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Grocery Bag Koinobori

Children's Day occurs May 5th in Japan. It is a time to celebrate the many wonderful personalities of children and to wish them well in the future. It is a part of a larger celebration in Japan known as Golden Week. We will be celebrating Children's Day with our kiddos at Root & Wild by making our own recycled materials Koinobori! We love the results and are happy to find a use for those pesky plastic bags! While we try to avoid accumulating plastic grocery bags, it has become clearly unavoidable on occasion. This is in part because we receive things in wrapped in plastic grocery bags, the attendant is out of paper bags or some culmination of random events leading to a plastic bag haul. There are many things you can do with a plastic bag however and we think making a Koinobori is as good as any! Check out the materials list and DIY below!

These babies really catch the wind nicely! Their tissue paper streamers curl and spin with even the lightest breeze. It's truly a delight to watch! Ready to make your own beautiful Koinobori? Let's get started!


Plastic grocery bag

Tissue Paper

Bubble Wrap

Acrylic paint/brushes

Construction paper




Pipe Cleaners

Egg cartons

Black Marker

White glue




1. Neatly fold your plastic bag in half, longways. Cut off the bottom where the bag is connected and the top handles.

2. Open the middle section. Cut off the printed portion with the text and logo on it. Some bags have text on both the front and back of the bags. Those can be used but the print will show. It is best to use a bag with one side left white and unprinted.

3. Lay the bag flat and fold over one side about a half inch. Tape it down. (This will be where you slide the piper cleaner through.)

4. Grab your bubble wrap. Lay it flat and apply paint evenly to it. Press the plastic grocery bag on bubble wrap with the tape side up. Pull off slowly. Set aside to dry.

5. For the eyes, you will need four pieces of construction paper in different colors. Draw concentric ovals, starting with one large size and getting smaller. Cut two of each size.

6. Cut out the bottom of two egg carton pieces. Color the bottom of each black.

7. Use white glue to assemble the eyes, starting with the largest oval, working your way to the smallest oval. Glue the egg carton on for the pupil.

8. Fold a sheet of tissue paper in half multiple times. Cut long strips, leaving the top of the tissue paper intact. You are making streamers.

9. Once your plastic bag has fully dried, tape on the tissue paper to the plastic bag. Be sure to tape on the tissue paper to the side WITHOUT the folded over section from the beginning of the tutorial.

Our yellow paint was WAY too thin for bubble wrap printing! Don't make our mistake!

10. Slide your pipe cleaner through the folded over part of your bag, opposite the streamers. Holding both ends of the pipe cleaner in your hand, tie the ends together. You should have a circle form from the pipe cleaner. This is the carp's mouth!

11. Use the same pipe cleaner to wrap attach the carp to a stick. Simply place the stick inside the pipe cleaner and twist it around.

12. Staple the eyes on and tape the body and streamers together.

YOU DID IT! Now fly your beautiful carp! Be proud of your awesome creation.


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