Mermaid Party: Coral Reef Centerpiece


     If you’re planning an undersea-themed party, a Coral Reef Centerpiece is a colorful addition to the table and easy to create. Start with a visit to your local pet store and check out the aquarium aisle. The same decorations intended to dress up a fish tank will add colorful drama and flair to your tabletop!

      Large aquarium decorations can cost $20 or more per piece. To contain costs, shop the clearance section first.

       Wal-mart’s pet section usually offers aquarium decorations at prices less than standard pet stores, although the selection will not be as large.  Even dollar stores sometimes sell items intended for aquarium use, so it’s worth checking out a dollar store near you.

       Don’t worry if you can’t find bright colors. Although some aquarium decorations come in tropical pinks and blues, many are too brown and boring to add pizazz to a tabletop. A couple of bottles of craft paint will take care of that problem!

        Add height to a smaller item by placing it on a cake platter or other pedestal. Create a more expansive centerpiece by spreading a fishnet and building the Coral Reef Centerpiece on the net. Don’t forget to add some treasure; the details will help make your tabletop more visually entertaining! Scatter a bag of gold coins, lots of pretty shells  and some colored flat marbles across the fishnet, in and around the aquarium statuary, to help create the right look. 



2 Responses to “Mermaid Party: Coral Reef Centerpiece”

  1. Debbie Smith Says:

    Found your web page thru google images search. Here’s my problem.
    My daughter, 11th grade, is chairperson on the Homecoming dance committee. Our “decoration” is – (2) 9′ anchors ( we have that under control)but they are to be “surrounded” by “Coral Reefs”. Its in the High School Gym – so its all about “big and bold”. We are looking for any ideas-
    this is a tough one——any ideas or help or direction we be greatly appreicated. We don”t even know where to start…….Help -PLEASE

    • askthepartyfairy Says:


      High schoolers have created some pretty amazing things out of crepe paper and chicken wire for floats and dances over the years, and I think that may be your best bet for this homecoming dance.

      First of all, to create a really amazing backdrop for the anchors and coral reef, you might consider suspending vertical lengths of blue Christmas lights beneath sheer fabric. This truly creates a fantastic and magical ambiance in a darkened gym. Lights usually attach end-to-end for convenience, and can be mounted on concrete blockl gymnasium walls with electrical tape. Clothesline can also be used for this purpose. Almost any kind of sheer blue fabric will do, so check the clearance bins at your local fabric stores first. But here’s a link to a site selling fabric specifically designed for this purpose:

      Click on GOSSAMER on the orange tabs that appear at the top of the home page on this site, and then choose the option to See All Gossamer. One fabric is specifically designed to look just like water, but I actually prefer the blue and purple. 🙂

      Another alternative is to drape sparkly blue metallic curtains behind the anchor and coral reef creation. Blue Christmas lights look great behind these curtains, too. They are generally sold at party stores. Blue painter’s tape will work to hold these curtains in place on the gymnasium wall. You will need to hang two and possibly three rows of side-by-side curtains, one on top of the other, to get the right effect.

      To create your coral reef from chicken wire and crepe paper, you’ll need gloves, a bit of muscle and a wooden frame. Simply build the frame by creating a square or rectangle from boards, and attach the chicken wire to this frame with a staple gun.

      It can be a bit difficult to shape chicken wire until you get the hang of it. Be sure to wear gloves. Fortunately, you won’t need to do much in the way of sculpting….You’ll just need undulating waves of chicken wire with lots of coral fingers rising out of it. Anchor your coral fingers by placing poles into the wire. Wrap each pole with chicken wire, then create smaller tubes of chicken wire to attach to the pole. Voila! Instant coral fingers. 🙂

      Next, simply tear and stuff the crepe paper into all those many, many holes in all that chicken wire. This is a mindless task, but can be very time-consuming, so be sure to recruits lots of volunteers to help. Use tropical colors such as caribbean blue, hot pink, yellow and lime green.

      Finally, finish off your coral reef with lots of decorative touches such as shells and starfish. Starfish can be cut out of poster board and painted, but it looks even better to cut them out of foam.

      Good luck! 🙂

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