Art Projects for Kids: Recycled Bottle Koinobori

We are having lots of fun creating thanks to a set of coloured Sharpie pens. As well as the recycled bottle lanterns I shared over at Go Explore Nature last week, Immy and I recently tackled another recycled bottle project with our Sharpies – making our own version of a Japanese koinobori wind sock.



To make your own koinobori wind sock from a recycled bottle, you will need:

  • An empty, clean soft drink bottle with the label removed (we used a 2 litre bottle)
  • One black and several coloured permanent marker pens (we used Sharpies)
  • A utility knife and pair of scissors
  • A hole punch
  • Several lengths of ribbon

Art Projects for Kids_Recycled Bottle KoinoboriDecorate the length of your bottle by drawing fish-inspired, scale shapes with the black marker.

Art Projects for Kids_Recycled Bottle Koinobori WindsockColour the scales with the coloured markers. Bright, bold colours produce the best effect. The colouring in can take quite a while, in fact, Immy completed it over several days. If your child does not like to colour in, you could suggest decorating the scales with a series of patterened lines instead (which could actually look very striking if using just black marker or all one colour).

Art Projects for Kids_Recycled Koinobori WindsockCut the bottom off the bottle by making a small slit with the utility knife and then sliding the bottom blade of the scissors into the hole. Cut all the way around the bottle (depending upon the age of the child, this may be best performed by an adult). If you find the exposed, plastic edge is sharp (ours was not), fold a length of coloured washi or electrical tape along the edge.

Use the hole punch to make a series of holes along the bottom edge of the bottle.

Art Projects for Kids_Recycled Koinobori WindsockThread a length of thin, coloured ribbon into each hole…

Art Projects for Kids_Recycled Koinobori Kite…and tie off so that the ribbon does not pull through.

Art Projects for Kids_Recycled Bottle Koinobori KiteDraw the eyes of your fish at the top of the bottle with a marker.


Hang your koinobori inspired wind sock where it can catch the wind and enjoy.

Do you have a favourite kids project using Sharpie markers? Or another idea for creating something beautiful from a recycled bottle?

Looking for more inspiration for creating with kids, check out my new book, Time to Create: Hands On Explorations in Process Art for Young Children.

Time_to_Create_by Christie Burnett


  1. It actually looks like something you can put behind the car of some newlyweds and write “just married”
    There is a gorgeous sharpie picture that I saw done on this site of a woman who was chronicling her daughters artwork. She used wax paper I think

    1. Thanks for sharing, Faigie. I am truly besotted with coloured Sharpies LOL

  2. This project looks stunning.

    Cammy is obsessed with plastic bottles at the moment. She comes up with all sorts of designs. I can’t wait to show her this idea.

  3. LOVE this idea !! and I saw a rainbow pack of Sharpies on special at Big W today (will have to go back!). filing away for future teaching !!
    although I’ll have to find some bottles then make some with my kids!
    thanks 🙂

    1. Oooh, I will have to go and have a look at Big W, Lauren, we could do with some more 🙂 Thanks for the tip!

  4. This is gorgeous! What a fun and pretty craft. I have pinned this post.

  5. This is a lovely craft, but how do you hang it? Do you tie fish wire around the nozzle of the bottle?

  6. I’m the Editorial Assistant for Fun Family Crafts and I wanted to let you know that we have featured your project! You can see it here:

    If you have other kid-friendly crafts, we’d love it if you would submit them. If you would like to display a featured button on your site, you can grab one from the right side bar of your post above. Thanks for a neat project idea!

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