Introduction: Recycled Fish Wall Art

Do you want a new piece of art on your wall? Do you want to cut down your amount of waste? Well if you do then this project is perfect for you. These fish are completely made out of recycled materials like cans, bottle caps, aluminum pans, and scrap wood. Each of these items are items that you probably have laying around your house.

I hope you enjoy this tutorial!

Step 1: Tools and Materials


  • Fish Pattern- A fish pattern can be found by using your favorite search engine and searching for things along the lines of "Fish coloring pages" or "Realistic fish drawings" until you find a picture that suits your style. Note: More realistic fish look better than cartoon-like fish.
  • Wood- To keep with the whole recycled theme of this project, I used some old scrap wood I had from another project. It was about 1" thick and was the right thickness for this project. This material isn't very crucial, so pretty much any wood will do.
  • Aluminum disposable pans- The aluminum pans are used to create contrast and make things like the head, tail, or fins stand out.
  • Aluminum soda cans-Soda cans are used to create the scales on the fish. With so many different brands and colors, you can create a variety of fish. The same fish shape with different colored scales looks like a completely different fish.
  • Bottle cap- A bottle cap is used for the eye of the fish. *Note- All of these materials vary depending upon how big or small your fish is. Tools-
  • Printer- The printer is used to print out your pattern and enlarge it to what size you want it.
  • Saw- Any tool that you have at your disposal that can cut the bends and turns in the shape of the fish will work perfectly fine. The saw will be used to cut out the shape of the fish in the wood. For this Instructable, I will be using a scroll saw.
  • Scissors- Scissors are used to cut out the pattern, cut the aluminum pans, and to cut the soda cans into flat sheets. I used regular scissors for the pattern and the aluminum pans and kid's scissors for the soda cans. The kid's scissors are easier to cut the cans with because they have shorter blades, but regular scissors also work.
  • Utility Knife or Box cutter- This is used to create a starting point for the scissors to cut the cans into flat sheets.
  • Paper scrapbooking punch-A scrapbooking punch is used to cut the shape of the scales for the fish. These punches can be found at craft stores. The cutters are the easiest and most consistent way to create scales. The punch cuts easily and does not wear down because the aluminum is so thin.
  • Hot glue gun- The hot glue gun is used to glue the aluminum pan fins, the soda can scales, and bottle cap to the wooden body. Extra glue sticks are also a good idea as you will use quite a few. CAUTION: When gluing pieces of metal, it is recommended to wear gloves as the metal can get very hot and possibly burn you.

Step 2: Cutting Out the Fish

  1. Use any search engine to find a silhouette of a fish.(If this is your first fish I recommend starting off with a simple fish)
  2. Print out the pattern so that it is the size of the fish that you want.
  3. Using a saw cut out the wood by carefully following the pattern.

Step 3: Cutting Out the Aluminum Pan

  1. Using scissors cut out the sides and bottom of the aluminum pan.
  2. Place each piece on the tale, fins, and head of the fish.
  3. Cut out the aluminum around the tale, fins , and head.

Step 4: Cutting Out the Fish Scales

  1. Make a mark on the top and bottom of each can with the box cutter, then cut off the entire top and bottom using the scissors.
  2. Lay out the can so that it is flat then using the oval hole punch cut out the can.

Step 5: Putting the Fish Together

    1. Using the hot glue gun, glue down the pieces of aluminum pan that you used for the head, tale, and fins.
    2. Place the pieces of the aluminum cans down so that they look like scales then glue them down.
    3. Cut off the pieces that are hanging off the wood.
    4. Glue down the bottle cap so that the logo on the cap is facing up or down.

    I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!

    Metal Contest

    Participated in the
    Metal Contest

    Before and After Contest

    Participated in the
    Before and After Contest