Paper Scallop Shells and Bottom Fish

We are at the last component for the ocean-themed teacher appreciation door.  So far, we have created bright clownfish and adorable pucker fish.  Now we need to add some interest to the ocean floor.  That will be accomplished with some really easy scallop shells and bottom fish.  You can make as many as you like, but I chose to do 2 scallops and one bottom fish.  The good news is, you don’t need any special materials or printables.  All that is required are some materials you probably have in your desk already.  Let’s get started!

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Materials Needed for the Project

Bottom Feeder

We’ll start with the bottom feeder fish.  This isn’t really supposed to be modeled after any particular fish as much as it is supposed to add a punch of color and some texture to the bottom of the scene.  I think it kind of looks like an eel or a farlowella.  Either way, this is a fun and easy way to add interest to the ocean floor!

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Prepare the Paper

To start, cut the yellow printer paper down to a square.  To do that, line up the top edge with one of the side edges.  You should have a right triangel in the fold and a rectangular section uncovered.  Cut off the extra rectangular section.  When you open the folded paper, you should have a perfect square.  The crease down the middle will act as a guide line for the next two folds.  

Making the First Fold

With the square rotated up so that it is in the diamond position and the middle crease is verticle, fold the two outer left point into the middle so that the lower left edge is lined up with middle line.  Repeat the process for the right side.  

Cutting the Spine

Next, we will add texture to the back of the fish by cutting strips about half an inch apart.  Unfold the fish and cut strips along the middle crease.  Start the cuts about 3-4 inches away from the top of the fish.  Cut the strips long enough so that they are about an inch away from the side fold you created in the previous step.  Leave about an inch and a half un cut at the end for the tail.  

Form the Body

Next, we will form the body of the fish.  The goal is to have some dimension .  Overlap the two folded sections.  The more the sections overlap, the taller the fish will be.  In this case, I overlapped the sections completely making the fish as tall and skinny as possible.  If the sections only overlapped a little, the fish would be wide and flat.  Secure the paper together with glue dots or a glue stick.  You will have a triangle-shaped fish at this point.  

Finish the shape of the body by pinching the top corner of the triangle and push it down to the bottom.  The more you crease the fold, the sharper the finished angles will be.  Use glue dots or a glue stick to glue the inside of the body so that the fish keeps it’s shape.  

Add Some Character

Finally, add some character with googly eyes.  One reason in love this set of googly eyes is that I can try out so many sizes at once to see which one looks the best.  I went with small-med sized eyes help make the nose more pronounced.  If you don’t have self-adhesive eyes, I suggest using glue dots to attach the eyes.  The glue stick or white school glue do not hold the eyes well in my experience.  

On to the Scallop Shells

Now, we will start on the scallop shells.  I like to have one larger shell and one smaller shell.  Start with the white paper in landscape orientation.  Fold up one quater of the paper and cut it off.  This will make the larger of the two shells.  To make the smaller shell, fold up and cut off one third of the paper.  

Make the Folds

We’ll start by folding the paper into an acordian fold along the length of the paper.  I really want evenly shaped folds, so I like to start by folding the paper in half, then in half again, and in half one more time.  This does not create the accordian fold I ultimately want, but it gives guidelines for making the accordian folds.  When you make the accordian folds, they will easily follow the lines that were created.  

Forming the Shell Shape

Now it is time to give the shell the signature scallop shape.  To do that, we will trim the top edge.  With the paper in the closed accordian fold, draw a curved line from front to back. A more flat curve will give a rounded scallop.  A steeper curve will give a sharper scallop.  Cut along your line and adjust the curve if you need to in order to get the look you want.  

Shaping the Bottom

In order to create the wings on the bottom, we will start by stapling the folds together about an inch to and inch and a half from the bottom (or whatever seems proportional to the size of your scallop).  Find the center fold and cut it all the way to the staple.  Next, crease the to halves away from the center and to the outside.  Finally, use a glue dot to secure the top side of the wing to the side of the main shell.  By doing so, it will pull up the wing and pull the main shell body down and open everything up.  

Make as many scallops as you would like in as many sizes as you would like for your project.  For the ocean themed teacher appreciation door I did two shells; one large one and one medium sized one.  

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