Recycled Rockpool

Rock covered in barnacles and seaweed with a limpet attached

Did you make a rainforest with us last summer? With the end of the summer holidays coming, why not relive seaside memories and make your own rockpool habitat out of recycled materials? We have some inspiration and ideas for you here, but you can let your imagination run wild and make creatures from crabs to sea anemones, starfish to periwinkles… Read on to discover rockpool wildlife and how to make a habitat in a box.

Rockpool Wildlife

Let’s start with some animal inspiration. Here we have a video featuring rockpools on the west coast of Scotland. Have you been rockpooling at the seaside? What animals did you see? (You can find some rockpooling tips with our Wildlife from your Window: Rockpools post.)

Make a Habitat in a Box

How do you make a habitat in a box? First, you’ll need:

  • Cardboard box
  • Old magazines, greetings cards, scrap paper.
  • Pens or pencils
  • Scissors
  • Glue and washi tape

Once you have gathered all of your materials, watch the video below for museum learning assistant, Sara’s hints and tips for how to put it all together as she creates a rainforest habitat. Then scroll down for some ideas on how to tweak this to make a rockpool from recycled materials:

Recycled Rockpool

Backdrop for a rockpool made of card and collage
Rockpool backdrop with layers built of card and collage

To make our recycled rockpool, we used old magazines to collage the background of sky, water and rocks. To make it three-dimensional, we put some layers of rocks made from corrugated card at the front and stuck to the middle of the base of the box.

We made sea anemones, an origami crab and a translucent prawn.

Recycled paper sea anemone
Recycle paper sea anemones

The sea anemones are made by cutting a thin strip (around 2cm deep) out of a magazine page, choosing one with lots of colour on both sides. This was rolled up along its length, and a piece of washi tape used to stick the end down. Then take your scissors and make cuts down from one end aboue half way down to make a fringe of tentacles. Fan the paper out, and pull the centre of the roll up slightly to get a more haphazard pattern for your tentacles.

Origami crab
Origami crab

The crab was made using origami. You will need a square piece of paper to begin with. Download the instructions here:

Finally, the prawn was simply drawn onto a piece of tissue paper to make it more transulcent. You can trace our picture, or draw your own freehand. If you have wax crayons or a permanent marker, you could even cut a prawn out of a clear plastic bottle to make it even more transparent and camouflaged.

Prawn outline
Prawn outline to trace

Once made, the creatures were attached to the rocks of the rockpool using either glue or washi tape. These are just a few rockpool animals – which would you include?

Completed model of a rockpool made from recycled materials
Completed rockpool

We love to see your creations. If you make a recycled rockpool, do send us a picture and we can include it in our online Community Gallery.

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