Fantasy Submarine


This pre-blog, VBS project has been rePinned more than 70 times… and counting!

So here is a tutorial for submarine portholes, plus how we displayed them.

This year, Cokesbury’s theme was Surf Shack, so upstairs was decorated like a beach, and the downstairs hallways were underwater themes.

One hall was a submarine, so I made these portholes out of clear disposable plates, toy fish, and aquarium plants.

The background was a wrinkled-up tablecloth roll saved by my church, from a previous Vacation Bible School theme.

These plastic murals flatten nicely on posterboard or foam core with a squirt of spray adhesive – one of my new favorite tricks!

A cheap underwater calendar, or jpegs printed from Google images,  would work as backgrounds, since not everyone has leftover tablecloth roll lying around!

This table roll is still available online now, like Walmart and this party store.

I bought plastic plates with the ridges on the rims and painted them with silver artists’ acrylic paint and a brush.


I bought mine at Party City for about $10 for a pack of 16. Plenty for the short hallway in our church.

Only paint the rippled side. Painting the flat side covers the cool part.

Then I traced out a circle from my posterboard with the undersea design.


After cutting out all of my plates, I arranged my toy fish from the local dime store and matched them with pieces of aquarium plants.


After coordinating my fish and plants, I hot glued the fish directly to the background first.

Then I glued the base of the plant to the edge of the rim.

Finally, I lined up the plate and with the background so that the fish and plant looked good together, and I glued down the edges of the plate.

For a finished look, I added metal washers from the hardware store. I used almost the whole pack of 100!


For installation, I found a great backdrop on sale at Oriental Trading.

It was a previous year’s VBS theme called Agents of Truth, so it was heavily discounted.

The blue plastic sheeting only cost $4! Enough for the whole hall!

It also came with computer monitors, including one with a map. I recovered one monitor to say “Depth” and printed an island photo for the periscope view.

I also cut out signs from black posterboard and painted them with white paint with names like ENGINE ROOM and CREW’S QUARTERS to place over the doors.


Here is another view of the hall.


I only did portholes on one wall, and the monitors were on the other wall.

I thought that in a real submarine, like a house, you’d only have windows on one side.

Then the other side of the hall would be the sub’s interior.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like I saved any photos of the desk and monitor wall, but this is the image from the Oriental Trading website. You get the idea!


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