Make: An Egg Carton Whale that Floats!

Earlier this week we made a set of recycled egg carton ducklings and shared a little trick to help make them float (!!!). They were such an incredible hit, that we decided to use up the stack of egg cartons we had sitting on a shelf and visit the ocean – with a floating egg carton whale!

Our little baby Beluga (to be exact) is a cinch to make, so you can create a whole pod – even different species, depending on the colors you use and the shapes of your egg carton cups.

Our DIY egg carton whale floating in an ocean sensory bin. in front of miniature wood palm trees and pink background.

This sweet little recycled whale craft ended up being a fantastic STEAM-learning opportunity and a fun way for kids to participate in creating a bit of science in action!

To make your own floating egg carton whale you’ll need:


  • An egg carton cup + small square of egg carton
  • White, gray or blue paint and a paint brush
  • A baby food jar lid
  • A small piece of blue construction paper or cardstock
  • Craft glue or a hot glue gun
  • An X-Acto knife or small pair of craft scissors
  • A permanent marker, black paper or googley eyes


  • A baking dish filled with water (this makes a quick and easy “ocean!)
  • A blue sheet of paper (slip this under your baking dish to instantly create a blue-tinted ocean without having to add food coloring to your water)
  • Shells, sand or other beachy nature items to add to your ocean tray

Click below to watch our egg cup whale bob around a mini sensory ocean tray!

How to make an Egg Carton Whale Kids Craft – DIY Instructions:

  1. Cut an egg cup from the carton and paint

    Cut an egg cup from an egg carton and paint white, gray, or blue (depending on the type of whale you’re making).

  2. Cut out a whale tail and paint

    Cut a simple whale tail shape out of your egg carton and paint the same color as your egg carton cup  – we used a portion of the egg carton box that had already been formed into a bend).

  3. Glue tail to the back of your egg carton cup

    Once your whale pieces have dried, use a hot glue gun or craft glue to glue the tail to the back of your whale.

  4. Add a water spout on top

    For the water spout…

    Cut a small rectangle of blue paper.

    Cut thin lines into the paper, about 1/8″ from each other, and about 1/8″ from the bottom edge.

    Use a hot glue gun or craft glue to affix to the middle of the whale as shown.

  5. Draw on eyes and a mouth

    Draw eyes and a mouth on with a permanent marker.

  6. Push your finished whale into a baby jar lid

    Gently pop your egg carton whale into a baby food jar lid – now it will float

Our DIY egg carton whale floating in an ocean sensory bin. in front of miniature wood palm trees and pink background.

Ways to play and learn with your floating egg carton whale craft

Here are a few ideas for using miniature whale for play, learning, or initiating important discussions about climate and conservancy…

  • CREATE AN OCEAN SENSORY BIN OR TRAY. As we did with our egg carton cup ducklings, we popped our handmade beluga into a glass pan filled with clear water (tuck a sheet of blue paper underneath to tint the water ocean-blue without food coloring!). You can toss a little salt in your water, turn on a fan, and play some soothing wave sounds in the background to create the full ocean experience – saltwater breeze and all! Add a moon sand beach, scrap supply sailboat, shells, small succulents, or other natural details for more sensory play.
  • DISCUSS OCEAN CONSERVATION. Looking for ways to use this beyond a sensory bin or cool floating lesson? This is a wonderful opportunity to initiate a conversation about whale conservation, how we keep our oceans clean, the dangers of plastics to ocean life, or general habitat health. NOAA has a “Just For Kids” page filled with activities you can use to discuss issues like oil spills, marine sanctuaries, climate science, and more.
  • LEARN ABOUT DIFFERENT OCEAN HABITATS. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has created a wonderful online resource with lots of good information to help your kids explore all the unique types of ocean homes. How could you recreate or represent these habitats in your own mini ocean setup?
  • PAIR WITH MUSIC. To get you in the proper whale-crafting headspace, gather your materials and turn up this Raffi playlist for solid Beluga jams. (You can find a kids’ activity or craft to go along with ALL of your favorite Raffi songs with our Raffi song + project collection here)!

For another great egg carton activity, grab some playdough and try these simple turtle-themed invitations to play. Feeling especially crafty? Try making your own easy (I promise!) DIY scrap wood beachside dollhouse.

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Amanda E.

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help kids and families discover their creative potential through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. Amanda has a background in graphic design, environmental design, and art curation. When not playing with ideas and designs for barley & birch, she enjoys working in freelance design, art, and illustration.


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