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  • Writer's pictureMade by Wren P.

Paper Plate Aquarium

Updated: Jun 14, 2021

Create a miniature underwater world with this fun activity! This Paper Plate Aquarium can be made by anyone but school-age children will especially enjoy it! You are able to use your imagination and creativity to create your own underwater scene. Once you have made your paper plate aquarium you can dive underwater and explore the sea! Use your imagination to explore all the wonders of the ocean with family and friends.


  • 2 paper plates (any size)

  • Blue paint

  • Paintbrush

  • Dry oatmeal

  • Construction paper (any colours)

  • Pencil

  • Markers (for decoration)

  • Googly eyes (optional)

  • Tape (optional)

  • White glue

  • Scissors

Activity Steps:

Before we begin, make sure your workspace is ready to go with all of your supplies placed on a flat surface. It is a good idea to lay some newspaper or other surface covering down to protect the surface that you are working on as the paint and glue might be a little messy! If you will need help cutting or gluing, make sure to have an adult nearby!

Step 1: First, you are going to begin by using your paintbrush to paint both of your paper plates blue. Place your plates on your flat surface facing upwards (like how you would if you were going to eat off of them!). Squeeze some of your paint into the center of your plate and then use your paintbrush to spread the paint out to cover the whole surface of your plate. Do this for both of your plates. Once you have painted your plates, set them aside to allow time for them to dry!

Tip: If you find it challenging to use a paintbrush or just want to have even more fun, you can use your fingers to paint the plates blue! If you use your fingers you can have some fun and add waves or patterns in the paint as well!

Step 2: Now we are going to make the sea creatures that go in the aquarium! Use your pencil to draw on any colour of your construction paper. I chose to draw a fish but you can choose any sea creature that you want, like an octopus or a seahorse! Repeat this step three times so that you have three creatures!

Tip: You can make the creatures different sizes! I chose to make three fish and made one small, one medium, and one larger one.

Step 3: Next you are going to cut out your sea creatures. Using your scissors, follow the shape that you drew and cut out the creature that you have just created. If you need help cutting out these shapes, ask an adult for help!

Step 4: Now that you have cut out your fish, you get to decorate them! Use your imagination to decide what you would like your fish to look like. Maybe you would like to add googly eyes, or use your markers to draw on scales or other patterns like stripes or polka dots!

Step 5: Now we are going to make plants for the aquarium. Use your pencil to draw grass-like or seaweed shapes onto your construction paper. These shapes might be straight, or might be wavy! I chose to make my plants green, but sometimes they can be different colors. Choose whatever color plant you think would look best in your own aquarium.

Step 6: Next, we are going to cut out the plants that we drew. Once again, use your scissors and follow the shape that you drew for your plants and cut out the plants. If you need help cutting these shapes, ask an adult for help!

Step 7: Now, check that your painted plates have dried. If your plates are dry you can move on to the next step!

Step 8: Now we are ready to glue the plants and fish that we cut out onto one of the paper plates. Take one of your painted paper plates and make sure that the painted side is facing upwards towards you. Take the plant and fish that you cut out and arrange them in the center of the plate. Once you are happy with where you have placed your plants and fish, you can put glue on the back of these shapes and then glue them in place on your plate. Press and hold for 20–30 seconds to make sure that they stick!

Step 9: Now we are going to make the sand for the aquarium. For this, you will need your glue and your dry oatmeal! Put a layer of glue near the bottom of your paper plate where you would like your sand to be. This might overlap some of the plants that you have already glued down. Once you are happy with where the glue is, take your oatmeal and shake it out onto the plate so that it sticks to the glue. Allow this to dry.

Tip: If you do not have dry oatmeal, lots of other things can be used instead! You can use corn flakes or corn pops cereal, small rocks, or a darker colour construction paper as your sand!

Step 10: Next you are going to make the front of your aquarium. For this step, you will need to cut out the center of the second paper plate. To do this, you can poke a hole in the center of your plate and then carefully use your scissors to follow the circle of the center of the plate and cut out this shape. At the end, you will still have a circular paper plate, and it will have a hole in the middle! If you need help cutting this out, ask an adult for help!

Tip: If you are unable to poke a hole in the center of your plate to cut out the center you can do this in another way! Use your scissors to cut into the center of the plate from one of the curved sides. Once you have done this, you can follow the circle shape of the center of the plate and cut it out. Once the center is cut out, you can take a piece of tape, and tape the edges of the plate back together so that it makes a circle again!

Step 11: Now you are ready to glue the paper plates together. Place the first paper plate that has all your awesome fish and plants glue to it flat on your surface with your decorations facing upwards. Trace around the edge or lip of the paper plate with your glue, so that you have a circle of glue.

Take your other paper plate with the hole in the center, and flip it over so that the blue side is facing down. Line up this paper plate with the one on the bottom and press the two together so that the outside edges are glued together! Allow time for the glue to dry!

Step 12: You are all finished! Enjoy looking at the sea and the wonders of the ocean with your aquarium!

~Made by Wren

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