Angler-fish Craft (Art + Books Series)

Welcome back for another art + picture books craft project!

This month, I’ve been sharing picture books and art projects about the ocean.

Like many people, I find the ocean fascinating, and I’ve really enjoyed reading about the countless plants and animals that live in the ocean. With that said, one of my life-long goals is to avoid traveling on a submarine.

To me, traveling underwater in a metal tube sounds like a ridiculously bad idea. I don’t really expect that to change any time soon—which is just as well, because I probably won’t have the chance to ride in a submarine any time soon!

However, I am intrigued by the unusual animals living deep in the ocean.

Today’s project focuses on one of those creatures—the angler fish! 

paper plate angler fish

If you want to read a book or two about marine animals, I recommend Secrets of the Sea by Kate Baker (especially the section, “Into the Deep”), and Yuval Zommer’s The Big Book of the Blue. These both amazing collections of facts and information about ocean life. They’re definitely meant for children who are independent readers, but we’ve enjoyed reading them aloud too.

Paper-plate angler fish:

Let's get started!

Supplies: paper plates, finger paints, scissors, googly eyes, yellow pipe cleaners, brads.
Start by drawing a zig-zag line across the center of the plate, like a row of teeth.

cutting a paper plate in half

With the scissors, cut along this line, splitting the plate in half. This creates an upper jaw and a lower jaw.

Pick a main color for the fish and put a dollop of paint on each half of the paper plate. We used brown for one fish and yellow for the other, and then added black to the upper half and white to the lower half to darken and lighten the colors. Feel free to use whatever colors or combinations you want!

Spread the paint around the halves, making sure to fill in all the corners. If you want to add a speckled, fishy texture, add a small dollop of white paint and dab it around with a cotton ball. 

When you are satisfied with the colors, let the paint dry.

Then, overlap the two halves on one side, and push a brad through the two layers. Fasten the brad in place. Fold the bottom section of the lower jaw under to create a flat jawline, and practice chomping the fish jaws together!

Add a googly eye to the fish’s upper jaw.

Finally, punch a hole in the plate just above the fish’s eye and insert a pipe cleaner. Fold about an inch of the pipe cleaner up and twist it around the longer section to hold the angler’s fishing lure in place.

If you want, you can shape the end of the pipe cleaner into a lure—or you can just leave it long.

And the angler fish is finished!

Besides reading about deep-sea creatures, it might be fun to talk about some of them and how they survive. What are some features that help an angler fish find food in the depths of the ocean? How do these animals cope with the immense water pressure?

What do you think?

picture books and art project

Other posts in this series:

Deep-sea Oceanscape
Playdough Starfish Stamps
Deep-sea Reading List


If you like this activity, be sure to check out my science-themed coloring & activity book, Shrimp, Shrimp, Cuttlefish! This book focuses on more than 30 ocean animals with coloring pages and activities like the one in this post. You can find a sample coloring page from the book here

Shrimp, Shrimp, Cuttlefish is available on Amazon, or you can buy it here.