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Metallic Koi Puppet Instructions

Inspired by Japanese koinobori flags, I wanted to make a school of fish that would move with me while riding my bike. These are very simple to make and have a beautiful movement. An upcycled old metallic balloon makes a great source of material.

Have fun and make art!

STEP 1.   Make a paper template with a centerfold. This will be your fish body.

STEP 2.  Trace your template and cut fish body out of mylar, paper, etc. An old mylar balloon or an emergency blanket are excellent sources for cheap mylar.

(PRO TIP: if you are making a school of fish, stack/fold your material so you can cut a bunch of these out all at once.)

STEP 3.   Using a stiff tape, reinforce the "mouth" by folding the tape over the flat edge of your body. (Tape should be half on one side, half on the other.) I used the metallic aluminum tape from the hardware store (made for duct work).

STEP 3.  (contd)  The metallic tape gives the mylar strength so you can shape it. Seen above is the fish "mouth" with a line of tape folded over the edge.

STEP 6. Refold along "spine".

STEP 8. (contd) Don't tape the belly seam up all the way! Leave a little opening near the tail so you can achieve the windsock effect that brings your little fishes to life.

STEP 4.  Use your scraps from step 2 to sculpt little fins. Be creative, this is your own fish!

STEP 7.  Roll mouth into a circle, overlapping slightly, and tape into place.

STEP 5. Tape your tail fins in place along the narrow edge of your fish body. Tape them on whatever side will be the "inside" of your fish body.

STEP 8.  Tape along the fish belly seam, using your finger or a sharpie to support the inside, seal firmly, and shape.

STEP 9.  Add more fins, however/wherever you would like. Be creative!

Step 10.  Add a little more tape at the top of the fish head, to reinforce the mylar where the wire will go.

STEP 11.  Roll or bend your wire at one end to create a stop. This will be the top end of your wire.

STEP 12.  Poke the straight end of the wire through the fish mouth, first the top edge, then the bottom edge. You may need to wiggle it around to bore the holes out slightly, so the fish spins freely on the wire.

STEP 13.  Scoot your fish up to the top of the wire where you bent it over, then wrap a little tape around the wire just below the fish to create a second stop. Now your fish should spin freely in place and stay at the top of the wire.

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