Create an Underwater Scene. PART 1. The Fish

Mar 29, 2012

Using a cardboard box as the base for our whole design, we set about making an underwater scene/diorama with hanging, mobile fish.

In this post (PART 1), we show you how we made these simple but effective fish.

activities for kids, making fish, collage, fine motor skills
 Can you tell what we used to create the fish scales?

 Assemble the materials ready for creating. We used cardboard fish shapes that I drew and cut out, PVA glue, cut up patty pans/cupcake liners, googly eyes and glitter

activities for kids, fine motor skills, creativity, collage
 First I demonstrated the technique of layering and overlapping the "scales" as is found on real fish so that she could learn and practice a new skill. I'd omit this step with younger children

 Cover the fish with glue

 The demonstrated technique of layering kind of went out the window when she was sticking on the scales but it's a learning process

 Her finished fish without any assistance

 For contrast, we wanted the little fish to be sparkly fish. Here we stuck the eye down first so it would attach better than over the top of glitter. Covering with glue (and avoiding the eye) was very good fine motor skill and coordination practice due to the small and more fiddly size

 Cover with glitter. A favourite part!

Shake off when dry. Taa-daa! 

Another of her finished fish

Some tips:

- If you don't have these materials at home, simply substitute them with materials you do have available to you. We used patty pans due to their texture but coloured paper would be fine (you could even crinkle it first to give it some texture)

- I suggest using thick cardboard for the fish templates as they will become too floppy under the weight of the glue and embellishments if you use paper or thin cardboard

- Take the time to focus on improving particular skills with your child and help them to practice, ie. Wiping excess glue before pasting to avoid drips.

- Extend this activity by having your child draw the fish templates themselves and/or attempt the cutting of the templates and other materials

- Making things that look visually pleasing as the end result help your child feel proud about what they have created.

- Part 2- Click here to see how we make the underwater diorama for the fish to live in.

Debs :)


  1. These are darling! Did you use cupcake liners? I found your blog through the we teach discussion that you started. You have some fun ideas. New follower!

  2. Thank you Karyn. Yes, cupcake liners! We use them for so many things...this is just another one :D

  3. Wow, I love these! The cupcake liners really look like scales! Too cute!

    Aleacia @ Dilly-Dali Art

    1. Thanks Aleacia :D Sometimes the best ideas are born out of utilising whatever you happen to have on hand at the time lol
      (Love your site by the way)

  4. LOVE these! You inspired me to make a MUCH simpler version with our 2's yesterday. I posted here:

    But I'd love to get more elaborate with my 3's and add more!

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