Old-time Paper Craft: Swimming Frog

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Friday, August 11, 1911: It is impossible to write anything for today that will prove itself interesting, so I won’t try.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Use a magnet to make the frog swim.

In 1911 Grandma’s little brother Jimmie was 6-years-old. She seldom mentions him in the diary. On quiet summer days I wonder if she ever made crafts with him.

The July 1911 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine had directions for a paper frog that swims.

If you’d like to make the swimming frog, here are the adapted and abridged directions.

Supplies Needed

Heavy white paper



Small straight (sewing) pin

Paste or glue


Thin white paper for tracing (optional)

Click for the frog pattern. Print a copy of the pattern, and then cut it out.

Fold the heavy white paper in half. Fit the straight line of the frog’s back exactly on the fold of the paper. Trace around the pattern. Cut out both halves of  the paper at once. Use a pencil to draw the frog’s mouth and eyes.

Bend out the legs and lower part of the body as indicated by the dotted lines.

Open the frog and lay him on his back. Cover the inside of the head and the inside of the body as far down as the dotted line with glue or paste. Then lay a pin on one-half of the head. Fold the two halves of the frog together and press. This will paste the pin inside with only the pin-head and a small part of the pin standing out from the frog’s mouth like a tongue. Now bend the legs out again, so they will lie flat on either side of the frog when you set him down on the table.

Source: Good Housekeeping (July, 1911)

After the paste or glue dries fill a bowl or pan with water, then set the frog down on top of the water. Hold the magnet near the pin in the frog’s mouth.

Hold the magnet just far enough away from the frog to keep him from jumping. He will follow the magnet in any direction you want.

When you take the frog out of the water, set it on a piece of clean paper and press the feet flat. When it is dry it will be as good as new.

P.S.—Previous posts with old-time paper crafts have been very popular. If  you haven’t already seen them you may want to check them out:

Paper doll girl and her swimming ducks

Paper birds

4 thoughts on “Old-time Paper Craft: Swimming Frog

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