Under the Sea Art Projects: Children's Oven-Baked Clay Jellyfish hanging in front of bookcase

These jelly fish were some of our favorite under the sea art projects, and is perfect if you’re looking for gifts that kids can make. Favorite aunt or co-op teacher? We have a grandma who loves the ocean, so this is an excellent gift.

Not to mention, working with clay is excellent for exploring form and opens up rabbit trails for marine biology and creative expression. We homeschool moms love to merge play and education right?

This project is one of the easiest under the sea crafts you’ll do, with a short supply list, and it can be complete in about 30 -45 minutes, depending on how much you need to help with the gluing of the tentacles.

Materials Needed

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Before we get our hands dirty, here’s a quick look at what you’ll need:

  • Oven-Baked Clay (I love Sculpey Souffle, but any will work here.)
  • Something round to mold the jellyfish body (a jar lid or small bowl)
  • A glass baking dish
  • A skewer to create a hole for hanging
  • Various ribbons or cut-up newspapers for tentacles (texture and design are up to the kids!)

Under the Sea Art Project: Step-by-Step

Let’s dive in and craft our under the sea art project. Clay jellyfish here we come!

Step 1: Preparing the Oven Baked Clay

First things first, warm up your clay according to its instructions. For most brands, this involves simple kneading. It’s also a fantastic time to discuss primary colors, their combinations, and let the kid’s pick out their jellyfish bodies.

Step 2: Make the Jellyfish Body

Clay jellyfish children's under the sea art project step 1
  • Roll out your clay into a flat, even layer. Mine ended up being a little less than 1/8 inch thick.
  • Use your round object to cut a circle from the clay. This will be the jellyfish’s bell.
  • Place the clay circle over the round object and gently contour it to the shape.
  • Turn the ‘bell’ upside down and press your skewer through the center to create a hanging hole. Ensure it is large enough to accommodate your chosen string or ribbon.
Clay jellyfish children's project step 2

Step 3: Baking Your Clay Jellyfish

Place your jellyfish clay creations onto a glass baking sheet in a preheated oven. Follow the specific instructions for your clay type and color. Most oven-bake clays require a temperature of around 275°F (135°C) for about 30 minutes per 1/4 inch thickness.

My jellyfish were less than 1/8 of an inch so I took them out after 12 minutes and they were perfect. Keep a close eye on them as they bake.

Step 4: Finishing Touches on Your Under the Sea Art Project

After the jellyfish pieces have baked and cooled, they are ready for decorating. You can hand-paint them using acrylic paints if you want to add some details.

If you plan on adding sequins or glitter, just paint on some glue with an old paintbrush. I like the mini ones that come with the watercolor pans.

Step 5: Adding Tentacles

Clay Jellyfish children's Project Steps 3 and 4

Cut various lengths of ribbon or twisted-up newspaper strips to serve as tentacles. Dip the ends in glue and attach them to the inside of the jellyfish bell. I used glue dots, but hot glue would work here as well.

Regular glue will work too, but you’ll need to be a bit patient and hold the tentacles on.

Each one.

I’m not that patient.

Step 6: Hanging Up Your Under the Sea Art Project

Thread a piece of twine or thread through the hanging hole of your jellyfish, tie a knot, and hang it from a dowel rod or any other secure, visible location.

We hung this up with our other under the sea themed art projects for a whole themed corner.

Hopefully this project helps you demystify working with clay a bit.

For your next project, why not stay stick with the theme and look through the other under the sea creative actitivies.

Explore our Under the Sea Unit Study and then grab your watercolors to paint some seahorses with us.

Mister Seahorse Children's Book on top of children's watercolor seahorse art

Tips for Your Under the Sea Art Projects

  • Educational Fun: Introduce kids to the life cycle of jellyfish, discussing their biological features and behavior. We’re big fans of exploring jet propulsion here along with some of the underwater creatures.
  • Color Serendipity: Allow children to mix and match unexpected colors to explore color theory and encourage imaginative thinking.
  • Safety First: I know you know this, but the oven is a task for an adult assistant.

Explore More Under the Sea Art Projects

Did you have fun creating your clay jellyfish? I sure hope so! I’d love to see some pictures of your creations.

In the meantime, why not explore the entire Under the Sea Art Unit?

From mermaids to print-making corals, there’s a bit of everything in this month-long art unit. Launch your family membership for as little as $9.00 per month when paid annually!

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