Eric Carle would be So Proud!!

We’ve continued our ocean-themed reading this week and on our list was another Eric Carle classic “A House for Hermit Crab”. My kids LOVE this story! I love the fact that it gives a message that you should treat your friends with love and respect.

If you aren’t familiar with the story, a Hermit Crab gets a new shell, thinks it looks pretty boring so he sets out over the next year to decorate it with new friends he finds along the way. After a year he has outgrown his shell but is sad to have to leave his friends behind. Another Hermit Crab comes along in need of a shell and he graciously offers to give him his shell, but only if he promises to take good care of his friends.

A couple weeks ago I saw THIS hermit crab made out of a hand print and a paper plate. I pinned it immediately and knew it was exactly what I was looking for to go along with this story. When we started making our craft we decided we wanted to re-create our favorite scene in the book. Behold, our Eric Carle masterpiece….

It’s very possible that some might think I’m over the top. I mean, did I really need to re-create our favorite scene in the book?… Yup! I sure did! And you know what, it was a masterpiece that we ALL DID TOGETHER and we are pretty darn proud of it, so if I’m over the top, then I don’t really care. hahaha!

So how did we do it???

1. Cover your child’s right hand in red paint and press it onto a piece of white card stock paper. This creates the crab body.

2. When it is completely dry, cut it out like pictured below.

3. For the shell we used one of those small paper plates. I didn’t have any on hand so ended up buying a package at Wal-Mart for $1.88. I’m sure we’ll use them for other crafts so I didn’t mind. Turn the paper right side up (the side you eat on) and on the left edge draw a squiggly line for the opening of the crabs shell. Cut it out, then turn it over.

4. Put some glue on the end of the hand print and attach it to the opening you just cut out on the paper plate. Then, using a black marker, draw the outline of the shell on the paper plate.

5. We wanted our hermit crab to be reminiscent of what was in the story, so we used water color paints to add some colors to his shell.

6. For the eyes we hot glued 2 pieces of pipe cleaners with wiggly eyes on the ends. Here is your completed crab. Isn’t he cute?? You could stop here if you want, but since I am an “over the top” kind of person (LOL!) we kept going.

7. Create all the little creatures that Hermit Crab had on his shell. I just winged this so I’m including close up pictures of the creatures so you can see them in more detail.


After taking this picture we decided to add a small wiggly eye to him so make sure you do that. I simply just cut the pieces of out construction paper to make him, cut a slit in my white circle to attach him to the snail and put glue on the back to stick the two pieces together. Oh, I used a hole punch to get the circles on the ends of his antennae. Then I used a black marker to draw the shell lines and my son colored his shell with colored pencils.

Sea Star

I cut the sea star shape out of blue card stock paper, then my son added some glue and sprinkled glitter on him to make him more colorful.

Sea Anemone
To make the sea anemone we started by cutting a rectangle out of green card stock paper. Then we cut a 1in. strip of orange tissue paper, cut that into six different sections, twisted the pieces up and glued it to the green paper.
To make the coral I just simply drew the shape onto a piece of yellow construction paper and cut it out. Then I had my son practice drawing tiny circles all over the entire thing. If you look closely in the book, that is how Eric Carle did his.

I forgot to take a picture of this one separate so I just enlarged it and it’s blurry, sorry. I found a free fish clip art on the Internet and just printed it out. Then my son colored it with a blue marker, cut it out, and used yellow puffy paint and glitter paint to make him light up like in the story.

8. After we created all the creatures, we glued them onto the Hermit Crab.

Again, you can totally stop now….But I figured since we got this far we mine as well create the WHOLE scene.


9. By this time, Andy was home from school and he wanted to help out with the project, so I had him take a blue crayon and make the squiggly blue water lines on a piece of white card stock paper, just like in the story. Then he put some glue on the bottom of the paper and sprinkled sand on the bottom.

10. Glue your Hermit Crab onto your created scene.

11. Next, cut out some rocks out of gray/silverish paper and glue then onto your paper around your crab.

12. Lastly, I cut out a sea urchin using a scrap piece of cardboard paper I had and Andy used marker to add some brown and black to him. Attach him to your paper and your masterpiece is complete.

A kind reader left me a comment telling me about a template that would help teachers with the decorations on the hermit crab. You can find them at Scholastic by clicking HERE.

Happy Crafting!!

Create your own Mister Seahorse Craft using this creative shaving cream marbled painting technique. This ocean themed art project is the perfect companion to Eric Carle’s book!

Seahorse Craft for Kids with Lacing Practice

“I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean” with Squid Activity