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Cereal Box Aquarium

There’s something fun about turning a piece of cardboard headed for the recycling bin into something else! Do you remember doing shoe box crafts as a kid? I remember making a shoe box manger and it was one of my favorite activities in school. This is a similar idea (you could do a shoe box aquarium too!) but this is using a cereal box! This cereal box aquarium is so much fun to make and such a fun craft to keep afterwards too.

RELATED: Tissue Box Monsters

Cereal Box Aquarium Craft for Kids

This cereal box aquarium craft is a great one for encouraging creativity! Kids can choose how they want to decorate their aquarium, what colored fish and what colors even! There are so many options and ways to build an aquarium. We would love to see how you make yours!

Cereal Box Aquarium Fish Tank Craft


Our bookFun and Easy Crafting with Recycled Materials is bursting with cardboard crafts like this one. There is a whole chapter of cardboard crafts. But not only that, there are other recycled crafts for kids too – egg cartons, paper rolls, newspaper, popsicle sticks, jars and more!

Fun and Easy Crafting Book

Supplies to Make This Cereal Box Aquarium Craft

Cereal Box Aquarium Craft for Kids

Watch the Video Tutorial


Directions to Make a Cereal Box Aquarium 

1. First you need to trace a cut-out on your box.  We used a sharpie to make our lines and then used an x-acto knife (adults only) to cut out the center of the box.

Cut out Cardboard Cereal Box

2. Now paint the inside of your box a turquoise blue color.

Paint inside the box blue

3. Paint the outside of your box silver (to make it look like an aquarium).

Paint the outside silver

4. Now you can decorate your aquarium however you’d like!

Here are the elements we added:

Kinetic sand as a background on the bottom. We didn’t try regular sand but regular sand would likely work too.  The kinetic sand sticks together and holds in place so it’s easy to work with. You could also use cereal like cheerios or a puff style cereal to make it look like sand.

Green Pipe Cleaners – cut some strips of green pipe cleaners and glue to the bottom of your box to make it look like seaweed.

Add Sand and Pipe Cleaners to Aquarium

Sea Shells – we used the sea shells to hide the bottom of the pipe cleaners. Add some sea shells wherever you think they will fit! These will need to be hot glued down.

Add Seashells to the Aquarium

Stones for the bottom of the aquarium. Stones will add some weight for the aquarium to stand up on its own.  Stones can be placed at the bottom or hot glued down.

Add Stones to bottom


Now it’s time to add your fish!

4. Print off this fish template to make these adorable fish for your cereal box aquarium.

5. Now cut out your fish template and use it to trace your fish shapes onto your colored paper. We used orange, yellow and red cardstock.

6. Glue on googly eyes to your fish.

7. Take a small piece of string and tape it to the back of your fish.

Make Paper Fish for Aquarium

8. Now attach the strings to the top of your cereal box.

Now you have a finished cereal box aquarium. We hope you had as much fun making these as we did!

Tape Fish to Top of Aquarium

Looking for more fun crafts? Check out some of our favorites and most popular crafts below!

Looking for another fun fish craft? Make this adorable Fish Handprint Card. This would be perfect for Father’s Day or the fishing lover Dad’s birthday!

Fish Handprint Card

These butterfly handprint cards are also an adorable craft to make for any occasion!

Butterfly Handprint Cards Kids Can Make

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7 comments on “Cereal Box Aquarium”

  1. Love this! I’d forgotten about these. We are definitely going to make one. I might try using “invisible” thread to attach the fish.

  2. Arelisse Rodriguez

    I love your idea I did with my preschool students and we enjoy the time. super nice

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