DIY Paper Mache Fish ~ Under the Sea Birthday Ideas

                       I think I bite off more than I can chew with ideas for my girl’s birthday parties sometimes. But I have so much fun crafting stuff it’s hard to stop myself!

In my last post I shared our girl’s fourth birthday party. Let me show you how we made our big paper mache fish for our little one’s Under the Sea Birthday!

First, I had my helper tear newspaper into narrow strips for the messy part of this project. While she did that I made the form for the fish. I blew up a balloon, then raided the recycle bin for some cardboard pieces that I could cut the fins out of, then attached them to the balloon with masking tape.

Shred the paper make the fish form

There was a brief break for balloon madness…

Not going to paper mache, but play

Back to work ;-)

I then made the paste. This is very non-technical, mind you. I didn’t want to make a lot of paste for one fish (as I had to work in layers), so I mixed about a half cup of all purpose flour and about 3/4 cup of water, whisking the water in a little at the time until it was about the consistency of thin pancake batter.

Make the paste

I will say, if the paste is too thin it will cause the paper to tear and be hard to handle. If it’s too thick, then you have a gloppy mess. So you may have to play with it until you get a consistency that works.

I dipped the strips of newspaper in the paste and slide my fingers down either side (squeegee-like) to wipe off the excess, then applied them to the balloon and cardboard form.

Place the paper mache on the fish formI only applied one layer of newspaper, then let it dry overnight. It’s pretty humid here, so I set the fish up to dry in front of a little fan to help the process go a little more quickly.

Fish is ready to dry

I applied a second layer of newspaper over the fish the next day, and once it was dry I really thought it was sturdy enough. But if your feeling froggy (and have the patience), you could add one more layer to make it extra sturdy ;-)

Now it’s time to paint!  

The bearded fish painter

Wait, doesn’t everyone paint in disguise?


I let my girl go town on this part. She really wasn’t into helping with the paper application as it was too sticky for her liking (this coming from a kid that will help me peel shrimp…eww). We had four fish to paint, so she was busy for a while… 

Nearly naked fish paintingNow, using a balloon as a form is not without its faults. Not only did I manage to tape the fins on this fish below all wonky (it looked more like a narwhal or a unicorn), but the balloon leaked out overnight after I applied the first layer of paper. Not to be discouraged, I applied another layer of paper and painted it to look something like a unicorn. It was extra special ;-)

The NarFish craft fail

After painting, we had an assortment of googly and foam eye stickers that we used for the eyes. I hot glued some colored macaroni for fish lips.

I had my man push large safety pins through the top fin, then hung them on our line at the party with some ribbon…


  Big Blue Fish   Four Little Fishes

We gave some of them away to the guests as a little extra thank you.

These were so fun to make, and we are still enjoying them hanging up in the bedroom!

Next up I’ll share how I made our mermaid…that took some serious rigging and recycle bin digging!

Do your kids enjoy getting messy with crafts? What messes have you made lately?

;-) Anna-Leigh

Linked up to Today’s Creative Blog, The Sunday Showcase, Pinning for Play, Create and Share

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6 Responses to DIY Paper Mache Fish ~ Under the Sea Birthday Ideas

  1. Pingback: Under the Sea Birthday Ideas |

  2. Connie says:

    You make it look so easy! and fun of course

  3. Courtney says:

    LOVED your fish! And the blue one has found a good home and we think of you often :) I’m pinning for you!

  4. Lauren says:

    Fun, fun, fun! Look at the joy on her face painting that fish. Love it! Thank you for sharing at our Pinning for Play link party!

  5. Pingback: DIY Paper Mache Mermaid ~ Under the Sea Birthday Ideas |

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