Wednesday, August 21, 2013

2-Liter {Bottle} Tropical Fish

The summer camp my son attended made these and while he wasn't signed up for the particular "recycled art" workshop, when I saw them, I knew he'd love it.

This is a simple craft with minimal supplies.

1 clear, clean 2-liter soda bottle
2 dot stickers (like you'd use for garage sale pricing)
Acrylic craft paint in whatever colors you please
black construction paper
exacto craft knife
hole punch
paint brushes, sponge brushes, etc.
permanent marker
(and anything else to decorate your fish like glitter, tissue paper, fabric, sequins, etc.!)

Before we made our 2-liter tropical fish, we read about the coral reef, where so many brightly colored fish reside.

Having admired some of the strange and beautiful creatures of the reef through Sylvia Earle's book, we got busy crafting our own tropical fish.

I cut out the tail-fin pattern I'd made. Download it here.

Next, my son wrapped it around the bottle, secured it in place, and began tracing around the edge of the template with a permanent marker.

Now, he handed the bottle to me and with an exacto craft knife and scissors, I carefully cut along the lines he'd drawn.

Before things got messy with paints, he paper punched two black dots from the construction paper. He placed it in the middle of the sticky side of each dot sticker, and adhered the stickers (our fish's eyes) on the inside of the bottle.

Paint brushes came out and the inside of the bottle was lightly coated in an array of red, yellow, and lime green.

My son couldn't wait for it to dry. So we pinched the tail together and added a staple to make our fish's body more flat.

Isn't the final result awesome? If we drank more soda, we'd have a sea full of these at our house!


  1. I so want to make this with my son for FOR.THE.LIFE.OF.ME. I cannot figure out the instructions per the PDF. I have printed two copies (yes?); folded both at the center line (yes?); and wrapped around the bottle. Problem. Things don't match up. Please, help a frustrated mom.

    1. If your printer resizes the PDF and does not print it full-bleed, you'll need to just use the pattern as a reference because it will have shrunk it. The easiest way to make your own template is to line up two pieces of office paper so they're both the long way. Tape them together. Put the elongated paper around your bottle, mark where they overlap and cut the paper (about 13 1/2 inches long). Then fold it in half and draw the fin shape. Cut it out, place around the bottle, and trace the edge with a marker. Hope this helps!

  2. Have tried this ,got the pattern right but once I cut how do I open the fish up

    1. The pattern will fit around the bottle. Once you cut along the edge of the pattern, or the line traced using it, the bottom of the bottle will be cut off making the fish's insides totally open to paint.