Koinobori Treasure Tin


Koinobori, carp-shaped wind socks, are a big part of Japan’s Children’s Day celebration on May 5th, a day which celebrates and honours boys, while March 3rd is reserved for girls. Carps are chosen as a symbol of strength, courage and determination – attributes desired in boys, and are flown from rooftops throughout the country.

I’ve always loved how children like to collect the most random things, and store them in small containers for safe keeping. So instead of making wind socks, we’ll be making small drawings of carps, and decorating a tin to store them in.


  • card stock
  • scrap paper
  • pencil and eraser
  • markers
  • scissors
  • tin
  • circle punch
  • coloured paper
  • glue stick
  • 3D-Dots



1. Select a tin to use as a container. Decorate the inside with coloured paper. A pack of origami paper is a great way to get a wonderful assortment of colours, but of course any kind of coloured paper will do.


Use a circle punch or hand cut small circles, to decorate the inside of the tin. Blues and greens are ideal, to represent water, and to create the backdrop for the carps. Use a glue stick to attach them in an overlapping fashion.


2. Have a look on the internet at images of “koinobori” to see what the windsocks look like. Make some sketches on scrap paper, and once you’re ready, draw several carps in pencil on a piece of card stock. They can be different sizes, but make sure they are small enough to fit inside the tin. Colour them in marker, and cut them out.


3. The fish can be attached to the inside of the tin in a variety of ways. 3D-Dots are a convenient way to do this, and allow you to easily play with varying depths by adding as many as you need to the back of the fish.


When attaching the fish to the inside of the tin, make sure to stagger them so they fill the space nicely.




Filed under drawing, Japan, Multicultural Art, tins

22 responses to “Koinobori Treasure Tin

  1. So beautiful! Great idea! It gives me some inspiration. Thanks! 🙂

  2. Great way to introduce cultural festivities to children, with a keepsake project they will be so proud to keep!

    • Thanks Joyce. Of course, my daughter’s first question was why it’s only a celebration for boys if it’s called Children’s Day, and why wasn’t I doing a project for girls? She’s got a point. I told her she’d have wait until next year for the girl’s celebration because I missed it back in March!

  3. I can not wait to make this for my 6 year old son … he will love it!

  4. So cute and you know I love a cute repurposed project! Thanks for sharing at Inspire Us Thursday on Organized 31.

  5. Absolutely stunning! Pinning! Thanks for sharing at After School!

  6. Truly fabulous! Funny enough I have some Koinoburi in a few sizes hanging in my boy’s room over their beds, and didn’t realize that they are a symbol for boys, just love them! thanks so much for sharing on craft schooling sunday!

  7. craftymomsshare

    What a neat project!! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!

  8. This tin is beautiful! I really like all these mini treasure boxes, makes me wish I ate mints. I cohost a link-up – Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop – that I think this project would be perfect for. Here’s the link: http://toddlefast.blogspot.com/2014/05/creative-kids-culture-blog-hop-16.html

  9. Fabulous idea! I gave my husband a tin of mints so now we’ll tell him not to recycle it, we’ll upcycle it. One thing I didn’t buy when I was living in Japan were koinobori. Since my son loves boxes, etc., this would be fun for him! Pinning!

    • How wonderful to have experienced living in Japan! A friend of ours sent us a couple of koinobori when our son was born, which is how we discovered this tradition. Hope your son enjoys making this!

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