Making Plastic Bottle Animals

This easy, inexpensive craft will stir your kids' imaginations--and yours. Once you get started, you will see creatures in all kinds of bottles. These fish are made from various hand soap bottles, which come in interesting and inspiring shapes. You will find a link to templates for this project under Resources at the end of this slideshow.

Things You'll Need

  • Assorted plastic bottles
  • Spray paint for plastics
  • Craft foam in assorted colors
  • Googly eyes
  • Red fingernail polish
  • Hot glue gun with glue sticks
  • Utility knife
  • Cutting board
  • Template (See Resources)
An ocean of plastic fish!
An ocean of plastic fish! (Image: Debbie Williams)

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Craft a Fish from a Plastic Bottle

Step 1

You may already have most of the supplies on hand. The new plastic spray paints work amazingly well and coverage is excellent. If you do craft projects with your kids, a supply of colorful craft foam is a handy thing to keep in stock, and a hot glue gun is indispensable.

Supplies (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 2

Run hot water over the bottle to soften the adhesive on the label. Using a sharp knife, catch the edge of the label and pull up slightly. Most labels will come off cleanly using this method, but you might need to remove some of the residue with a commercial solvent.

Peel the labels.
Peel the labels. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 3

Use a utility knife with a cutting board to cut off the pump portion of the soap bottle. This should be done by an adult. Use a gentle "sawing" motion and a sharp blade, and this should be a simple task.

Cut off the top.
Cut off the top. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 4

Cut out the template pieces from craft foam in your choice of colors. Be creative in your color choices. Study the different types of fish and find colors and shapes that match your bottle shapes.

Cut out the pieces.
Cut out the pieces. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 5

Cover a work area with newspaper. Using a back and forth motion, spray paint the bottle. To prevent drips and runs, use several light coats rather than trying to cover in one heavy coat of paint.

Paint the bottles.
Paint the bottles. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 6

Glue the tail fins on each side of the foot of the bottle, leaving the outer edges of each side unattached for the moment. It's easy to burn yourself with high temperature glue, so this should be done by an adult. Older children could use low-melting-temperature glue.

Glue the pieces.
Glue the pieces. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 7

Glue and pinch the tail pieces to each other, matching the center and the sides as you go. When cool, use scissors to trim any places that are not line up perfectly.

Close the tail.
Close the tail. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 8

Glue the side fins in place. Add some googly eyes and a ring on top to hang your creation. As a final touch, paint the front of the bottle rim with bright fingernail polish to look like lips.

One finished fish.
One finished fish. (Image: Debbie Williams)
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