Chenille Stems: A Fancy Word for Pipe Cleaner?

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Pipe Cleaner Creations from Around Flickr1. Pipe cleaner star ornament, 2. Pipe Cleaner Christmas Ornament, 3. pipe cleaner, 4. Pipe-Cleaner Flowers, With Panda, 5. Pipe Cleaner Tiara, 6. pipe cleaner wreath by stephanie, 7. Bunny butts, 8. DSC_0001.JPG, 9. Pipe cleaner star

Created with fd’s Flickr Toys.

I was recently flipping through Parents magazine, when I came across a piece on some cute Christmas crafts. Over and over the article kept saying “using brightly colored, cut-to-length, chenille stems” and “take your chenille stem…” I found myself thinking, “am I crazy or are these just plain, old, pipe cleaners?” I’m probably just late to the party, but I’ve always called them pipe cleaners. I’d never heard the phrase “chenille stem” before. I suppose the term “pipe cleaner” might be considered politically incorrect these days. And truthfully, “chenille stem” does sound a lot prettier. Anyway, my linguistic conundrum got me thinking about some of my fave pipe cleaner projects, and I got curious to see what other creatives are doing with their chenille stems. Here’s what I found. I must say, that oviraptor sculpture impressed me! Have a great weekend!

3 Responses to "Chenille Stems: A Fancy Word for Pipe Cleaner?"
  1. I am a pipe cleaner artist myself, but never really knew where the term “pipe cleaner” came from. Always thought they were for cleaning stove pipes! Then one day I went to a cigar/smoke shop and they were selling the original pipe cleaner, and it dawned on me… AH-HA! To clean pipes for SMOKING! I’ll tell you what, the real pipe cleaners are much more dense than the pipe cleaners used for crafts. I guess “chenille stem” will keep the kids away from the “pipes.” =) I have yet to use the real pipe cleaners in any of my creations. I have pics of my creations on my blog if you’re interested: http://fuzzington.blogspot.com

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