Introduction: April Fools Fish Cradle Necklace

Make your very own fish-in-a-cradle, just like in the Magic Baby story! In some cultures, wearing a fish in a cradle around your neck will protect you from being on the receiving end of practical jokes on April Fools Day. Whether it'll ward off pranksters is hard to say, but either way, it's a fun project and a cute necklace sure to be a hit with children of any age or gender.

Craft adapted from the book All Year Round by Ann Druitt, Christine Fynes-Clinton, and Marije Rowling.


  • Half a walnut shell
  • Small piece of silk or soft cotton fabric (2-3" square)
  • Two colors of embroidery floss or thin yarn
  • Cotton ball
  • Thread (any color)
  • Sewing needle
  • Scrap of aluminum foil, card stock, or thin cardboard (a bit of a cereal box would be ideal), or a small piece of grey felt
  • Silver crayon (optional)
  • Tacky glue
  • Scissors
  • Pencil

Step 1: Step 1: Make the Necklace Cord

Cut a piece about 4 feet long from each color of embroidery floss (two pieces total). Put the two strands together. Now you’ll make a twist! This is something the kids can do. Hold one end of the strands in your hand and have your child (or anyone, really) hold the other end of the strands. Stand far enough apart that the strings are stretched all the way out and taut. Then twist! One person can twist while the other just holds their end still, or both people can twist (just make sure you’re both going the same direction so that your twist doesn’t unravel). When the two strands are twisted nice and tight, bring the two ends to meet. The strands should wrap tightly together like a helix. Pull gently on the strands to smooth out any bumps, until you have a nice little twisted rope ( see photo). Determine how long you want your necklace to be and tie a knot, trimming off any excess (other photo).

Step 2: Step 2: Attach the "cradle"

Find the midpoint of your necklace (directly opposite the knot) and use your fingers to gently separate the cord (see photo on left). Make the opening large enough to slip the walnut shell into it and let go of the cord, allowing it to fit snugly around the shell just below the rim. Put a dab of tacky glue on either end of the walnut shell to hold the string in place. While the glue is drying, make your fish!

Step 3: Step 3: Make the Fish

I used a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil for my fish, but it’s a bit delicate. If making with/for young children, it might be sturdier to make the fish from a scrap of felt or card stock/thin cardboard. Draw a small simple fish shape onto your fish material of choice and color it with silver crayon (if using card stock/cardboard). Cut out the fish shape (an adult or supervised child should do the scissor work) and set aside.

Step 4: Step 4: Make a Cushion

Pull away fluff from the cotton ball until it fits inside the walnut shell. You want to fill the shell about 2/3 or the way with cotton. Once it's the right size, take out the cotton and place it on the small square or fabric. If the fabric seems too big, trim it down. You'll want about half an inch of fabric on all sides around the cotton ball (see second photo).

Thread your needle and tie the two ends together (so that your thread is tied in a loop with the needle opposite the knot). With a running stitch, sew in and out around the edge of the fabric (about 1/8th of an inch from the edge) until you have gone all the way around. Slip the cotton ball inside and pull gently on the thread to cinch the fabric around the cotton ball, making a little cushion or pouf. Tuck the pouf into the walnut cradle to make sure it fits; if it's too big, you can open it up enough to take out some of the cotton and cinch it back up again. If it seems too small, open it up and add more cotton. When it's just the right size, take the pouf out of the cradle, make sure it is cinched up tight, and make a knot to keep it from coming undone (an easy way to do this is to cut the threads and use the two ends to make a few knots).

Step 5: Step 5: Attach Cushion and Fish

Put several dots of tacky glue on the inside of the walnut shell and tuck the cushion inside (cinched side down), gently pressing it down into the glue.

Put a small dot of glue in the center of the cushion and gently press the fish into it. Allow glue to dry.

Step 6: All Done!

Once the glue has dried, your fish cradle necklace is complete! You can wear it around your neck or hang it from a doorknob or tree branch. Happy fooling!