How to Make a Wooden Angler Fish Toy

Introduction: How to Make a Wooden Angler Fish Toy

About: Faith Bancod

For this instructable, I made a wooden angler fish for my woods class. I had to use a bandsaw and a drill press for the first time, and also a router and a belt sander. This instructable will list the steps of the process I used.

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Step 1: Gather Materials

Tools from the shop:

  • Bandsaw
  • Router table (& ¼" round over bit)
  • Drill press (& drill bits)
  • Drill
  • Vice
  • 1” belt sander
  • Sand paper with different grit sizes (I did 80-220)
  • Utility knife


  • 2" x 6" piece of wood
  • Wooden axles and wheels (from hobby store)
  • ⅛” Plywood, cardstock, cardboard, OR MDF
  • Wood glue
  • Paint
  • Safety goggles

Step 2: Find a Photo

For this step, find a photo of an angler fish on Google Images. It is important to find a photo with a good side profile, as you’ll use it as the template for your toy.

Step 3: Create a Paper Base for the Template

Print your photo out. Using a dark marker, draw around your image emphasizing the angler fish’s prominent features (the teeth, the circular torso), and simplifying the details to “cartoonify” it. Include features you would add on later with paint, etc. Remember to draw two dots on the bottom of your angler fish. These act as stencils for your axle holes later. Cut your outline out with scissors.

Step 4: Making the Template

Trace your paper base/template onto a thicker material. You can use ⅛” plywood, MDF, cardboard, or even card stock paper. Cut this out with a utility knife.

Step 5: Cutting Out Your Toy

With your template you made in your previous step, trace your angler fish shape onto your 2” x 6” with a pencil. Draw two dots at the bottom of your shape on each side (use your paper stencil as a guide). This marks where to drill for the axles later when you add wheels to the toy.

Use a bandsaw to cut your shape out. Tips: When using the bandsaw, go for those straight cuts. Don’t try to curve your cuts. Curving your cuts would make it more likely for the blade to detach from the saw and possibly break. It might take longer initially, but short straight cuts are safer and will prevent you from wasting time to fix the band saw.

Step 6: Drilling Axle Holes

For this step you’ll be using the drill press. Use the drill bit gauge to find a drill bit the same size as one of your wooden axles.

When drilling, use the dots you drew earlier as a guide. Make sure you put a scrap piece of wood below your toy so that your toy doesn’t get torn apart at the bottom. Also make sure to make a punch to help guide the drill press and ensure accurate drilling.

Step 7: Routing and Sanding Your Toy

Router the edges of your toy with a router table to make it smoother. Use 1/4" round over bit. It’s important to run a scrap piece of wood through the machine so you’ll know to adjust the height if you need to.

Use the belt sander to smooth out rigid edges not quite precisely cut by the band saw. Router again if necessary.

Step 8: Drill the Light Hole

Now that your toy’s edges are smoother, it is time to drill a hole on its edge just above the fish’s eye to prep for the angler fish’s light (you’ll use an extra axle to achieve this).

Instead of using a drill press, use a regular drill with the same bit from before and secure your toy with a vice. Like before make a punch in your toy before drilling. Make sure to check the depth of the hole before drilling more. The axle should stick out, not be completely submerged in the toy.

Step 9: Sanding Your Toy

Use sand paper of different grits to smooth out the entire toy. I sanded mine by hand, starting from 80 grit to 100, 150, and eventually 220. Make sure you sand all parts of the toy and that the surfaces are even. This is also a good time to smooth out the edges the router couldn’t do.

Step 10: Painting Your Toy

Paint your toy however you wish. I only used a paint pen for the toy’s eyes and fin, and white paint for the pattern.

Step 11: Gluing Axles and Wheels

When gluing your axles, it is important to dry fit your axles in the holes first to see if the depth is correct. If not, the time to drill is now. When attaching your four wheels it is important to slip the wheels on to the axles and put the wood glue inside of the holes not onto the axle so that your axles and therefore your wheels will move.

For the angler fish’s light (see step 8), just use a bit of wood glue.

Step 12: Completed

Nice job! You may have gone through highs and lows but in the end, you made a half-decent toy. Now it’s yours to do whatever you want with it.

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