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Arts & Crafts DIY Everyday

DIY Whale Tail Decor

Chances are that you have seen these decor pieces floating around online or in your local store like Home Goods or T.J. Maxx. They are quite popular as is a lot of nautical themed decor. My whole house has a beachy aspect to it in one way or another, so it’s no surprise that this is my next project. I love the idea and it seems so simple to make.

We are going to channel our elementary skills and use paper mache to do the trick. We are also going to use chicken wire as our base for the design, so you will have to channel your inner Martha to work it out.

All you will need is:

  • chicken wire
  • wire cutters
  • newspaper
  • Elmer’s glue
  • navy acrylic paint
  • newspaper (torn into one inch shreds)

Small rolls of chicken wire can be found at Home Depot. 


To start. Determine how large you want to make your tail. Cut out a piece of the chicken wire the height you want and widen enough to wrap to create the diameter of the prop.

Then cut out another piece for the tail fins. You don’t want to make this part so wide that it makes the whole thing top heavy. I would keep each side no wider than the height of your prop.


Wrap your prop piece around and fasten the ends together with the cut ends by twisting them around each other to secure them. Make the top part a little skinnier than the bottom as that part of a whale’s tail narrows by squeezing the wire. Leave the top part unsecured so that you can attach the tail flap to it. 



Attach your fin to the tail prop by wrapping the open, cut ends on top of the prop that you left open. (apparently I forgot to take a pic of this part)

Now you are ready to start applying the paper mache. To make the glue mix, blend together 1/2 C. of flour, 3/4 C. of water and 2 Tbsps. of white glue. 


Tear strips of newspaper approximately one inch wide by the length you need to wrap all the way around your wire. You want to be able to overlap them so that they have something to adhere to when you first get started. I worked my way from the center out, alternating sides so that it didn’t get too heavy on one side and fall over.


Allow it to thoroughly dry then paint and you are done!




Wendy is a facebook administrator and editor for Modern Day Moms. She is a multi-purpose mom (aren’t we all, really?) who loves home decor, couponing, sewing, photography, Pinterest, frugal living… ok, pretty much all the same things that most women love! She enjoys spending time with her family and friends while living on the gulf coast. Her two Boston Terriers - Oscar and Lily - occasionally make appearances on MDM.



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