DIY Baby Shark Garland with Free Template!

I absolutely love creating party decorations for my kids parties. I know at 2 and 3 years old they can’t appreciate the work that goes into it, but I feel like it is a love letter to them that they will see and appreciate years later in their memory books. At least I tell myself that late at night when I am burning my fingers with hot glue lol.

I will say now that my daughter is 3 she is an enthusiastic helper. She loves going shopping at Hobby Lobby or “Hobby Holly” as she calls it. I always check the online ads to see which week the supplies I need will be on sale which helps save on costs, because lets face it parties can get expensive fast.

For my son’s 2nd birthday party I decided on a “Baby Shark” theme since it is his current obsession. For as widely known this addicting YouTube video is in the toddler world there is not a lot of merchandise available online or in stores for a party so I had to get creative and make a photo garland, a feature wall/cake smash back drop, favor tags, and some food tags too. For today I am going to focus on the baby shark photo garland. (Check out our blog for additional posts on the other fantastic decorations I created for my son’s party with the very skilled help of his big sister!)

The great news is the garland was easy to make and cost less than $5 in paper. Here is your shopping list for Hobby Lobby or Michaels:

  • 1 – 12×12 sheet of medium blue cardstock
  • 2 – 12×12 sheet of light blue cardstock
  • 1 – 12×12 sheet of medium yellow cardstock
  • 1 – 12×12 sheet of light yellow cardstock
  • 1 – 8×10 sheet of maroon cardstock
  • 1 – 8×10 sheet of light maroon cardstock
  • 1 – 8×10 sheet of white cardstock
  • 1 – 8×10 sheet of black cardstock
  • 1 – 12×12 sheet of turquoise cardstock
  • 1 roll of ribbon – I picked orange but you can pick any color you want!
  • 1 – permanent tape adhesive roller
  •  Small pom poms (If you want to make the birthday hat for the shark)
  • 1 – 1″ circle punch
  • 1 – 2″ circle punch
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue
  • Black Sharpie


Free templates: (Print on 8×11 sheet of paper for correct sizing)

I started with the baby sharks. Feel free to print out these outlines and cut them out so you have a template to make your own baby sharks!

Here is the process I followed to make 2 baby sharks:

  1. Trace the top of the shark on a the dark blue cardstock.
  2. Trace the bottom part of the shark on light blue cardstock.
  3. Glue the dark blue piece on top of the light blue piece
  4. Use the 2″ hole punch to punch out 4 white circles
  5. Use the 1″ hole punch to punch out 4 black circles
  6. Glue the black circle on top of the white circle to make eyes and then glue them on top of the dark blue piece of the shark.
  7. Take a black marker and draw 3 gill lines behind the eyes
  8. I free handed cutting out the teeth from white card stock and glued them to the back of the light blue paper. You can add some tape on the back to make sure they stick since they are small and could get knocked loose easily.
  9. Cut out the dark maroon template for the mouth and tape it to the back of the light blue paper.
  10. Cut out the shape of a tongue (a small half oval) from the light maroon paper and glue it to the dark maroon paper.
  11. Cut out a triangle, add stripes, and add the pom pom with a dab of hot glue and attach to the shark! “Easy peasy” as my daughter would say!

To make the little fish you first need to decide how many photos you want to display. If this if for a 1st birthday party I would suggest creating 12 little fish so you can display 12 photos…one for each fabulous sleepless month you survived! Since this was my son’s 2nd birthday I decided to do 7 photos so that the length would perfectly fit on my 48 inch mantle without being over crowded. Let me tell you it was hard to pick just 7 photos to sum up all the fun we had this past year.

To make the little fish follow these easy steps:

  1. Cut out the number of fish you need out of alternating colors using the free template on this post! I cut the bodies out of the same light blue paper used for the base of the shark as well as the dark yellow and light yellow cardstock.
  2. Take a coordinating color and cut out stripes and glue them to the fish’s body.
    1. Tip: Buy yourself a pair of scalloped scissors and save yourself a lot of time. If you want to save money or just don’t feel like loading two kids in car seats and chasing them through the store for a pair a scissors then you can free hand the stripes like I did or order a pair of scissors from Amazon
  3. All of the fins are cut out of the turquoise paper. Just use the template or free hand your own fins and glue them to each of the fish.
  4. I used the 1 inch hole punch on white paper to cut out all the eyes and hand drew the black parts of the eyes with a marker since I did didn’t happen to have a 1/2″ circle punch.
  5. Glue the eyes to the fish and use a marker to draw his cute little smile. All done… or in my case repeat 6 more times!


Ok time for a mini happy dance because the hard part is done!

Final Steps/Garland Assembly:

  1. Measure and cut your ribbon as long as you need it for where you are going to hang the garland.
  2. Hot glue the sharks to the ends of the ribbon and then evenly space the fish in between the sharks.
  3. Attach photos to the fish:
    1. I like to line my photos with color paper, but of course this step is totally optional and up to your preference.
      1. I prefer to double line photos and for this garland I decided to do the photo followed by a layer of white then a layer of orange. (If you want to do this step make sure you add extra color cardstock to your shopping list. You can get 2 photos done out of 1 sheet of 8×10 cardstock, so for 12 photos you would need 6 sheets of additional cardstock).
    2. The best way to make sure the paper lining looks clean is to use the permanent tape roller to attach the paper and photo together and make sure the corners are well glued down.
    3. I attached the photos to the back of the fish with a piece of scotch tape but hot glue will work as well.
  4. Finally hang up your garland! I suggest clear push pins because the photos tend to make it heavy and tape just didn’t seem to cut it for me.

Here is our final result! I hope you love your garland and it is the hit of your party!


P.S. If you love the milestone board on our mantel check out BloomingDESIGNprints Shop to order one for your party!