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Friday, 9 November 2012

Storybook Craft Project - The Rainbow Fish Cushion

Happy Friday! It is nearly the weekend already! Cannot believe that another week has flashed by like that! I actually managed to fit in some creativity this week - I needed something to keep me sane after getting to the library by 7.30am most days! As a consequence of all the university work I have had going on, the pictures on this tutorial are pretty mediocre. I am sorry! It is winter and so my crafting is now done in the dark as the evenings are the only time I can spare!

Have you seen the Rainbow Fish book by Marcus Pfister ? It is a beautiful book with gorgeous illustrations and a featuring our Rainbow Fish with some very shiny scales. After spotting some fun shiny fabric at the Quilt Show in October, I knew I had to make my very own Rainbow fish.

This cushion is fairly easy if slightly labour-intensive! There are four main processes...

1. Cut out scales
2. Sew scales together
3. Piece and sew fish
4. Assemble

I have included all the templates you should need as a download at the end!

You will need...
Dark blue fabric
Light blue fabric
Pink fabric
Shiny Fabric
Tie-dyed pink/blue fabric
Tie-dyed blue fabric for the sea
Blue fabric for back
White and Black Buttons
15" cushion inner

note on fabrics - none of my scales were made out of a plain block colour, all of the fabrics I used had some sort of texture to them - simply a dappled effect really adds some texture to the finished fish

1. Cut out your scales. My cushion took 26 scales so make yourself a cardboard template to speed things up. Use the seam allowance template for all double sided scales, use the smaller template for the sparkly fabric.
4 pink (so 8 cut out)
7 dark blue (so 14 cut out)
6 light blue (so 12 cut out)
8 sparkly (so eight cut out)
For the non-sparkly scales,  cut two scale pieces, pin them right sides together and sew the entire curved edge. Turn right-side out and press. This is one scale.
Repeat until you have all of your scales. I made a few extras as spares.

2. Next cut out your body, fins, tail and head pieces (use light blue for the body, and the pink/blue tie-dye for the other parts of the fish). For the main body I traced the shape onto freezer paper, ironed onto the wrong side of the fabric and cut out leaving a 1cm seam allowance. I then ironed this back over the freezer paper so I had a nice neat hem.

For the fins/head/tail I cut two of each shape - using the freezer paper + 1 cm. I also cut another shape from wadding.
Layer your fin pieces, wadding then the two fabric pieces right side together on top.
Sew all around, leaving the end open. Turn right side out. Repeat with head, fin, legs and tail.

3. Start laying out your scales to cover you body piece. Start with one scale on the left and build up from there. Don't worry if they go over the side, this will be sorted soon!
Take a picture of your desired layout. 

4. Remove your scales, leaving just your first one. Pin in place and sew all the way round. Next pin on your second row. Sew around each individual scale. Repeat until you have built up all the rows of scales on your fish. If you have any scales that go over the edge, fold them over so the edge lines up all round the fish. Pin in place.

5. Cut a square out of your blue tie-dye 15 1/4 x 15 1/4. Pin your fish body into the centre. Tuck the end of your tail under the body, pin in place. Repeat with fin, legs and head. pin in desired place with unsewn end tucked under the fish body

6. Sew round the fish body. Next, sew round each individual feature until the fish is completely sewn onto the backing fabric

7. Sew a white button on top of a black button to the head for eyes.

8. Cut two rectangles 15 1/4 x 9 1/2 " from blue back fabric. Fold over one long edge, press and sew to create a neat hem.

9. Sew cushion together to create an envelope back.

And that is all!

Hope you'll join me next week for the Storybook Crafts Project!

Have a great day!

Featured on One Creative Weekend


  1. I love the Rainbow Fish book! This is such a cute pillow! Thanks for sharing at the Keep Calm and Link Up party! Hope to see you back next week!

  2. Super cute pillow!!! I'd love for you to share this at my link party Submarine Sunday. It's open until Friday @ 11:59pm. I hope you'll stop by!


  3. I would love for you to share this (or any of your other great ideas) at the link party going on through tomorrow night at ‘Or so she says …’ Hope to see you there! www.oneshetwoshe.com

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I will pop over and have a look!

  4. I'll be featuring this fantastic idea later today at OneCreativeMommy.com. Please stop by and grab a featured button if you’d like. I can’t wait to see what you link up this week!

  5. Hi Rebecca, I’m Anne from Life on the Funny Farm (http://annesfunnyfarm.blogspot.com), and I’m visiting from the More the Merrier Monday.

    This is so lovely! Beyond my skill level, I'm afraid, but just lovely!

    Anyway, thanks for posting this. If you’ve never visited yet, I hope you can pop by my blog sometime to say hi…


Thank you so much for visiting Heron's Crafts! I love receiving your comments - and try to answer to all comments received by email! Have a great day!

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