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How to Make a Paper Moving Fish

This easy tutorial will show you how to make your own paper moving fish in just a few minutes. I’ll share tips from my personal experience with paper making and paper folding so that it can become second nature to you too!

Do you have a child or friend who is constantly moving around? Are they always hungry for something new and exciting to do? Well, this next craft might be just what they need! 

You can teach them how to make a paper fish and have them move it back and forth, “swimming” in the air.

It’s an easy project that will keep them occupied for hours on end while they enjoy their newfound pet. 

We will show you how to make your own paper moving fish in no time. 

The best part about this craft is that there are so many different variations of it that you can make.

Make them big, small, different colors or add your own finishing touches from whatever you have in your craft box.

how to make a moving paper fish

Benefits of Arts and Crafts for Kids

Many parents have the habit of using technology to entertain their kids instead of having them make things with their hands.

It’s true that modern devices can help us do and learn a lot, but it should never come at the expense of letting your children play and create on their own.

Arts and crafts are not just a way for kids to express themselves in their own unique ways.

There are actually so many more benefits that go beyond this.

  • Helps with self expression 
  • Encourages creativity through the use of various mediums such as paints, markers, papers etc. 
  • Stimulates your child’s brain by working different regions responsible for emotions, senses and thinking skills
  • Social craft activities can foster friendships with other young artists too!

Who can make this paper fish craft?

Both kids and adults will have a fun time making this moving paper fish craft.

This project is suitable for Kindergarten aged children and older.

If you are a teacher, this is one craft that you will want to add to your bag of handy and fun classroom projects.

What kind of paper should I use?

Honestly, you can use any old piece of paper. I suggest using colored construction paper.

Some people might suggest using Origami paper, but I do not as it tends to be too small (and expensive!)

If you don’t have colored construction paper handy, feel free to get creative and recycle whatever paper you have around the house!

craft paper and hearts

You could also use plain white paper that the children paint or color themselves.

You could also use newspaper or magazine paper for a modern art look.

There really is no right or wrong way to make this craft.

What materials and supplies do I need to make a Paper Fish?

For this craft, you’ll only need a few supplies:

  • Colored paper 
  • Colored paper scraps 
  • White paper 
  • Glue 
  • Scissors 
  • Black Marker
  • Pencil 

How do I make the fish bigger or smaller?

In real life, fish are colorful, fascinating creatures that come in all colors, shapes and sizes.

It is quite easy to adjust the size of your fish – just make your beginning square from bigger or smaller paper!

How long does it take to make this fish craft?

Crafting together with someone you love, can make time fly by.

While we never want to rush this quality time with our children, sometimes as parents we have short windows of opportunity. 

This is one of the reasons this paper fish craft is so great.

Depending on how much help your child needs, it could take up to 30 minutes  to make this wiggly craft. 

Adults on their own could probably get one completed in around 5 minutes.

Moving Paper Fish Craft Tutorial Main 3

How to Make a Paper Moving Fish

You can follow along with our written step-by-step instructions below or you can watch our How to Make a Paper Moving Fish video on YouTube.

This is such an easy and cool paper fish craft to do! It’s sure to brighten up any children’s room or classroom.

I suggest hanging your “school” of fish from the ceiling at different heights for the best look.

Step 1: 

Grab a sheet of colored paper. We used US Letter/A4 size but you can use any size you like!

Moving Paper Fish Craft Tutorial Step by Step

Step 2:

To make a square, fold one corner across the paper to line the top edge with the side edge of the paper.

Trim off the bottom.

Moving Paper Fish Craft Tutorial Step by Step

Open and flatten. You will have a square piece of paper with one diagonal crease going down the middle.

Step 3:

Fold each corner into the centerline to form a kite shape and create creases.

Reopen your paper to a flat square.

Moving Paper Fish Craft Tutorial Step by Step

Step 4:

Fold your paper in half, on the middle diagonal.

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Step 5:

Using the middle crease line as a guide of where to stop, make cuts in the paper along the folded bottom edge about 1/4-1/2 inch apart as shown.

You will want to start and stop about an inch from the left/right edge.

Tip: The smaller the gaps between cuts, the more the fish will bend and move.

Moving Paper Fish Craft Tutorial Step by Step

Step 6:

Unfold the paper back to your starting flat square.

Moving Paper Fish Craft Tutorial Step by Step

Step 7:

Fold the sides in along the two side creases you made earlier to make the kite shape again.

Moving Paper Fish Craft Tutorial Step by Step

Step 8:

Open the left side. Thoroughly place glue on the entire right side as shown.

Moving Paper Fish Craft Tutorial Step by Step

Step 9:

Now cover the right side with the left and align carefully. Press together to make a cone-shaped pocket.

Moving Paper Fish Craft Tutorial Step by Step

Step 10:

Turn it over and press inside the cone to secure in place and create the three-dimensional shape for the fish body.

Moving Paper Fish Craft Tutorial Step by Step

Step 11:

Take a piece of the same colored paper about 3″ wide and slide it into the middle of the fish.

It doesn’t need to go far, just until the sides begin to curl.

Use a pen or pencil to draw a half circle about 1 inch away from the edge of the fish. Cut out your shape.

HINT: My mouth shape ended up being about 3″ x 3″.

Moving Paper Fish Craft Tutorial Step by Step

Step 12:

Cut off about 1″ of the point on the top, rounding it out to make the fish head.

Take the mouth part you just made and glue it inside the mouth. Round off the edges, if needed.

Moving Paper Fish Craft Tutorial Step by Step

Step 13:

Take another piece of colored paper about 2″ wide and and repeat step 11 to make the tongue.

Cut out and glue it onto the mouth piece.

Moving Paper Fish Craft Tutorial Step by Step

Step 14:

Choose the same or another contrasting color to make the tail and fins.

Fold the paper in half and draw half of a heart shape along the fold, twice.

Cut out the two heart shapes and then cut ONE in half along the center fold.

This will be your two fins and the heart shape will be your tail fin.

NOTE: We drew heart halves about 2″ long and 1/2″ at the widest part.

Moving Paper Fish Craft Tutorial Step by Step

Step 15:

Glue the fins onto the fish.

Moving Paper Fish Craft Tutorial Step by Step

Step 16:

Take a scrap of white paper and fold it in half.

Draw a circle and cut it out, ending up with 2 circles.

Use a black marker to color in the eyes.

NOTE: These circles can be any size you like! Ours are about 1.5-2″ in diameter. If you don’t have white paper, you could just draw the eyes directly onto the fish too.

Moving Paper Fish Craft Tutorial Step by Step

Congrats, you’re all finished! Hold your fish by its head and tail and try wiggling it up and down.

See? It swims through the air!

Print your paper fish craft tutorial below

Moving Paper Fish Tutorial 49
Yield: 1

How to Make a Paper Moving Fish

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Estimated Cost: $5

This is such a simple and fun paper fish craft. It's sure to make any children’s room or classroom look bright! I suggest hanging your “school” of fish from the ceiling at different heights for an even better effect.

Materials

  • Colored paper
  • White paper

Tools

  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Black Marker
  • Pencil

Instructions

  1. Start with a sheet of colored paper.
  2. Fold one corner across the paper to line the top edge with the side edge of the paper. You can trim off the extra paper and you are left with a square of paper folded in half diagonally. 
  3. Open and flatten.
  4. Fold two corners into the centerline to form a kite shape.
  5. Open and flatten back to a square.
  6. Fold in half diagonally.
  7. Make 1/4 inch cuts in the paper, starting about an inch from the end. Make sure you cut up to the crease.
  8. Top tip: The smaller the gaps between cuts, the more the fish will bend and move
  9. Unfold all the sides.
  10. Fold two long edges to make a cone shape.
  11. Now glue one side thoroughly.
  12. Flip the other side of the paper to the glued one.
  13. Turn over and place hand inside to press down and make it three-dimensional.
  14. Take a piece of the same colored paper and put it inside the cone to create the fish's mouth.
  15. Cut off the point on top and round it out to make the fish head.
  16. Glue your bottom mouth piece to the inside of the fish’s mouth.
  17. Take different colored paper and repeat step 11. Glue it onto the mouth.
  18. Use contrasting colored paper to draw and cut the fins and tail of the fish. Cut one of the heart shapes in half so that you have 3 pieces.
  19. Glue them on the fish.
  20. Take a white paper scrap, draw two circles and cut them. Now draw circles on these with a black marker to make eyes and glue them onto the fish.
  21. All done!

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