Coral reef art projects

Updated November 21, 2016

Teachers can use art projects to educate children about coral reefs and the creatures that inhabit them. These art activities can also be enjoyed by people of all ages. Coral reefs can also be an inspiring subject for many art projects due to the vibrant colourations and unusual shapes that make up the reef and the wide variety of sea life. Showing children photographs of coral reefs before beginning an art project can help them to come up with ideas to use in their work.

Painting and Collage

Children can paint coral reef scenes using a variety of paints including watercolour, acrylic and oil. You can also provide photographs of sea creatures that can often be found in coral reefs, such as turtles, fish, sea urchins, crabs, lobsters and manatees for the children to copy. Create a large coral reef art project with a class of children by asking each child to paint a sea creature of their choice. These can then be cut out and arranged on a large board covered in blue to form a collage.

3D Coral Reef Scene

A 3D coral reef scene can be created by first covering a shoebox with blue paper or painting it with blue acrylic paint. Draw a number of pieces of coral and sea creatures on a sheet of card stock and colour them in with felt-tips, pencil crayons or paints. Cut out each drawing, leaving a small flap along the side of each, which can be folded and glued into place around the shoebox. Card fish can also hang from the top of the scene by attaching them with short pieces of blue wool or cotton.

Paper Bowl Jellyfish

Create jellyfish models, which can then be hung up around the classroom. To make the model make a small puncture hole in the centre of a small paper bowl. Turn the bowl upside-down and decorate as desired with colourful paints. Glue several strips of coloured crate paper to the rim of the bowl and thread a length of string through the hole to hang the jellyfish.


Make a coral reef scene using materials such as cotton or felt to create a wall-hanging or cushion cover. Make simple card templates of reef creatures such as fish and turtles for young children to draw on felt. These can then be cut out and glued onto the desired background. Older children can sew the cut out shapes onto the background using a simple running stitch.

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