How to Make Wire Fish Sculptures

Photo and wire fish sculpture by Ryn Gargulinski

Things You'll Need

  • Chicken wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Clay or other eyeball material
  • Wire for reinforcement
  • Paint and adornments (optional)

Fish are fun and they can be even more fun if you fashion them out of wire. Since their bodies are streamlined and fairly straightforward, you can make wire fish sculptures as simple or complicated as you like. A few simple steps and easy to get ingredients will help you make wire fish sculptures.

Lay the chicken wire flat and cut a rectangular piece to the size your fish will be. Wire cutters work best for this process but you can improvise with pruning shears or scissors you don’t care if you ruin.

Decide where his tail will be and create it accordingly. Snip an area of the wire as far up from the bottom as wide as you want the tail to be. Do not snip the wire all the way across, but several inches on each side leading up to the middle. You should end up with a rectangle with a flap at the bottom, still secured in the center. Bend the top sides of the tail down into a triangular shape. Secure by twisting the snipped ends of wire around each other or with small pieces of other wire.

Roll the chicken wire into a cone shape, with the thinnest area at the base of the tail and the fattest area where the fish’s head will be. Secure the cone shape by twisting the snipped ends of the wire around the base or with other wire.

Roll the wire inwards at the top of the cone shape to create the fish’s top and bottom jaw. You can roll them into a smooth shape for a benign fish or leave it jagged for a nasty fish. Again, secure your rolled jaw by twisting the snipped ends of wire around the base or with other small pieces of wire.

Paint if desired. Since chicken wire is kind of boring, you may want to spray paint your fish a jazzy aqua, really red or deep forest green. You can use several colors, making it darker around the mouth to emphasize it. You can also sponge on paint or use a brush for thicker paint distribution.

Add the eyeballs. Eyeballs can be made out of clay by rolling four balls of clay and affixing two for each eyeball, one ball inside the wire fish sculpture and one on the outside. Press together and allow to dry then draw a pupil. Eyeballs can also be made out any roundish object you feel like gluing to the outside of the fish’s head.


  • You can also add a fine array of teeth by gluing an array of jagged objects into the mouth area. Wire fish sculptures are light and perfect for hanging on your back porch or bedroom ceiling. They will sway nicely in the breeze or ceiling fan gust. Add fins by folding pieces of chicken wire into triangular shapes and affixing to the fish’s body wherever you see fit.


  • Chicken wire is scratchy so you may want to wear protective gloves for the rolling and shaping process.