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Paper Bag Koinobori

Boys' Day or Children's Day is a Japanese tradition celebrated by many families in Hawaii and is coming up on May 5th! Just a few materials around the house were used to create this cool Koinobori (carp streamer) inspired by That Artist Woman and it took about an hour to complete. Make one for each boy (or person) in your family, tie them to a bamboo stick and display each of your unique and colorful personalities! This significant Koi fish that swims upstream and overcomes many obstacles is also a representation of what we are all going through at this time and a great reminder to keep swimming!

Materials needed:

large paper bag


paint & paint brush


2 craft pipe cleaners


hole punch





1. Start from the opening of the bag and cut down one of the creased sides. Cut off the bottom of the bag by following the creases. You should now have a rectangle sheet of paper.

2. Fold paper in half lengthwise (hot dog style) and start drawing the outline of your fish. The top of the fish will be the folded part. Here is a link if you need help drawing a fish or scales.

3. Using your scissors, cut on the line making sure to NOT cut the fold on the top part of the fish. Unfold fish, lay flat and start drawing in eyes and scales with a crayon.

4. Color in all the scales and draw lines on the fin and tail and color. Gently crumble paper to create some depth and texture.

5. Gently open up your fish and flatten out. Mix a very small amount of paint with water and brush over paper to add more texture and color effect. If paint color covers your crayon, add more water to the paint. Let your paper dry.

6. Twist two pipe cleaners together, flip over your fish and glue to the inside edge of the mouth, folding the paper over the pipe cleaner. Secure with clothespins and let dry. I went back and applied more glue in places that were needed.

7. Draw a line of glue along the edges, fold the fish over and match up edges, securing with clothespins and let dry.

8. Punch a hole on both sides of the middle part of the mouth. Cut two pieces of string approx. 10 inches long and double knot it to each hole. Take the two ends and tie to the top part of a stick. I secured the knot on the stick with some glue.

9. Hang your new handmade Koinobori for everyone to see and watch it blow in the wind!

We hope you have as much fun as we did making this upcycled paper bag carp streamer! Hopefully this craft will add much creativity and quality family time to your day! Please share and tag @friendsandfaire on Instagram! We would love to see your one of a kind creations!

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