#FlannelFriday Storytime Craft: Ugly Fish

Wait! This isn’t a flannel board! Some of the Twitter library ladies last night and I were discussing how to promote non-flannel related stuff among the Flannel Friday crowd. Current plan: just…post other stuff! Some folk have been doing so already, but I guess this makes it unofficially official. Later on there might be new categories promoted separately. We’ll see! Planning is tricky when the committee is Every Children’s Librarian On The Internet.


I meant to post this the week after my Ugly Fish flannel board, but I forgot to…uh…write the entire post. So here it is!

Ta da! I got the idea from this fish craft. I loved the idea of having clothespins be a mouth, but then spent the next few years having no clue on how to make this easy to do for a storytime. So I did something else entirely.

It’s pretty simple. Here’s what both parts look like.

The straw is cut so it fits  a little bit farther than the tail and still has a good hand hold.  Too short and it might not support the big fish. Too long and you can’t reach the pipe cleaner! Little fish goes on pipe cleaner, pipe cleaner goes through straw, pull on pipe cleaner to have big fish eat little fish.

Usually I try to make my storytimes insanely simple/fast to make. This usually means I won’t put in a lot of extra time on preproduction work the kids could be doing themselves. In a rare exception, I went through and taped the straws on the fishes myself.

Make sure the straw is back far enough for the little fish to be completely hidden.

The original idea was to put the straw through a couple punched holes (just like the little fish), but I couldn’t get it to work. I would recommend using card stock for the fish so they aren’t flopping around everywhere.

I also ran into a problem where the little fish kept getting caught on the big fish’s mouth. My solution was to make this little bend in the pipe cleaner so the little fish sits farther back from the big fish.

So here’s the craft then. Now obviously this one looks different than mine. I made the example shown freehand, and then just used a copy machine. This one I made in Illustrator when I had more time. But I haven’t tested it! If you do and find out it sucks, let me know and I’ll fix it.

Ugly Fish craft

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5 thoughts on “#FlannelFriday Storytime Craft: Ugly Fish

  1. AWESOME! This is such a fun craft idea! I’m glad you posted it ~ even if it isn’t a “flannel”. ;-)

    I am still waiting to get my hands on a copy of Ugly Fish. I feel so left out! When will I ever get to read it? :-( (Insert sad music here.)

    On the Flannel Friday group incorporating other ideas:
    When I first started with Flannel Friday a few months ago, I jokingly said that I should start a “Magnetic Monday” since I mostly use magnetic board pieces but one of the lovely ladies who started the FF group very kindly invited me to go ahead and post my magnetic board ideas. She mentioned that most could be interchangeable ideas. So… now I post some “Not a Flannel Friday” ideas labeled as such. I try to switch back and forth or make my pieces dual purpose by adding felt or velcro along with a magnetic strip. I actually like having the dual purpose sets now. And I like flannels better now, too! The group is so creative and inspiring!

    Today, however, my “Not a Flannel Friday” is neither a flannel nor magnetic set. It is what I call a Story Folder. I hope people don’t mind that it isn’t a flannel board set…

    • Yeah I’m used to doing flannel boards, but a coworker and I have recently started working with magnetic boards too. They’re great because you can just print out the pieces instead of having to make ’em yourself on flannel.

      Folder stories are also great! Yeah hopefully nobody gets miffed when they start to see a bunch of non-flannel stuff. I don’t THINK anyone would. After all, awesome storytime stuff is awesome storytime stuff, right?

  2. I don’t think anyone is going to be miffed if your stories don’t involve any actual felt… And if they do, well… REALLY??!? I’ve posted magnet boards before and no one has said anything. It’s not like you couldn’t stick felt on the back of laminated clip art and BOOM! Flannelboard city.

    Fun craft too!

    • Only thing I’m worried about is if, later on, we get a whole bunch of people submitting non-flannels. Then when people want to find a flannel board they gotta dig through everything else. Although how are these archived, if they are? Do people just search roundup posts or use Pinterest?

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