Art With Jenny K.


Recycled Water Bottle Fish

water bottle rainbow fish





This is a great art activity using recycled (or also, using terminology popular in the art world “found”) materials. You will need:

      • Water bottles
      • Glue
      • Old brushes
      • Tissue paper (variety of colors)
      • Craft foam (variety of colors)
      • Googly eyes
      • Glitter (optional)
      • Sticks (skewers)
      • Clay or Play-doh

1. You will need one water bottle per student. We won’t use the bottle tops, but if you want an idea for something to do with them, check out my bottle top flag post HERE. Also, if you have a smaller class you could try to collect 2-liter bottles and make some “big fish”… that would be fun!

2. Students shape their fish by twisting and squeezing their bottles in the middle.

3. Then, using glue and tissue paper, students add the color and texture of their fish. I like to pour the glue into little containers or paper plates, much like you’d pour out paint for the kids to use. The idea is to “brush” the glue onto the bottle and then put the tissue paper on top of the glue. It’s really important to overlap tissue paper to cover the whole space. It’s also important to put glue on the outside of the tissue paper to help hold it all down. Regular Elmer’s white glue is perfect for this.

4. I dry the fish on skewers that I’ve stuck in modeling clay. I connect the color of modeling clay to the table color where each child sits to help me keep track of which (very wet, “gluey”) fish belongs to which student. However, you could use Play-Doh or something else you can stick the skewers in to hold up the bottles while drying.

5. When the bottles are dry, students cut out fins from crafting foam using a template I made (just think of it like a triangle with a point missing). I used the hot glue gun and added the eyes and fins because regular glue won’t hold the fins on very well. You could, however, always use construction paper, in which case regular glue might hold. The kids painted more glue along the opening and at the back of the fish and then dipped that in glitter. Of course, if the idea of glitter in your classroom makes you want to run and hide, don’t mention that part to your kids!!!

6. I displayed all of these fish in a large case at school. I had 5 sections of kindergarten, so in order to keep track of the bottles, I came up with a trick to match the glitter to the classroom teacher. So, for example, Mrs. “Smith” was blue glitter, and Mr. “Jones” was red glitter. This was very handy when I was giving them all back!

Here are some of the finished fish!

If you are interested in the textured paper the fish are sitting on, then you can see how we do that in my Hungry Caterpillar post HERE.

You can see all my art integration resources for classroom teachers, art teachers, and parents HERE.

Other recycled material ideas:

Thanks for reading and for making art with your kids!!!

Jenny K.

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