We recently visited Hakone Gardens, and the boys fell in love with some of the fish they met by the koi pond. JJ in particular loved following one he named Goldfishy. The kid is obsessed with souvenirs, and since Grandma happened to be with us he puppy-dog-eyed his way into the gift shop on our way back to the car. He didn’t find what he was envisioning there, so I suggested that we make our own souvenir to remind us of Goldfishy at home. A drawing wouldn’t do this time around, so I brought out the tin foil and markers so that we could bring some shine to our homemade koi fish.


  • Drawing paper and pencil
  • Tin Foil
  • Permanent Markers
  • Glue
  • Paint Brush (Optional)

Prep Work

Before getting started with the fun of gluing on fish scales, we had a little prep work to do. John drew some outlines of koi fish for reference, and I cut out some half moon-shaped pieces of foil. An easier way to go might be to color large sheets with the colors you want to use, and then cut. But of course that’s one of those things you think of later!

JJ has always been a planner at heart, and he felt like he needed to color in the fish outline to see where the different color scales would go.

Once the planning was done, it was time to glue on the scales. We laid out a piece of paper under the tin foil pieces so JJ could feel free to fill each shape with yellow and orange according to his plan without me worrying about getting permanent marker on the table. I poured out a bit of glue, and then JJ used a sponge brush to paint it onto each scale and place it on the fish drawing.  This ended up involving a bit of teamwork, with me dabbing on the glue, and JJ matching each piece with his drawing.

Before we knew it, ta-da! JJ had a souvenir to remind him of Goldfishy. His name is Goldo.

Happy JJ