Fragrant Fishies

One of the fondest memories I have of my years as a girl scout (besides the chocolate mint cookies which were baked by Burry’s in those days) were the crafts that we learned to make. I don’t really know if crafting is part of being a girl scout or if we were just really lucky kids with very creative and artistic troop leaders/moms.  To this day, I still occasionally make some of those crafts that I learned to make  way back then and I still give some of them away as gifts. These fragrant soap fishies are one of those crafts.  My brownie troop (we’re talking third grade here!) made these one night way back in the 60’s and we proudly presented them to our mothers to display  in the bathroom on top of the toilet tank lid. I don’t really know what made me remember these soap fish recently. Maybe it was my friend Melanie who came over for coffee and an embroidery lesson a few weeks ago, and she brought some beautiful 2-inch straight pins with oval pearl tipped heads, just like the ones we’d use to make the fish.  Melanie was sweet enough to give me two boxes of those beautiful pearlized pins as a gift, probably because she heard me gasp longingly when I saw hers.  As I admired the multi-color straight pins I remembered that I had plenty of crystal beads in my bead stash as well as bead caps and pearl beads in different colors and sizes. I also had quite a few scraps of different colored tulle in an old box of fabrics. Fragrant fishies were beggining to take shape in my mind! All I had to buy was a perfumed oval soap bar and I was set to go!  Here’s how I made mine, and these are the necessary materials.  Aside from the tulle and the 2 inch oval headed straight pins, you’ll need a large bar of oval or egg shaped soap in any color, brightly colored beads, a few sequins to glue on the tail, a length of ribbon, two of those  little plastic craft eyes and a rubber band. Easy.

You will need an oval or egg shaped fragrant bar of soap, tulle, a length of ribbon, pearlized 2 inch straight pins, beads, a few sequins, two plastic craft eyes and a rubber band

First I cut two squares of tulle, each one approximately 20 inch X 20 inch, placing one square on top of the other. I made one square out of peach colored tulle and the other square was yellow. I also made a second  fish using two tones of blue. But both squares of tulle can be the same color if you prefer. After laying the two squares of tulle one on top of the other, I folded the squares into a triangle and I placed the oval shaped soap inside.

Fold the square of tulle into a triangle and place the soap inside

Then I gathered up the tulle around the soap, arranging the folds of the tulle evenly so that they weren’t bunched up in one place and then I fastened it tightly at one end of the soap with a rubber band.

Gather the tulle at one end of the soap making sure that the creases are even and not bunched up in any one spot. Then secure the tulle tightly with a rubber band

At this point you can trim the tail if you want. I trimmed the tail into points by cutting in a zig-zag shape with the scissors.

Trim the tail to the length and shape that you want it. Zig zag works well

Now it was time to attach the legs/tendrils so that the fish could stand up.  I loaded one of the 2 inch pearl head straight pins randomly with beads, leaving half an inch free of beads at the tip of the pin. This half  inch segment of pin is what will be inserted into the soap bar. I used four straight pins for the legs, loading them with beads and then inserting them  into the bar of soap. Two in the front and two in the back. Make sure that they are all the same length, otherwise the fish will be lopsided and it won’t stand up straight. Ok, ok… I know fish don’t have legs and my daughter snarkily reminded me of that in case I’d never noticed. But these are magical fish. And they can have as many legs as you want. Or, they can be angel fish with those long delicate tendrils that hang down from the underside of their bodies.  They’re just so pretty and they smell so good that  I don’t mind if they have legs. Or tendrils for that matter.

He’s got legggggs….and he knows how to use them!  Yes, ok.  I’ll go turn off the ZZ Top CD

Another view of the legs

After the four legs/tendrils were inserted securely into the underside of the soap bar, it was time to make the dorsal fin. I used three pins for this. After loading it with beads I inserted the center pin vertically, straight down into the  center top of the soap. Then I inserted a second pin next to the first one, at a slight angle. The third pin was inserted on the other side, also at a slight angle.

The dorsal fin is made of three beaded pins inserted on top

Next are the pectoral fins. These will go on either side of the fish. I made a long one, and then a slightly shorter one for each side. Both were inserted into the side of the bar of soap very close together, one in front of the other.  To make the shorter pectoral fin, just use less beads on the pin and push it in deeper into the soap.

Use more or less beads on the pin to make longer or shorter fins

Two beaded pins on each side form the pectoral fins. At this point you can also add the nose/mouth of the fish. This is just a shorter straight pin with a bead and a sequin on it, pushed straight into the front end of the soap bar. You can also use a round pearl tip short pin for the nose, instead of a bead.

Then I glued on the plastic craft eyes. These can be any size you want. Just make sure that the black “pupils” of the eyes are pointing in the same direction, otherwise you will have a cross-eyed fish. Next, I wrapped a thin satin ribbon over the rubber band on the tail and tied it in a bow, effectively hiding the rubber band. The next step is to puff up the tail. This is achieved by separating each layer of tulle from each other so that they aren’t all stuck together. Sometimes, depending on the stiffness of the tulle, it helps to insert a couple of pins underneath the rubber band to give the tail a “lift”.

You can insert a couple of pins underneath the tail to secure the tulle in an uplifted position. If the tulle is stiff, this isn’t necessary. If the tulle is the softer smaller hole type, then you can give the tail a “lift” this way

Finally, I glued different colored sequins all over the tail for an added bit of sparkle.

Glue different color and sized sequins all over the tail, making sure to glue them on all the layers of tulle

That’s all there’s to it! Now set him on top of the tank and he will quickly begin to perfume your bathroom with the scent of fragrant soap.

Blue Tulle Fishy

Your bathroom will be fragrant as well as sparkly

Linking to Show And Tell Friday at My Romantic Home


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