3D shoe box fish tank with cupcake case fish

Making a crab

A great 3D fish tank activity to make all in one go or over several days. This activity includes a 3D shoe box fish tank, cupcake case fish, starfish and a crab made from shells. Sharing A Shell

We’re really starting to get into this now 🙂 this is our most ambitious project yet and I thought it would take us a few days to complete doing the tank one day then the fish another and so on but my toddler had other ideas and we did a mammoth two and a half hour make! He absolutely loved it, I was pooped and had super glued my fingers together that many times I’d lost count and lost my finger prints. It was a really fun way to spend a rainy afternoon though and is now positioned alongside our real fish tank.

To make the shoe box fish tank we used:

  • An old shoe box
  • Tissue paper
  • PVA glue
  • Paint

To make the starfish we used:

  • Card
  • Felt pens
  • Glitter
  • Wiggle eyes

To make the fish we used:

  • Card
  • Cupcake cases
  • Wiggle eyes
  • PVA glue

To make ‘crab, blob and bristle worm’ we used:

  • Old packaging paper
  • Paint
  • A shell
  • Fluffy balls
  • A pipe cleaner
  • Wiggle eyes
  • Super glue

Fish tank craft supplies

Making the fish tank

Cut out a rectangle opening in the base of the shoe box. Cover the outside of the box in coloured tissue paper of your choice using PVA glue.toddler covered in tissue paper

Use blue tissue paper to cover what will be the back wall of the fish tank, we painted this dark blue before sticking light blue tissue paper over the top to give it a water effect.

Use yellow tissue paper screwed into balls to decorate the bottom of the tank to create sand. Alternatively if you have some you could use sand to add another sensory element to the activity.

We used a pipe cleaner stuck to the sides of the box with sellotape to make a bar for the fish to later be hung from.fish tank crafts

Making the starfish and fish

For the starfish use coloured card and cut out starfish shapes, decorate these with felt pen and glitter. Add your choice of wiggle eyes.Starfish craftsStarfish craft ideas

For the fish select some colourful cupcake cases and squash them flat, patterned side up. Use the PVA glue to stick them to the card. Draw out tail and fin shapes on another piece of coloured card and cut them out, glue these onto your cupcake case fish. Glue on wiggle eyes and cut your fish out.fish craftsfish and starfish crafts ideas

Making the ‘Crab, Blob and Bristle Worm’

We screwed up old packaging paper that we had saved from an online delivery and we painted it orange, this then sat underneath the shell to make it stand up on an angle.

Being very careful we used super glue to stick the orange fluff ball to the packaging paper and the purple fluff ball to the shell. We then used the glue to stick the wiggle eyes on.

Finally we cut a pipe cleaner to size and twisted it to the shape of the bristle worm. We used the super glue to stick the worm to the ball of screwed up paper.Making a carb

Making a crab


My toddler loved putting all of the bits and pieces we had made into the ‘fish tank’ and he added some extra shells that his Nannie and Grandad had brought back from holiday for him. We used cotton to secure the fish to the pipe cleaner and we stuck one fish to the back wall to make the tank even more 3D.making a shoe box fish tankfish tank craft for toddlers

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