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.
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:
- 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
- Wooden BBQ sticks
Make the base
First arrange the boxes in a reef like fashion.
Crumble the brown craft paper and drape it on the boxes.
I know. Looks suspiciously like a couple boxes covered with brown paper. We will make magic with that.
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.
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.
Fold accordion style in about 1″ folds.
Wrap wire around the middle.
Cut the ends very pointy.
Carefully separate the sheets of tissue paper on both sides.
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.
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.
Make coral with spray foam
“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:
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.
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).
They look great in the back!
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.
If things keep on falling you can use some of this fantastic product.
The burst of color on the coral reef will amaze your guests.