Fish Crafts

By: the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

You don't have to live near the ocean to have some fishy fun. With fish crafts for kids our scaled and finned friends don't have to spend all their time behind glass. Fish can swim on clothes, dangle from mobiles, or even fly on a kite.

Use these fish crafts to get your sea legs and watch how far your imagination can sail.

Neon Fish & Waves fish craft
Unlike the real thing, crafty fish can go anywhere,
with anything, and are easy to handle. You can
even wear some of them -- like this
Neon Fish Shirt and Visor.

Follow these links to discover all the fun things you can do with fish:

Awesome Aquarium
The fish in this aquarium don't need to be fed and can be any color and pattern you want. Awesome.

Carp Kite
Make fish fly with this lofty fish craft based on a traditional Japanese kite.

Brightly Colored Fish Romper
Colorful fish brighten a white romper with this adorably easy fish craft.

Neon Fish Shirt & Visor
Watch fish swim across your clothing without lifting a needle in this paint project.

Puffy Fish
You'll get puffed up by how well you can pull off a lively-looking fish with this creative fish craft.

On the next page, you can get the sea party started with your own maintenance-free fish aquarium.

For more crafty fun and animal-related activities:


Awesome Aquarium

This aquarium fish craft doesn't contain real fish, but people will give it a second glance because it looks so awesome!

What You'll Need:

  • Construction paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Sandwich-size sealable bag
  • Markers or crayons
  • Stapler and staples
  • Colorful gravel
  • Easter grass
  • Glue

    Awesome Aquarium fish craft
    This Awesome Aquarium Fish Craft looks
    great and fools the eye!

How to Make Awesome Aquarium Craft:

Step 1: Draw and cut out a fish-bowl shape from construction paper -- make sure the shape is smaller than the size of the sandwich bag you have.

Step 2: Place the fish-bowl shape in the center of a different color of construction paper, and trace the shape. Cut out the paper inside the drawn lines (this will be called paper #1). You want the shape you cut out to be a bit smaller than the fish bowl shape you traced. Do the same to a second sheet of construction paper (this will be called paper #2).

Step 3: Draw a few fish on construction paper. Decorate them however you'd like -- you can be realistic, or you can be whimsical! Cut out the fish shapes.

Step 4: Using paper #1, staple the plastic bag around the edge of the cutout on all sides except the top.

Step 5: Put a handful of gravel in the bag, some Easter grass arranged like seaweed, and the paper fish you've drawn and cut out. Arrange the fish any way you want -- glue them in place inside the bag.

Step 6: Seal the bag, and staple the top to the paper. The bag should be stapled all the way around the edge of the cutout.

Step 7: Glue paper #2 over the top of paper #1, covering up the staples. To finish, glue the fish-bowl shape to the back of paper #1.

The next craft will take your fish out of the water and into the sky.

For more crafty fun and animal-related activities:


Carp Kite

The carp kite is a fish craft put into action by the power of the wind. You can draw a carp on a kite to fly on Children's Day -- May 5 -- or any other special day you want.

What You'll Need:

  • Wire coat hanger
  • Tissue paper
  • Tape
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Markers
  • Spool of string

    Carp Kite Fish Craft
    Make fish fly high with the Carp Kite Fish Craft!

How to Make Carp Kite Craft:

Step 1: Bend a coat hanger into a diamond shape, making sure to bend the hook part so it won't poke anyone.

Step 2: Cover the wire by wrapping it with a layer of tissue paper. Tape the ends of the tissue paper to secure it.

Step 3: Cut a diamond shape out of construction paper that is a little larger than the coat-hanger diamond. Draw the carp with the markers.

Step 4: Tape the paper to the coat hanger so that the diamond-shape opening is covered. Poke a hole at each of the corners of the diamond.

Step 5: Cut three 20-inch lengths of string. Tie one each to the top and side holes. Tie one end of a spool of string to the bottom hole to make the flying string.

Step 6: Tie the free ends of the top and side strings to the flying string near where it meets the kite. This will help your kite fly. Take your carp out and run!

Carp Kites in Japan
In Japan, carp kites are flown during a festival called Children's Day. The Japanese draw carp on their kites because they believe carp are symbols of strength and perseverance since they swim vigorously upstream against strong currents. The Japanese hope that their children will inherit these characteristics.

Next, it's time to spruce up some tired white clothes with brightly colored fish.

For more crafty fun and animal-related activities:


Brightly Colored Fish Romper

This project features brightly colored fish designs that were simply cut from fabric and then fused onto a plain, inexpensive white romper. Add the sash to challenge yourself.

Completed version of brightly colored fish romper
The right fabric can brighten
any plain outfit.

What You'll Need:
  • One-piece romper in stretch or woven fabric in light, solid color
  • 1-2 yards brightly colored, lightweight, firmly woven print fabric (no knits or stretch material). Fabric should feature large individual motifs with no overlapping
  • Buttons coordinated to match print fabric
  • 1-2 yards double-sided fusible webbing
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Tape measure
  • Iron and ironing board

NOTE: Before cutting design motifs from fabric, reserve enough fabric for the sash by cutting two 6x30-inch lengths. Also cut three 1/2x6-inch lengths and two 1/2x30-inch lengths of fusible webbing.

How to Make Brightly Colored Fish Romper:

Step 1: Cut a motif from the fabric, allowing at least a 1/2-inch border around the perimeter of the design.

Step 2: Place fusible webbing on table, with the paper side up. Place fabric motif on paper with the right side down. Trace along fabric edge onto paper. Cut fusible webbing 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch inside of traced line.

Cut fusible webbing inside the traced line
Trace fabric motif on webbing and cut inside the line.

Step 3: Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse webbing to wrong side of fabric motif. Cutting through paper-backed webbing and fabric, cut motif along design lines.

Cut webbing and fabric along design lines
Once fused, cut motif along design lines.

Step 4: Remove paper backing from motif. Position web-backed motif on romper and fuse following manufacturer's instructions. It usually works best if you prepare all motifs with webbing, cut them out, determine their position on the romper, and then fuse them one at a time.

Position motif on romper
Position motifs where desired on romper.

Step 5: Replace romper buttons with coordinating buttons.

Step 6: For the sash, make sure you have reserved two 6x30-inch lengths of fabric. Turn under and press 1/2 inch on one short end of one length.

Step 7: Following manufacturer's instructions, apply fusible webbing strip to edge that is folded under (seam allowance) and remove paper backing. Fuse to short end of second 6x30-inch fabric length, thereby connecting both lengths of fabric. (Note: Do not fold under and press end of second fabric strip.)

Fuse together the two lengths of sash fabric
Fuse the short ends of the two
6x30-inch fabrics together.

Step 8: Turn under and press 1/2 inch on one long edge and on both short ends of seamed sash. Apply fusible webbing to all three folded edges (seam allowances) and then remove paper backing and fuse, following manufacturer's instructions.

Press 1/2 inch on one long edge
Press 1/2 inch of one long edge of the joined fabrics.

Step 9: Turn under and press 1-1/2 inches along long unfolded edge. Avoid allowing iron to touch any exposed adhesive from the webbing.

Pressing more of the sash
Press 1-1/2 inches along remaining long edge.

Step 10: Lay sash on ironing surface so that long, folded, webbed edge is on top, with adhesive face up. Fold top edge over 1-1/4 inches, which should overlap cut edge of bottom fold. Press with iron to fuse.

Pressing sash till done
Fold top edge over 1-1/4 inches.

TIP: The matching sash constructed via double-sided fusible webbing turns this project from "Beginner" to "Intermediate." Beginning crafters may want to exclude the matching sash, opting to purchase a belt in a coordinating color.

Next, more clothes get the brightening treatment with fishy designs.

For more crafty fun and animal-related activities:


Neon Fish Shirt & Visor

This neon fish shirt and matching visor remind us of a day at the beach or a fabulous vacation. The ocean motifs make the t-shirt a perfect choice to wear over a bathing suit, while the visor will help protect your child from too much sun. Sponge-print clothing is simple to design and easy to produce.

Completed version of neon fish shirt and visor
A Neon Fish Shirt & Visor will make
kids ready for the beach.

What You'll Need:
  • White t-shirt and white plastic visor
  • Dimensional fabric paint in bright blue, neon pink, and neon green
  • Compressed sponge
  • Shirt board
  • Yardstick
  • Disappearing-ink pen
  • Tracing paper, or white paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Palette
  • Waxed paper

How to Make Neon Fish Shirt & Visor:

Step 1: Put the t-shirt on a shirt board. To make guidelines for sponge prints, place yardstick across shirt about 2 inches below bottom of neckline. With a disappearing-ink pen, make 2 lines, one above and one below the yardstick. (These lines should be about 1-1/4 inches apart.)

Step 2: Make 4 more lines each about l-1/2 inches below the previous one. Then make one last line 1-1/4 inches (approximate width of yardstick) below those. There should be a total of 7 lines drawn across the shirt front.

Step 3: Trace fish and wave patterns onto white paper or tracing paper and cut out. Draw around patterns onto compressed sponge, once for wave and twice for fish. Cut out. Moisten sponges and squeeze out all excess water.

Trace and cut out fish patterns
Draw patterns on compressed sponge and cut out.

Step 4: Squirt blue paint onto palette in a puddle about the size of the wave sponge. Dip wave sponge in paint, dab off excess on clean area of palette, and press sponge gently to center of shirt just slightly above the top guideline.

Step 5: Then, working from the center, match edge of sponge with edge of first printed wave to continue row of waves. Make an equal number of waves on each side of first wave.

Make row of waves with wave sponge
Create a row of waves starting in the center of the shirt.

Step 6: Repeat for second row of waves, aligning each print with the corresponding wave in the row above. Place second row of waves just above the second line.

Step 7: Squirt puddles of neon green and neon pink paint onto palettes. Dip one fish sponge into pink paint, dab off excess, and press to shirt just above the third line, with fish facing left.

Step 8: Using other fish sponge, dip into green paint, dab off excess, and make a green fish print about 1/8 inch to each side of center fish. Green fish should face right.

Green fish face right
Press fish sponge onto shirt with green fish
facing right and pink fish facing left.

Step 9: Continue by making pink fish on each side of green ones. Make another row of fish below, starting with the green fish in the center. Make third row of fish identical to first row. (Note: On shirt, all pink fish face left and all green fish face right.)

Step 10: Complete shirt by using wave sponge and blue paint to make 2 more rows of waves.

Step 11: To paint the visor, place it on waxed paper. Starting in center and working out, make a row of waves at the top of the visor, curving to conform to shape.

Step 12: Under the waves in the center of the visor, make a green fish facing left. Make pink fish on each side, facing right. Curve around with pink fish to conform to visor shape.

Stamp the pattern on the visor similar to the t-shirt
Put the fish facing the opposite direction on the visor.

Step 13: Hold visor firmly on waxed paper and make another row of waves below fish, curving completely around visor bill. Run off edge onto waxed paper if necessary. (Note: On visor, pink fish face right and green fish face left.)

The next fish craft is something to get puffed up about.

For more crafty fun and animal-related activities:


Puffy Fish

Puffy fish are more fun than regular fish. Toilet tissue or newspaper help these fish puff up in 3-D! You can use them to make a fishy mobile.

What You'll Need:

  • Colored tissue paper
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Craft glue
  • Toilet tissue or newspaper
  • Stick
  • Thread

    Puffy Fish Craft
    This Puffy Fish Craft is leaps and bounds more fun
    than an ordinary flat fish craft would be.

How to Make Puffy Fish:

Step 1: Lay two pieces of tissue paper together. Draw the outline of a fish, then carefully cut the shape out of both pieces of tissue. This will be the front and back of your fish.

Step 2: Decorate it any way you like. You can make it look like a real fish or a funny cartoon one.

Step 3: Apply a thin line of glue along the inside edge of the front half of your fish, leaving the tail unglued. Put the two pieces of tissue together and let the glue dry.

Step 4: When it's dry, stuff your fish with toilet tissue or newspaper to make it puff out! Glue the tail shut. You can make a fishy mobile by tying several fish to a stick with thread.

For more crafty fun and animal-related activities:


Carp Kite by Lisa Lerner and Kersten Hamilton
Brightly Colored Fish Romper by Janelle Hayes, Christina Romo Carlisle and Janis Bullis
Neon Fish Shirt & Visor by Janelle Hayes, Christina Romo Carlisle and Janis Bullis