How to Make Japanese Carp Streamers

Written by dawn marcotte
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How to Make Japanese Carp Streamers
Carp streamers are part of the Children's Day celebration in Japan (Japanese koi nobori image by saputraoka from

Japanese carp streamers are a traditional outdoor decoration displayed in Japan during Children's Day on May 5. Many families will hang the carp streamers for a month until June 5. The carp symbolises strength and success in Japan, where parents who wish their sons' success in the future fly the streamers. The streamers fly in sets of at least three: a black carp to represent the father, a red carp to represent the mother and a blue carp to represent each son.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • White card stock paper, 11 by 14 inches
  • Scissors
  • Coffee filters
  • Coloured markers
  • Butcher paper
  • White glue
  • Single-hole punch
  • Coloured ribbon

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  1. 1

    Lay than 11-by-14-inch sheet of card stock on a flat surface with the long edge facing you. Place a pencil on the left edge of the card stock in the centre of the paper, and trace an arc upward and across the page horizontally so it ends at the opposite edge of the paper. Rotate the paper so this arc faces you.

  2. 2

    Place the pencil on the left edge of the paper where the previously drawn line begins. Draw an arc upward and across the page horizontally so the opposite end of the arc is below the end of previously drawn arc and the lines cross at least 2 inches from the right side of the paper. The arcs should create the outline of a fish with a tail.

  3. 3

    Place the pencil 1/4 inch below the top edge of the tail near the edge of the paper. Draw a horizontal line across to the body of the fish. Repeat the process to draw a line from the bottom edge of the tail. Erase the pencil lines between these two horizontal lines. Cut out the carp along the pencil lines with scissors.

  4. 4

    Colour several coffee filters with crayons. Mix colours and draw patterns as desired on the filters. Lay the filters on the butcher paper, and spray it with water until the colours run. Set the butcher paper aside to dry overnight.

  5. 5

    Cut the coffee filters into triangles or pie shaped pieces about the size of a quarter; these pieces will serve as the scales on your carp. Glue these scales to the entire fish, except in the eye and lip areas, using white glue. Draw and colour the eyes and lips directly on the card stock paper.

  6. 6

    Punch a hole in the lips of the fish. Tie one end of the coloured streamer through this hole. Tie the other end to a pole or tree so the carp can fly in the wind.

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