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Jammin’ Jellyfish

Sponsored by
Jellyfish swimming


Recommended for ages 4 and up with adult supervision.


With temperatures heating up, it’s the perfect time to make a crafty splash with paper mache jellyfish! The project turns traditional paper mache lanterns on their heads, resulting in dome-like, material-rich mobiles to brighten any space. Swim by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s live Jelly Cam for some calming, meditative inspiration straight from nature!


Paper ephemera (tissue paper, newsprint, magazine paper, etc.)
Large bowl
Small bowl
Liquid glue
Decorative craft supplies (pipe cleaners, reflective tape, pom poms, beads, fabric, yarn, etc.)


Jellyfish Structure:

  • Blow up the balloon. One balloon is needed per jellyfish.
  • Mix equal parts water and liquid glue.
  • Rip or cut paper ephemera into small pieces.
  • Using the glue mixture, paste paper ephemera onto balloon. Keep the space around the balloon’s knot clear.
    TIP: Place the balloon into a large bowl to stabilize while gluing.
  • Paper pasting strategies:
    • Carefully dip paper scraps into glue mixture before placing on balloon.
    • Place paper scraps on balloons and paint over them with glue mixture.
    • Use a napkin layer as a foundation if working with fragile paper ephemera such as tissue paper.
  • Wait for the paper mache to dry completely.

Jellyfish Decorations:

  • Decorate the jellyfish! We glued on pompoms and cut pieces of reflective tape.
  • Loosen the balloon and deflate it by carefully cutting below the knot.
  • Trim around the circumference of the paper mache, creating a uniform edge.
  • Give the jellyfish long, dynamic tentacles by securing a variety of hanging materials with tape or glue:
    • Ribbon
    • Tulle
    • Yarn + string
    • Fabric strips
  • To hang your jellyfish, make a small hole in the top of the paper mache, insert a pipe cleaner or string, and secure it with a bead or knot on the inside of the top.

Creative prompts for more:

  • Turn your jellyfish into functional art. Attach messages that others can tear off, or transform your craft into a musical instrument by including bells and chimes.
  • Expand upon your craft by transforming the jellyfish into a piñata.
  • Affix or hang battery-powered fairy lights in the jelly bell or as bioluminescence-inspired tentacles!


The world is your oyster when it comes to paper mache! Continue your practice by exploring these 35 DIY project ideas.

These artists from across the world are incorporating paper into their practice in novel ways.

SF-based Val Britton, for instance, creates paper sculptures by threading together hundreds of individual pieces of paper


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