Paper Plate Tropical Fish

Paper Plate Tropical Fish

Are you and your kids dreaming of summer like I am? I’ve had about enough of winter and I am totally ready for warmer weather! I am heading to Florida for a conference in less than two weeks, and that has me thinking of all things beachy. Tropical fish live in the ocean, and their colors are vibrant and beautiful. So it seemed a fitting time to share this fun paper plate craft your kids will love. A great way to add some color pop to their room or even the refrigerator!

I’ve included the patterns that you’ll need (pattern 1 and pattern 2) as well as the paint colors that I used, but you can certainly use any colors you want to make your fish your own. So let’s get started! Full printable instructions are below as well.

Paper Plate Tropical FishUse the patterns to trace the fins and mouths onto paper plates. Then paint the pieces before cutting them out as well as painting full plates for the bodies. When they are dry, you’ll cut those pieces out.

Paper Plate Tropical FishAfter you assemble the fish then you can decorate with stripes, polka dots and anything else you like! Hint, polka dots are easy to make by dipping the handle end of a paintbrush into the paint and drawing a circle with it. You can also use the pencil of an eraser or those spouncer sponges you get from the craft store.

Have fun!

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Paper Plate Tropical Fish


  • 8 miniature paper plates
  • brightly colored acrylic paints
  • paintbrush
  • 4 large wiggle eyes
  • white craft glue
  • glue stick
  • scissors
  • pattern 1 and pattern 2
Americana paint colors:
  • Bright Orange
  • Sour Apple (green)
  • Turquoise Blue
  • Ocean Blue
  • Bright Yellow
  • Vivid Violet
  • Carousel Pink
  • Black
  • White
  1. For each fish you will need two paper plates. Paint one paper plate pink, one yellow, the third one green and the fourth one orange. While those are drying, trace the patterns onto the other paper plates. Paint the pattern pieces the appropriate colors and let dry.
  2. Cut the painted fish pieces out, you should be able to see your pencil lines through the paint.
  3. Use a glue stick to attach the fish pieces to the appropriate plates, gluing the pieces to the back.
  4. Use paint to add stripes or polka dots, decorate them however you like. Use white craft glue to attach wiggle eye.
  5. Hang on your child’s bedroom wall for an instant no maintenance aquarium!
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!VARIATION: Hang from the ceiling If you prefer to hang these from the ceiling there are a few adjustments that need to be made. You could hang them as constructed above, but the back of your fish won’t be pretty, it will be unpainted plate with glued on pieces. When hanging from the ceiling these fish will undoubtedly twirl, so to make them visually pleasing on both sides make the following adjustments: For each fish body paint TWO plates instead of one and paint the backsides of the plates instead of the front Paint both side of all the fins, tails and lips. You will need TWO wiggle eyes for each fish instead of one. Glue the fins and tails to one of the plates (the unpainted side), and add a long piece of string. Sandwich the two painted plates together, painted sides facing outward.



  1. says

    This is so cute. We’re in the process of planning my daughters birthday party and as her and her friends are really creative we’ve been looking for fun crafts for them to do and this would be perfect. We can also plan a beach/sea theme around it too!

  2. Dixie Lee says

    I want to try to use this idea as a mobile with my students during story hour. My students, 1st – 4th grades, do injoy paint crafts.


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