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Make a 3D paper doodlebug insect craft using our latest printable template.

Seriously, I love a good doodle art project, and when that project also happens to be 3D like this doodlebug-on-a-leaf, I like it even better!

Get the 3D paper doodlebug template here

3D bug art project for kids – make a doodlebug! This is a fun STEM insect craft idea with a printable template

I have a love-hate relationship with bugs. While they can be a little bit scary (especially the big ones), I’m fascinated by their alien-like features and their intricate patterns and designs. Nature is truly amazing.

This STEM project combines a bit of science with a bit of creativity, inviting kids to design symmetrical patterns on the bug’s back as well as on the leaf he’s sitting on. The bug design is based on a realistic-looking garden bug, and by decorating it with doodles we’re reminded that patterns exist all around us in the natural world.

Just to clarify, the reason I’ve named this insect craft a doodlebug is because it involves patterning (also known as doodling). After designing the template, I discovered there is an actual bug (the antlion) which is coincidently known as a doodlebug because it leaves scribbles in the sand. It looks completely different and this craft is not based on that bug.

This is a great project for older kids (say 8 years and up) because doodle art requires patience and a steady hand. You could modify the project for younger kids by omitting the leaf altogether, or by colouring or painting the leaf instead of decorating it with patterns and doodles.

It’s a simple craft to put together, here’s how.

How to make a 3D paper doodlebug

doodlebug craft template

You will need

  • The bug template printed onto white
    (card stock is recommended)
  • The leaf template printed onto green
    (card stock is recommended)
  • Black card stock for the baseboard
  • Felt tip markers
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Scoring tool or blunt butter knife
  • Ruler

How to: 

Color the bug head, eyes and legs (leave the back white).

Create three different symmetrical patterns in the back shapes, using the center line as the dividing point between the patterns.

coloured parts of the doodlebug

Cut out the bug body and legs and glue the legs to the body.

doodlebug steps

Score along the center line of each patterned back by holding a ruler along the line and creating an indent along it with a scoring tool or blunt butter knife. Scoring is optional but it does make folding easier, especially if you are using card stock.

Cut the backs out and fold them down the centre line. Glue them together into a stack of three, then glue this onto the piece with the head and legs.


Color the center vein of the leaf shape in a darker green to the color you have printed it on. Use the same green marker to doodle a different pattern in each leaf section.

leaf doodle step

Cut the leaf out and glue onto black card stock.

doodlebug craft steps

Glue the doodlebug onto the patterned leaf.

Finished doodlebug craft. This is a fun STEM insect craft idea with a printable template

Easy 3D insect craft for kids with a printable template – doodlebugs!

Do you think they look cute or creepy?

More realistic-looking animal crafts

3D bug craft for kids with doodle patterns and printable template