Time to make your cardboard-YELLOW-SUBMARINE dreams come TRUE!

cardboard submarine craft finished product

Want a summer project that’s steeped in books and crafts? One that creates memories of a lifetime for your own kiddos, your students, or the tiniest library patrons… I have got you SO covered! In celebrating Summer Reading’s 2022 theme of Oceans of Possibilities, I’m giving the step-by-step on how to make the world’s most vibrant and busy ocean right in your home, school, or library. You can tweak to make it all your own. The best part is… it’s super easy and truly fun.

Step one was making our ocean(click here for instructions)  and now our job is to fill with it 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 complete with portholes.

  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 (you can grab it a craft store)
  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. Yellow for the body. White for lookout bubble. Metallic for propeller. Or whatever colors speak to you and your artists!


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 no matter how young or old the creator, no matter what they put inside, no matter their ability, missteps or home runs… everyone’s porthole will look awesome.

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! And maybe celebrate with a loud group performance of “We All Live In A Yellow Submarine“🎶!


Don’t forget as you are taking on this craft project, breaks for story time, add more depth and context. I love this book about ALVIN – a real underwater research submersible craft that’s helped scientists make big discoveries. Want even more ocean related book ideas, check out my list here.

Courage Like Kate Cover Reveal

And I’m so EXCITED to remind you that I have a book coming out in just one month…an absolutely stunning tale of a little girls quest to keep a lighthouse and save lives. The best part is… it’s a TRUE STORY! COURAGE LIKE KATE: The True Story of a Girl Lighthouse Keeper is available for pre-order right now and will be in your mailbox on August 16th! This is the book of my heart and you’ll discover why when you find out about courage it took a young girl to become a lighthouse keeper in the 1800’s. Plus, Emily Sutton’s illustrations are to die for!

Happy Crafting and Reading! When you are ready, let’s add a fun and visual way to keep track of your summer reading by creating a book sea snake!








Anna Crowley Redding is a mom and stepmom to FIVE wonderful 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.


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