Cootie Catcher ~ How to Make a Paper Fortune Teller ~ Step by Step!

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How to make a Cootie Catcher

How to Make a Cootie Catcher

Also called a Paper Fortune Teller

by Laurel Smith (Road Trip Mom)


Here you will find the basic instructions, followed by a video demonstrating these steps, instructions for how to play with it, and some printable cootie catcher templates to print.

Here is how to make a Cootie Catcher and have fun with your family members on a long car trip or just keep busy. Making a Cootie Catcher is half of the fun, and then you can play with it to reveal answers or fortunes.  Tell it to pick a color. Now pick a number, and then another number. Then your fortune says, "Today is your lucky day!" Just show them how to do this once, and your kids can create all sorts of cootie catcher games, and you'll have an activity that will keep your kids busy and filled with creativity! 

You will need: a sheet sheet of paper, scissors, and a pencil or markers.

Here's how to make a basic Cootie Catcher:

How to make a Cootie Catcher Steps 1-3 - 2011 MomsMinivan

Step 1. If you start with a standard sheet of paper you will need to make it square by folding one corner over to the edge and cutting off the extra flap.
Step 2. Unfold it and you have a square. 
Step 3. Fold the other corners and crease again. Unfold so you are back to the square.

How to make a Cootie Catcher Steps 4-7 - This image is 2011 MomsMinivan - DO NOT COPY
Step 4.  Next, fold each corner point into the center of the paper. Use the creases as a guide to help keep your folds straight.
Step 5.  With all four corners folded it should look like this.
Step 6.  Next, flip the whole thing over to the other side (for some reason a lot of people miss this step!)
Step 7.  and fold all four corners points into the center again.

Cootie Catcher Steps 8-11 - This image is 2011 MomsMinivan - DO NOT COPY

Step 8.  With all of the corners folded in it will look like this.
Step 9.  Lift up the flaps and write the fortunes under here. 
Step 10.  Write the numbers 1-8 on each of the triangles.
Step 11.  Flip it over and color or write the name of a different color on each flap.

How to make a Cootie Catcher Steps 12 - This image is 2011 MomsMinivan - DO NOT COPY

Step 12. Crease it along the flap lines, then flip it back over and stick your two thumbs and two forefingers into each of the four flap pockets. Slip your fingers all the way up to the corners and then bring your fingers together. Your fingers should press the center creases so that all 4 flaps meet at a point in the center. 

Now you know how to make a cootie catcher!  Please watch my instructional video below if you still don't get it! Print these instructions to take with you so you can teach others.

printable Cootie Catcher 

How to play the Cootie Catcher game (Paper Fortune Teller):

Have a player choose one of the top four squares. Spell the color they chose while you open and close the Cootie Catcher once for each letter in the color they selected. The player then selects one of the four visible numbers on the inside.  Open up and down and side to side as you count the right amount they picked. When you've stopped counting, look inside and let the player choose again. Open and close the right number of times, then choose once more. Open the panel under the number and read the fortune under the panel. Play again and again.

There are all kinds of variations to this game. Just use a little imagination when making your cootie catcher. Instead of colors on the top squares, you can put just about anything -- animals, weather, planets, people, anything! Also, come up with your own fortunes. Here are a few fortune ideas to get you started:

     Cootie Catcher Fortune ideas:

  • You have a secret admirer.
  • Someday you will be the President of the United States. 
  • Today you will find something you thought was lost. 
  • You will have great wealth.
  • You will travel somewhere new. 
  • You will do a good deed today. 
  • You will receive an award this month. 
  • You will make a new friend soon. 
  • You will make straight A's on your report card. 
  • You need to study harder.
  • You will forget something important!
  • You will learn a new game. 
  • Watch out for vampires
  • You'll succeed at something you didn't know you could do. 
  • Watch your step!
  • You will receive a nice surprise soon.
  • Someone thinks you're cool.
  • You're sweet.
These have many uses these days. One reader wrote in to tell me she's making cootie catchers with scripture verses for her Bible group, and another wrote to share how they use "actions" instead of fortunes for a pre-school group. This has also become a popular activity to have at wedding receptions. Put some "love" messages or actions in for the fortunes such as "someone has a crush on you", or "dance the next dance with the bride" or "kiss the person to your left". 

Printable Cootie Catcher Template
Personally I think it's the most fun to make your own cootie catcher, but some people like to print a ready-made item, so I created some printable templates of cootie catchers for printer-happy people. 
With fortunes
Printable cootie catcher
Write your own fortunes
blank printable cootie catcher, paper fortune teller
  • Printable cootie catcher (with fortunes)
  • Blank cootie catcher template (write your own fortunes)
  • These are also posted on the Printable Car Games page with all the other printable road trip games and activities.

    VIDEO: And finally, if you need a real time visual, here's my video with step by step instructions on how to make a Cootie Catcher!


    print these 

    It's as much fun making Cootie Catchers as it is playing with them! Have fun and remember, Cootie Catcher "fortunes" are just for fun, and that only you can determine your future!


    You may also like How to Make a Paper Popper !

    You will love How to make Slime !

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          ((¸¸.·´  ..·´   Road Trip Mom -:¦:-
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    Laurel Smith is a former schoolteacher and mother of three who has logged thousands of road trip miles both as a kid and a mom.  Visit her website for more than 101 road trip games and activities for kids at

    This article is copyright ©2003, 2007, 2011, 2012 All images associated with this article are also copyright © and may not be republished on other websites or print media without permission.  If you would like an article to use on your website, please see the articles available for reprint here.


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