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C R E A T E: Clothespin Sharks

July 21, 2017 | By Annie Rogers

Who knew clothespins could be so much fun?! In this whimsical little lesson, a simple clothespin is transformed into a ferocious (or friendly) chomping shark!


  • To create an interactive puppet using simple, everyday materials (clothespin)
  • To play with overlapping and animation, incorporating a little surprise fish into the art project


  • Overlapping: to extend over so as to cover partly. In this case, to extend one piece of paper over another, so as to cover the other partly – like the teeth or the tiny fish.
  • Animation: an act of animating, which is to give movement or life to something. Animated movies take something that doesn’t move – lines and drawings – and give movement to them.


  • 2 Pre-cut Shark Bodies*
  • Pre-cut Tiny Fish*
  • Clothespins
  • Glue Dots
  • Specialty/Patterned Scissors

*Clothespin Shark Templates


Ashlea_10_ClothespinSharkExampleTeacher Prep

Use the specialty scissors to pre-cut some “teeth” to add to the sharks and fish for younger students. (These can also be used as examples so students can see the different patterns made by the scissors.)



Ashlea, age 10, coloring her shark



  1. Select TWO shark bodies – one piece will be the TOP of the shark, and one piece will be the BOTTOM (the flat sides will line up next to one another). Color and decorate as you wish. The two pieces can be exactly the same OR totally different.
  2. If you’d like to add teeth, use the specialty scissors to cut a strip of white paper. Glue this strip of “teeth” to the back of the shark body (so that the body overlaps the teeth and covers them just slightly). You can add teeth to one side OR both sides of the shark body (the top and the bottom).
  3. Get the clothespin ready by adding tiny glue dots to the SIDE of each wooden piece – IN FRONT of the metal mechanism (the side opposite of where you typically pinch it open with your fingers).
  4. Place the top and the bottom shark bodies onto the glue dots so that the flat sides line up next to one another. Push down carefully to make sure they stick.
  5. Now you can play – pinch together the clothespin ends to open up your shark’s mouth!

Chastity, age 12


One Step Further… For a HUNGRY Shark!

Select a tiny fish to decorate as well – this fish will look like it’s about to get swallowed by the bigger fish. Color and decorate as you wish. Glue a small strip of paper to the back of the smaller fish – leaving some of the paper visible on the bottom. Glue the bottom of this paper to the bottom of the shark’s body – so that it looks like the fish is floating just above it.


Simplify: Have students decorate the two sides of the shark body and attach it to the clothespin – without adding teeth or the smaller fish.

PLAY! Where does your clothespin shark lurk? We spotted this one hiding behind the markers at our art table at Duke Children’s Hospital! ClothespinShark.Photo3