How to Make a DNA Model

Learning how to make a DNA model is a great way for kids to demonstrate that they understand how the various chemicals combine to form a DNA strand. Creating a DNA model is really quite easy and the items you need can be found at your local craft store.

Building an Easy DNA Model
There are two things to remember when you're putting together a DNA model. First is the shape: DNA is a double helix, or two spiral lines connected by a series of bridges; it looks a lot like a ladder that's been twisted into a spiral.

The second thing to consider is color. Your model can be a single color, or you can use four colors to represent the four chemical compounds found in DNA. This color should appear on the "rungs" of your DNA ladder. There's no right or wrong order for the completed sections of color; a random pattern is best.


  • 2 white pipe cleaners, at least 12 inches long
  • 2 colored pipe cleaners, at least 12 inchesl long
  • 12 colored beads to represent adenine
  • 12 colored beads to represent thymine
  • 6 colored beads to represent guanine
  • 6 colored beads to represent cytosine
  • Scissors
  • Ruler

Choose a different color to represent each of the chemicals (red for adenine, yellow for thymine, etc.).

  1. Cut the two white pipe cleaners into 2" lengths.
  2. Select two Adenine and two Thymine beads; Adenine and Thymine always come in pairs. Thread the set of four beads onto one 2" piece of white pipe cleaner. Set the completed section aside and repeat this pattern five times to make six 2" sections.
  3. Select the beads for the Guanine and Cytosine sections. These sections contain two beads for Guanine and one bead for Cytosine. Thread this pattern on a 2" length of white pipe cleaner. Repeat five times to make six 2" sections of pipe cleaners.
  4. Connect the beaded white pipe cleaner sections to the colored pipe cleaners. Lay the colored pipe cleaners out side by side like a ladder. The white sections become the rungs of the ladder. To connect the rungs of the ladder twist the edges of each white section around the colored pipe cleaners.
  5. After all the rungs are added to the sides of the ladder, you can twist the colored pipe cleaners to form the double helix.
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