A Submarine With a View

“So we have an ocean that we plan to fill with LOTS of sea life. And it looks like we’re going to need a way to motor around and see it all. Let’s make a submarine!” There it is. What it’s like to be a thought in my brain. One thing leads to another and of the many, many voices in my head, not a single one ever yells, “Stop! Go to bed! Enough already!” Not a single one. So here goes. A yellow submarine with the world’s most awesome portholes.

You need a large cardboard box. We move so often that we have plenty. (But I’m not bitter.)

Here are some of the other supplies you’ll need:

  1. Large Cardboard box (we used a wardrobe size)
  2. Yellow non-toxic washable paint
  3. White non-toxic washable paint for the look out bubble
  4. Metallic craft paint for propellor and portholes
  5. 6 paper plates
  6. 24 Cheerios (or similar)
  7. Goldfish… the snack version  (and any other stickers or sea life decorations for your sea scene)
  8. Sand
  9. Elmer’s glue
  10. Printer paper or construction paper for sea grass in porthole scene
  11. Blue cellophane (a.k.a. blue packing material – seriously, that’s what they call it at Michael’s)


Freehand the submarine shape. Keep it simple and easy. Oval for the body. Semi-oval for look out glass up top. And you need a rather well-rounded rectangle for the propeller. My motto when making kid’s stuff applies: it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to get done.


Paint the submarine. Our son wanted to paint it red. Until we played him The Beatles, “Yellow Submarine.” Yellow it is! (He’s still singing it.) White for lookout bubble. Metallic for propeller.


Attach dry submarine to the ocean mural. We found a hot glue gun works best.


Now you are ready to make your portholes. I followed the easy instructions from this site.

What’s great about making the portholes, is if your 3-year-old, like mine, becomes a little over zealous in adding fish and Cheerios (not on list… don’t ask, just go with it), the porthole still looks awesome. He is very proud of himself and so am I.

The more fish and chaos in your underwater sea scape the better!


Once your portholes are complete, simply attach them to the submarine, using painter’s tape or a hot glue gun. Sit back and enjoy the view! Remember: we all live in a yellow submarine! Live it, Anna

Playing The Beatles hit while making this submersible is essential.

Anna Crowley Redding is a mom and stepmom to FIVE kids and the author of six books for young readers with four more on the way! You can check out more information on her books and support her writing by clicking here.

8 Responses to “A Submarine With a View”

  1. katechurchesgmailcom

    This was such a great idea! Thanks so much for sharing it in this post. Your portholes were my inspiration for my church’s VBS decorations over the summer, which I just added to my blog. I put a different spin on it, borrowing ideas from here and there, but you were the jumping off point! I hope you’ll check out my photos, since you were a “virtual collaborator” without knowing it! 🙂 The kids LOVED it! https://viewfromthepiedmont.com/2016/10/17/plastic-plate-portholes-for-a-fantasy-submarine/


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