The Whale Who Wanted to be Small: A Whale Craft by @OceanChildCrafts

The Whale Who Wanted to be Small: A Whale Craft by @OceanChildCrafts



My name is Marlon from Ocean Child Crafts. I live in Hawaii and I’m a big craft and ocean lover. I was very happy when Tara reached out if I wanted to create a craft by one of their books. I’m a big fan of Gill McBarnet's children’s books, the Hawaii and ocean inspired book themes are right up my alley.

As you might know, the Hawaiian Islands are a national marine sanctuary for humpback whales, a protected environment for these amazing creatures to breed and give birth. To celebrate the start of a new whale season we created this whale craft inspired by the book The Whale Who Wanted to be Small.

This craft comes with a printable, you can use the printable as a color page or as a template for your craft.

Print template below to use as an outline for the craft or as a coloring page:

If you would like to create this craft then gather the following craft supplies:


  • Cardboard
  • White and blue paper
  • Water colors (you can use liquid watercolors, tubes or pans)
  • Paintbrush
  • Jar of water
  • Pencil
  • Glue
  • Scissor
  • Googly eye (optional)
  • Piece of rope (optional)



Step 1: Cut out a cardboard circle, this is going to be the surface that will hold your craft together (see picture step 1). For the circle you can do any size you like. We traced a big round footplate on a cardboard box but you can also print out the printable and use it as a template.


Step 2: Take a big sheet of watercolor paper. If you don’t have water color paper then thick white paper will do. Color the whole sheet with blue watercolor shades. If you add more water to the paint colors will turn out lighter and with less water your colors will be darker. You can also mix in a little bit green or purple to make it look more interesting. Let your child explore and experiment with watercolors, it doesn’t have to be pretty (see picture step 2).


Step 3:  When the watercolors are dry, you’re going to rip your paper in long strips (see picture step 3).


Step 4: Now layer your blue paper strips on your cardboard circle (see picture step 4). Most likely each strip has a white border from ripping the paper. Layer your strips this way that the white border is upwards. The layering effect and the different shades of blue and white will make it look like an ocean. 

 Step 5: Cover your entire cardboard circle with paper strips so the circle is not visible anymore (see picture step 5).


Step 6: Turn your cardboard over and cut around the circle (see picture step 6).


Step 7: Take a blue paper (or any color you like your whale to be) and place it underneath your cardboard circle (see picture step 7). Trace the bottom half of your circle on the blue paper, this is going to be the size of your whale.  


Step 8: Now you have half a circle on your blue page, this is going to be the outline of your whale. Create a whale (see picture step 8) and make sure the outline stays the same size as the cardboard circle. You can print out the printable and use it as an example when drawing your whale.



Step 9: Create a belly and fin for your whale (see picture step 9)


Step 10: Cut off a little piece of rope and unravel the top part. Then take your watercolors and color the rope blue (see picture step 10).


Step 11: Glue your whale together (see picture step 11).


Step 12: Glue your whale on top of your ocean background. We glued a lid between the cardboard and the whale so the whale pops out a little bit. Instead of a lid you can also layer cardboard or use foam (see picture step 12).



Happy crafting! We're curious to know if you plan on making this craft, and if so - we'd love to see your creation! Be sure to follow and tag us on instagram @HawaiiaChildrensBooks and @OceanChildCrafts.


Check out The Whale Who Wanted to be Small by Gill McBarnet...

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