Fishy Business

I am already a wild fan of fish prints. A few years ago we vacationed on Cape Cod and happened upon this fab little shop called Blue Water Fish Rubbings. They sell clothes, bags, and prints that are made by pressing real fish and sea creatures that have been inked onto fabric or paper. We bought a shirt while we were there and I love it.

Fast forward to June Martha Stewart Living, where Martha has several pages devoted to making fish prints, shell prints and other beach imprints. Martha uses a rubber fish for hers, but this weekend we visited my parents at their lake house, so I was determined to use a real fish.

fish print1I went to a craft store and bought ink and rice paper. I had a little brush already. I took it with us. We caught a lot of fish, but since bass season has not started yet, we couldn’t keep those big fish. We did catch a lot of little sunfish though and we kept some to eat for lunch. One of the fish we set aside for the print.

First I dried the fish off and let it sit in the sun to get really dry. I painted the fish print2ink on it and pressed the rough side of the rice paper onto it (hoping that was the right side!). The first one wasn’t great and I quickly learned to use a very light coating of ink. The next few turned out really well. I am definitely going to frame one and hang it up at the lake.

I ended up with ink all over my hands, but it all washed off. And don’t worry, we did eat the fish after we washed it, so this project was not wasteful.

fish print3I want to try this again with a really big fish once they are in season and we can keep them, so I left all the supplies at the lake. I’m going to buy some other colors of ink so that I can do a multi-colored print as well.

This project was really very easy. If I can do it, you can do it! I would love to try it with some shells and maybe some print4

fish print5

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14 Responses to Fishy Business

  1. Pru says:

    I have never heard of such a thing! Killing a fish to paint it seems strange and a bit cruel. I think I would prefer the rubber stamp but doubt that I will be taking part in this craft.


  2. marthaandme says:

    We didn’t kill it to make this. We caught the fish to eat and I used this one to make the print before we ate it. The ink washed right off and we ate it with the other fish. I would never kill an animal just to make a craft. We were going to eat it anyhow, so I made a beautiful print of it first.

  3. lindsay says:

    this post made me laugh.


  4. pen4hire says:

    I’m not a Martha fan and I could never see myself painting a fish–but I still enjoyed reading your post and your pictures. How brave to show us the messy one before the one that turns out nicely.

  5. marthaandme says:

    Thanks! This blog is all about the successes and failures I experience along the way. I always think that if I can show or explain what I did wrong, it will help someone who wants to try it.

  6. Cool project. This is something my kids (well, except the vegetarian) would love to do. I’m going to have to try it with them! Thanks for your post!! (Also, that’s amazing that you cleaned the fish and ate it, and even that you are catching your own fish. I think Pru is wrong and there is nothing cruel about this craft at all!)

  7. marthaandme says:

    Thank you! Glad you agree. My kids thought this was great fun. I might get brave enough to try it on a shirt next time.

  8. Alisa Bowman says:

    HUm this reminds me of doing Peep painting with my daughter. Only peeps don’t smell fishy.

  9. marthaandme says:

    Nothing smelly about it! A fresh fish doesn’t smell!

  10. Anne-Marie says:

    Heard you today on Sirius (repeat show) and had to check out your fish. I love it πŸ™‚
    Your blog is VERY inspirational!!!!
    If we all could just do one Martha thing a day, it would be a good thing.

  11. marthaandme says:

    Thank you SO much! It is so nice to hear that. I hope that others are inspired to try one Martha thing a day. It has really made a difference in my life. And the thing is, you don’t need to turn your life upside down to do it. You’re going to cook dinner anyhow, so why not try something new and fun? You’re going to put the towels away in the linen closet anyhow, so why not fold them all the same and line them up so they look beautiful? Those are just small things to start with. I love trying a Martha craft once in a while to really expand my horizons though. I’m going to be framing the fish print and hanging it up at the lake house!

  12. marthaandme says:

    And if you enjoyed hearing me on the radio show, would you email them and let them know?

  13. Kris B says:

    We have done this project with a rubber fish from The benefit of the rubber fish is that the kids could do it whenever they felt up to a project – no need to fish first! I’ve yet to try it with a real fish, but would love to.

  14. marthaandme says:

    Yes, that is nice. Thanks for sharing the link. What I liked about a real fish was that it is a way to preserve your catch. I’m sure once bass season starts my son is going to catch a nice big one and we’ll be able to make a print of it and eat it for dinner. That way he’ll have the print of it always.

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