipped over and gave each of the girls several coffee filters. Poppies have a lot of texture, so we crumpled and wrinkled and twisted the coffee filters before painting them. Crumpling and twisting and then un-crumpling paper is great for the development of a child's hand muscles and fine-motor skills.

Next, the hooligans got to work with their paintbrushes, dabbing and smearing, and they watched with fascination as the coffee filters absorbed the water, and the colours spread and blended together. This was a great opportunity to talk about water absorption; we chatted about how the coffee filter "drank" up the water, similar to how a towel dries off your body after a bath or a swim.

At times, to intensify the colour and to make the aborption process more noticeable, I would add a drop or two of food colouring directly to their wet coffee filter, and they would swish the colours around with their paintbrushes. To dry the coffee filters, we placed them on cookie sheets in front of the fireplace for a couple of hours. 

We were thrilled to see how beautiful they were when they had dried. We couldn't wait to transform them into flowers! 

To do that, we layered two coffee filters and pinched them together at the back. I wrapped a small length a pipe cleaner around the pinched section of paper to secure everything together.  To finish, we glued black buttons to the centres of our poppies. Using a safety pin I attached a poppy to each girls' coat, and they wore their poppies home.

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Article Author Jackie Currie
Jackie Currie

Read more from Jackie here.

Jackie Currie is a mother, daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind the blog Happy Hooligans. A self-proclaimed glitterphobe, she specializes in easy, affordable arts & crafts and good, old-fashioned play.

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