No Flush Fish

Fishbowl 315

Wouldn’t it be nice to have pet fish that never needed feeding (or any other care for that matter)? That lived forever and never had to be dropped off at the neighbor’s when your family goes to Disney, where it cowers in fear from their family’s cat for a week?  In the ocean, sea creatures are either being preyed upon or doing the preying.  This craft will let you create an entire tank of miniature exotic aquatic creatures that can all co-exist peacefully and without fear of extinction.  This project requires a little more adult assistance than most, but since you won’t be begging your parents to take you to the pet store as often, they will hopefully be happy to help!

You Need:

•??? ?One small glass or plastic fishbowl
•??? ?One sheet of shrinking plastic.  When heated in an oven, Shrinky Dinks shrink to approximately 40% of their original size, and become about the thickness of a nickel and very hard, without losing their original color or shape.
•??? ?Sharpies or other permanent markers. 
•??? ?Scissors
•??? ?Hole punch
•??? ?Acrylic Paint (note:  acrylic paint does not wash out of clothing, so wear old play clothes!)
•??? ?Small soft paintbrush
•??? ?Fishing line or thin wire
•??? ?Tiny buttons
•??? ?2 wine corks, cut into three pieces each by an adult
•??? ?Small pebbles for bottom of the fishbowl
•??? ?Hot glue gun (with adult supervision)


How to Do It:

1. Using Sharpies or other permanent markers, draw as many small fish and other exotic sea creatures on the Shrinky Dinks as you would like.  Do not use waxy materials to draw on the Shrinky Dinks (like crayons, oil pastel, waxy colored pencils etc.) as they will rub off.  Punch them with a hole punch.  The holes will shrink to the size where you can still insert a think wire or fishing line.

2. With the assistance of an adult, follow directions on the Shrinky Dink package to bake.  Most shrinking plastic calls for heating at 300 degrees for approximately 3 – 5 minutes.  There will be a lot of curling while they are shrinking, which is very fun to watch, but don’t interfere with the shrinking process by trying to flatten them out!  They will eventually become totally flat on their own, and that is how you’ll know they are done!  Let cool before removing from baking sheet.

3. After they have cooled, tie a short piece of fishing line or wire to the sea creatures.  On the other end of the wire, tie a small button.

4. Have an adult cut the wine corks into three pieces each.  Do not attempt to cut them yourself!

5. With adult supervision, hot glue the button on the other end of the fish to the bottom of the cork.  When the cork is placed in water it will float and the fish that are dangled from it will appear to swim.

6. Now you need to create a habitat for your fish!  Using the acrylic paint, on the outside of the fishbowl, paint an underwater scene.  Get creative!  You can paint sand, coral, seaweed, and bubbles.  Let the paint dry for 30 minutes.

7. Fill the bowl ¾ with water and place your fish and other sea creatures in the tank and watch how your creatures interact.  You should replace the water every few weeks.

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Charlotte, NC  28277