Saturday, June 19, 2010

"Only One You" Salt Dough Fish

A wonderful family friend and fantastic elementary school teacher gave me the book, "Only One You" by Linda Kranz some time ago. She thought it might inspire an art lesson. I finally got my act together and am using it in some of my summer art classes.

The book follows Mama and Papa fish as they share their wisdom with their son Adri as he goes out into the world. Here a few of my favorite lessons:

"Blend in when you need to. Stand out when you have the chance."

"Find your own way. You don't have to follow the crowd."

"Know when to speak; know when to listen."

Kranz uses painted "rockfish" to illustrate her messages. For my inspired lesson we will create salt dough fish. Using my easy recipe of 4 cups flour/1 cup salt/ and 1-2 cups water we will kneed a soft dough (This recipe created 4-5 fish). The dough is simply mixed by hand and a fist size piece is shaped into a pointed oval fish shape. Next a v-like shape is created and added for a tail fin. Kranz's distinctive human-like lips are created with a small piece of dough. The fish will bake for about 3 hours at 300 degrees. When cool paint with bright acrylic colors and graphic shapes, such as stripes, zig zags and polka dots. I brushed a layer of Mod Podge when these were dry to add a nice shine and protective coat.

A big thanks to you MaryAnn aka "Mrs. Mac"! It is such a great book with many wonderful messages to pass onto children! :)


  1. Cute! I can't wait to get the book at the library!

  2. I love this! To be honest I'm totally sick of The Rainbow Fish and it's message of giving away what is special to him. This is a much needed diversion with a great message!!! THANKS

  3. Oh my gosh these are so CUTE! I love doing stuff with fish and this book sounds like a super motivation tool. I'm intrigued with the idea of using the oval shape of the rock and getting all the features inside. Just adorable!

  4. Thank you for this post! I loved the art project and immediately went out and bought the book. My daughter left for college this summer and it was the perfect going away gift - every piece of advice I wanted to give her all nicely written down for me!
    I am getting ready to start my after school art club and will definitely be making the salt dough fish - can't wait to see how they turn out! Best Wishes...

  5. Thanks so much for sharing this! I bought the book and have done the lesson twice:) Thanks again.


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