Last updated on February 15th, 2021
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One of my favorite exhibits at the aquarium is when you get to walk among the sharks. As you weave your way down the corridor of tanks, it really feels like the sharks are swimming right beside you.
When designing my son’s room, I wanted him to feel like he is also swimming with the sharks. He chose blue walls (did I mention bright turquoise blue – it’s like summer all year round) and we’ve added shark silhouettes to his walls (affiliate) to make it feel like they are swimming all around him.
So when I started creating designs for the shop’s new shark birthday party this year, I decided to also create a shark craft that would make it look like the sharks were swimming outside the porthole of a ship.
This was the start of this shark porthole sun catcher craft. When displayed on the window, the sunlight makes you actually feel like the sharks are swimming right outside. It’s pretty cool.
You can use your shark sun catcher as a decoration for a shark birthday party. Or you can organize the shark craft as a party activity or even a fun craft to make on a summer afternoon.
One of my favorite parts of the shark porthole sun catcher craft is that I made sure to use different species of sharks. I have met a lot of kids who think that there is only one type of shark – shark.
There are actually at least 440 different species of sharks in the ocean. And maybe even some that we haven’t even discovered yet.
In order to honor all of the species of sharks, I have used three different ones in the shark silhouettes for this shark craft. If you love your Great White sharks, then you can use just that one. But adding a hammerhead shark – my favorite kind – was also fun.
Another note about the silhouettes. I have created a free printable shark silhouette template page for this craft. You can download it here.
If you are making this shark craft with preschoolers or even for a shark birthday party, it might be best to pre-order the shark silhouettes as shark die-cuts (affiliate) online. This would be easier than cutting a lot of shark silhouettes. Making a couple for this craft was fine, but it might get tiring cutting all of those sharks out if you need a lot.
You can also create your own sharks using this shark stencil book (affiliate). One idea is to trace the sharks on the black cardstock in advance and let the kids cut them out depending on the age group. The nice part about these shark stencils (affiliate) is that there is a wider variety of sharks to choose from.
To make your own shark porthole sun catcher craft, you will need:
12 x 12 Black Cardstock Paper (affiliate)
Dinner Plate (used for tracing the circles)
Paper Plate (used to trace the inside circle)
Different Shades of Blue Tissue Paper
Free Printable Shark Template
Clear Contact Shelf Liner Paper (affiliate)
1. Place the dinner plate upside down in the center of the black cardstock. Trace around the edge of the plate with a white crayon. Cut out the large circle.
2. Place the paper plate in the center of the circle. There should be at least a half inch edge around. If there isn’t, find a smaller paper plate.
Trace the paper plate with the white crayon to create a inside circle.
3. Gently fold the circle in half – making sure not to crease. Cut the inside of the circle out. Put this piece aside since you will use it to cut out the sharks later. You can also use a circle cutter to trim the center of the circle if desired.
4. Print the Free Printable Shark Template. You can also use a sharks stencils (affiliate) or purchase pre-made shark die cuts (affiliate). Cut out the shark silhouettes from the template that you plan to use.
5. Trace the sharks onto the excess black cardstock circle. You will need two to three depending how crowded you want your ocean.
6. Cut the tissue paper into small squares and rectangles. When cutting, fold one piece of tissue paper in half and then length wise. Then, cut into strips, followed by smaller pieces. This way the tissue paper doesn’t stick together and make it impossible to use.
Once your pieces are cut, you can mix them together into one bowl or separate them into individual bowls. I find that when they are mixed together, the kids are more likely to use an assortment of colored pieces. In individual bowls, they tend to only choose one color for the project.
Also, one sheet of tissue paper goes a long way. I cut up one sheet in each shade of blue and it was enough tissue paper pieces to fill two bowls. It seems that less is more with tissue paper.
7. Time to cut out the Contact paper. On the paper side of the Contact paper sheet, trace the outside edge of the big circle using a pencil. Cut out the Contact paper piece. Remove the paper backing and press the sticky side onto the circle.
The best part about Contact paper is that it can be easily repositioned if necessary.
After the Contact paper is in place, trim any excess that is hanging over the side.
8. Press pieces of tissue paper on the sticky side of the Contact paper to create the ocean water. Mix the different shades of blue for a really pretty effect.
9. Add the shark cut outs to the top of the ocean. Attach using Glue Dots or double sided tape.
Once your shark porthole sun catcher craft is complete, attach to a well lit window (I used painter’s tape so it easily comes off again). Now you can enjoy swimming with the sharks without leaving your home.
When creating this project with kids, I recommend making the circles ahead of time. Tracing all of the different plates can be complicated for kids (and you probably don’t want them handling your best dinnerware).
You can trace the circles ahead of time and even cut them out if you see this as an issue. By completing these steps, the kids can focus on making a beautiful ocean water scene and making their sharks.
We had a really fun time creating this shark craft as a family. It reminded us also that we need to make another trip to the aquarium soon.
And if you’re planning a shark birthday party, check out our new shark themed invitations and other party designs. Such a fun way to celebrate a child’s love of sharks.