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Ask the Crafts Dept. : Pipe Cleaners

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Geetha Krishnan wants to know our sources for pipe cleaners.  Pipe cleaners, or chenille stems, come in a vast array of size, shape, and color.  They can be found at most craft stores, but we've chosen a few sources to exhibit a variety of options.  

Create For Less is a great online source for many craft supplies.  They will have all the classic pipe cleaners, plus some special kinds,  like metallic-

silver metallic pipe cleanersgold metallic pipe cleanerspurple metallic pipe cleaners

Or Bump Chenille Stems-

bump chenille stems


The beautiful Cotton Chenille Wired Roping and Stems pictured below are available at D. Blumchen & Company, a great source for vintage craft supplies and inspiration.

Chenille Roping

These Chenille stems are  uniquely soft because they are made with 100% cotton fibers.  They come in white, and can easily be dyed to the color you chose.  This method was used for an Easter crafts story in the April 2007 issue of Living, and the instructions can be found here.  (It can be applied to the fancy Chenille Stems, as well as your average craft Chenille Stems)

dyeing chenille stems

You can use your dyed chenille stems to make something as sweet as this! -

Chenille pipe cleaner easter basket

And finally, getting right back to the source, why not try a tobacco shop for the original "pipe cleaners".  These inexpensive white stems have a similar soft fullness to that of the old fashioned variety available at                      D. Blumchen.

original pipe cleaners

Comments (7)

  • I love using pipe cleaners for crafts! I've been using them for Christmas crafts and also for Valentine's crafts too!

  • Hey I have a question for the crafts dept which also falls under 'behind the scenes'...after seeing all the amazing things you all make for the site/magazine/show, what happens to the creations themselves? Is there going to be a MSL CD museum one day, or is there a crafts archival area... (I would love to see that!!) do you get to keep things? As you can see, this is a burning question in my mind. :)

  • Crafter Comment:

    Hi Anita-

    Your instints are correct. We keep all projects archived for 1-2 years after it runs. Everything is stored in the clear bins and meticulously labelled. We hold on to some projects that we may be able to reuse one day. Everything else gets returned to the editor who developed the story. Editors tend to keep old projects or share them with lucky coworkers. It's always a treat to revisit projects a couple of years later.

  • What are the dimensions suppose to be for the heart in in the Valentine Day heart potholes? They seem extremely small when I print them for a potholer...thank you

  • Crafter Comment:

    You will need to enlarge the template 200% to make the heart shaped pot holder. We'll add that to the instructions. Thanks for pointing it out.


  • my aunt sent me some colorful bumps.. i am not really a crafty person.. may i ask for the different styles in creating them??? thanks!

  • How can I stop color pictures made from my ink jet printer from smearing when I coat them with Royal Coat Decoupage finish?

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