Get out all of your saved-up cardboard tube and toilet paper rolls to make this SUPER FUN Cardboard Tube Fish Art. This recycled art project can be easily modified to suit whatever you happen to have on hand at home. Decorate only with paints or mix it up and use craft box supplies. Wanting to incorporate an element of nature? Take a walk outside and collect natural resources to decorate your cardboard tube fish with. Or do a mixture or all three! This is one fun and engaging art and craft project that kids of all ages will love.

Cardboard Tube Fish Art

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Easy to set up, low cost, and lots of fun for kids to decorate. This is sure to be a favorite craft to do at home! We used a combination of paint, micro shells, small flowers both fresh and dried, colored rice, magazine clippings, and seed pods. Have a look around your home to see what you have available that would work. Other suggestions include, cut up pieces of yarn, pom-poms, and dried split peas. Almost anything small can be used to decorate the cardboard tube fish!

Materials Needed

The Printable

The fish printable prints out over two pages. Simply print then cut around the outline of the fish before matching each piece together to form a complete shape. Click the link below the image to print or to save for later.

Let’s Get Creating

Start by making the fish and prepping all of the supplies that will be used to decorate the fish.

The fish base

Print off the printable and cut out the fish shape. Use the glue stick to glue the fish together onto the cut-out, side of a cardboard box. You can also use other thick card or a material similar to a box base.


Get the cardboard tubes and toilet paper rolls and cut them into thin strips. Use the tacky craft glue to glue each thinly cut cardboard tube section onto the body of the fish. It is ideal to do this the day before the fish is decorated to give the glue time to dry.

Prep the decorating materials

This step is very simple if you are only using paint but if you are using other materials then they might need some prep work. Cut yarn into small pieces, collect shells, dye the rice, and cut up magazine clippings into small pieces. The older your children the less prep work you will need to do.

Dried rice is great to use as it is affordable and a great sensory resource for kids. To make the colored rice we simply added a few drops of liquid food coloring into the rice and stirred it all together before leaving it to dry.

Gather all of the prepared decorating materials and display them either in an art pallet or in individual containers. Art and craft projects with kids always work so much better when everything is ready to go!

Decorating

Now the fun really begins! Invite the kids over for some arty crafty fun.

Start by painting the fish. We used watercolor paints for this step. Watercolors are great to use as they are often very affordable and dry quickly.

Next, decorate the inside of each cardboard tube section. You can put some craft glue into each section if you are wanting to save this artwork. Keep in mind that rice layered high will not all stick! Don’t add glue if you don’t want to save the fish art, this way you can empty the sections and save the resources for another crafting session. Or empty it and keep it to be remade at another time.


If painting poster and acrylic paints work well for this stage. Miss nine decided not to paint inside of her cardboard tubes while Miss six did a combination of painting and the loose resources. No matter what you choose your fish art will look amazing!

Other Crafts To Try

Looking for more craft fun? We have all sorts of ocean-inspired fun.

Thank you for stopping by. We hope you had fun with today’s Cardboard Tube Fish Art.

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