How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef Decoration for an Under the Sea Party

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef Decoration for an Under the Sea Party

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations

Decorating for Vacation Bible School is always a daunting task and this years theme, Ocean Commotion had us all scrambling for ideas and exercising our Pinterest muscles. I ended up combining several techniques on 2 coral reefs and they became the spotlight of our craft room. This coral reef would be a colorful and beautiful addition to any under the sea or mermaid party decorations.

See more amazing under the sea decorations here.

Keep on reading for all the tutorials to make you a coral reef pro. You can use all or just some of the techniques outlined below.

Here’s what I used:

  • Boxes
  • Brown craft paper
  • Pool Noodles
  • Floral Mesh in several colors (Available at any craft store or fake floral department of big retailers)
  • Tissue Paper in several colors
  • Packaging Peanuts
  • Spray Foam (“Great Stuff” from the hardware store)
  • Spray paint
  • Fishing line
  • Wire
  • Wooden BBQ sticks
  • Toothpicks

Make the base

First arrange the boxes in a reef like fashion.

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations

Crumble the brown craft paper and drape it on the boxes.

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations

I know. Looks suspiciously like a couple boxes covered with brown paper. We will make magic with that.

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations


Make tube coral

Cut the floral mesh into 1 foot strips, roll them, fold them in half, and attach 3 to 4 pieces together with some fishing line. Then attach a wire hook.

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations


Make paper sea anemones

You’re basically making a tissue paper flower with very pointy petals. Here’s how I did it:

Stack 4 square paper tissue sheets of the same color.

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations Paper Sea Anemone

Fold accordion style in about 1″ folds.

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations Paper Sea Anemone

Wrap wire around the middle.

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations Paper Sea Anemone

Cut the ends very pointy.

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations Paper Sea Anemone

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations Paper Sea Anemone

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations Paper Sea Anemone

Carefully separate the sheets of tissue paper on both sides.

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations Paper Sea Anemone

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations Paper Sea Anemone

Wrap the wire around the bottom to bunch the sea anemone to one side. You’ll use the wire to stick the anemone into the cardboard box.

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations Paper Sea Anemone

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations


Make pool noodle coral

Cut a pool noodle in half and another in 2 uneven pieces. Cut in a big swirl pattern around the noodle, starting at the top and stopping about 6 inches to 1 foot from the bottom. Cut inside the swirl at least one or two more times.

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations


Make coral with spray foam

I found this good tutorial on Pinterest so I’m re-posting here:

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/a0/58/37/a05837212f9b13cdc0557c23aef798d5.jpg

“Things you’ll need: Large cardboard/wood surface – lined with wax paper Wood dowels Can of spray foam Spray paint

What you do: Place wood dowel on wax paper and secure with tape. Spray the foam over the dowel in an organic free flowing motions to create something that resembles coral. Note: Foam will expand so don’t spray too much in one area. Let dry overnight. Carefully peel off wax paper. Then spray paint.”

This is one of mine:

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations

I made a bigger one on this reef. You can see in the back. I also used a honeycomb lantern as brain coral on this one. I used Great Stuff for big gaps.

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations


Make more coral out of packaging peanuts

Just string white packaging peanuts on a wooden BBQ stick. Use toothpicks to make the arms. You can stick or glue a couple together and spray paint it if you wish. I left most of them white (like dead coral).

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations

They look great in the back!

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations


Put it all together

Now you’re ready to use the wire ends to stick all these wonderful items in your cardboard boxes in an organic coral reef fashion. Stab BBQ sticks where you want the pool noodles to stand.

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations

If things keep on falling you can use some of this fantastic product.

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations

The burst of color on the coral reef will amaze your guests.

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations

How to Make a Stunning Coral Reef for you Under the Sea Party, Mermaid Party, or VBS. By Press Print Party #OceanCommotion #Underthesea #mermaid Decorations

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11 Comments

  • Teresa
    October 17, 2017 1:17 pm

    I actually I am being paid for making a coral reef decoration, I am sorry but I am copying this. It is so wonderful. By the way, what kind of fabric you used with the paper lantern to make the jellyfish? Thank you and congratulations, it is beautiful.

  • Diane
    May 31, 2017 11:52 am

    So do you cut around the outside with the swirl. I know I am asking too many questions but rather confused. So you use one cut and then cut two more from it, got that now. I just don’t understand how to get started. So when cutting do you turn the noodle to get the swirl?

  • Diane
    May 31, 2017 11:48 am

    Do I understand you cut the noodle three times? I mean the cuts at a swirl. The noodle in 1/2 I got that.

    • Press Print Party
      June 10, 2017 9:48 am

      Hi Diane,
      Yes you do 3 swirl cut on the noodles. Hope that helps…

  • Kelly McFarland
    April 26, 2017 2:24 pm

    Thank you so much! This is an incredible for resource.

  • Sam
    April 1, 2017 9:18 am

    This is so awesome!

    What gauge wire do you suggest to use?

  • Ashleigh Elmer
    December 10, 2016 9:48 am

    I love, love, love your coral reef display! I was wondering do you make any of these items and sell them. I would love to use this in my classroom next year as I am doing an ocean theme, Thanks Ashleigh

    • pressprintparty
      December 11, 2016 9:04 am

      Thank you for the kind compliment Ashleigh. Unfortunately this reef is only DIY. It really is doable. I would love to see pics when you do it!

  • Sarah
    November 16, 2016 9:50 am

    You did such an amazing job. Endless creativity! Thanks for sharing.

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