In a quest to create something cheap and easy for this year’s “Submerged” Vacation Bible School theme, I found this wonderful trash bag jellyfish project on, where else, Pinterest. These cute little sea creatures have been taking over my home for a week now and I simply love their ethereal presence all around our decorated church. Along the way I discovered that these fun little sea creatures have been assembled in many different ways by several different folks, but I wanted to share with you exactly what worked for me.
Start with two trash bags. I used opaque ones, translucent ones, pink ones and blue ones. Any old bags will do, but I think my favorites were the cheap pink ones I found at the dollar tree. They have a light and airy feel and the color is perfect for jellyfish, but this is VBS and we can imagine jellies in any color we choose.
Before I started making my jellyfish, I created a few hangers for the little guys by cutting up some fishing line (length depends on personal preference and hanging location), tying it in a loop and attaching a paperclip. I made several of these hangers ahead of time, because this is the boring and kind of time-consuming part of the project.
To make the top of the jellyfish, I used one bag, one rubber band and one paper clip hanger. Fluff a bag in the air to completely open it up and then gather the open edge of the trash bag in your hand as if you were making a air-filled bag to pop; although you don’t want to fill it completely or the next step won’t work.
With the gathered bag in one hand, push the natural bottom of the bag down into the middle and into the gathered hand. Some trash bags have a straight seam, which means you will also have to tuck the two corners down into that gathered hand as well or your jellyfish will end up with ears. . . and as far as I know jellies don’t have ears.
Now take a premade hanger and push the paperclip down through the middle and into the gathered hand. You should be able to feel the paperclip in your hand, but the fishing line should be sticking out the top. Secure everything in your gathered hand with a rubber band, making sure the paperclip is anchored in place below the rubber band. You should end up with an air-filled bagel-shaped bag with fishing line out the top.
Now onto the tentacles. To make long, flowing tentacles you need to start with your second trash bag. Cut off all the seams and corners, but keep the two layers together. Using a pair of scissors, cut a spiral shape from the outside in. You can cut this as thin or thick as you like, but I think the skinny version isn’t quite as pretty. After you cut the spiral, pull apart the layers and let them hang. The spiral cut is essential to the long flowing look, so don’t cut corners — I tried it.
Cut the tentacles to desired length and push one end through one of the rubber band loops already in place on the jellyfish body. If you want to add more layers, simply cut another trash bag or add some other types of materials to achieve a fuller look. I used everything from tulle, ribbon and unraveled cheap plastic leis from the dollar store.
One of my favorite things about this project is that all my trash bag jellyfish seem to have their own unique personality — some were fun, some were beautiful and some were just plain silly.