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Make a paper roll firefly craft that lights up in the dark, just like a real one! Free shape template included.

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easy paper roll firefly craft for kids

Last week I shared a light-up firefly art project, picturing fireflies dotting the twilight sky like stars.

You know how it goes — one idea sparks another — so today I’m sharing a second light-up firefly craft. This one is based on a single insect.

We don’t see many fireflies around here (none at all, to be exact), so I designed this one from a picture. During the crafting process, I was getting comments like ‘is that going to be a cockroach Mum?’, and ‘Don’t fireflies have red on them?’

No, it’s not a cockroach, and maybe some fireflies do have red on them, but in MY version he’s silhouetted against the night sky with his bright, luminescent butt lit up. Just like the one in the picture below.

firefly on the grass stock image

Here is the paper roll version with the lights switched off.

light up firefly craft

To make the firefly craft light up I’ve used a battery-operated LED candle. We have a stash of them leftover from our egg carton reef project, so you’ll probably be seeing more light-up crafts from us soon.

Let’s get crafting!

How to make a paper roll firefly craft

You will need:

  • an empty paper towel roll (toilet rolls will be too short)
  • Black, yellow, and white acrylic paint
  • glue stick
  • yellow tissue paper
  • Black card stock
  • double-sided tape
  • An LED candle
  • Paintbrush
  • Scissors
  • Stapler
  • Our printable template — enter your details in the box provided and it will be emailed to you

How to:

Print the template out onto white paper.

firefly craft for kids with template

Cut around the outline on the bug body shape. 

Flatten your paper roll by squashing it with your hands. Trace the bug body shape onto the paper roll and cut it out while squashed. 

firefly craft steps

Pop the bug body shape back into a rounded cylinder, and paint it. The top half needs to be painted black and the bottom yellow. You can omit painting the bottom half if you like because it’s going to be covered up by tissue paper. However, since tissue paper is not completely opaque, I painted the cardboard underneath it yellow to avoid dark colours being visible through it.

firefly craft steps

Cut the eyes away from the second template, and staple the rest of it to a sheet of black cardstock. Place a staple in each corner and cut the shapes out, so that you get a black version of each shape. You can discard the white version.

firefly craft steps

firefly craft steps

Glue the eyes on.

Place a piece of double-sided tape around the top and bottom of the abdomen, and carefully roll it up in a sheet of tissue paper. Use a glue stick to stick on a second sheet of tissue paper. Trim any overhanging tissue paper away with scissors.

firefly craft steps

Bend the legs so they are poking out at 90º angles and glue them on. Stick the wings on (either glue or double-sided tape works).

firefly craft steps

Paint a smile on with a thin white paintbrush.

firefly craft steps

To light your firefly up, place him over an LED candle.

paper roll fireflies that light up in the dark

These guys make a cute DIY nightlight idea.

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