DIY The koinobori card in Japanese paper

Today, I'm joining you for our fourth and final tutorial around kodomo no hi: the Japanese children's day, to learn how to make pretty colorful cards in the shape of koinobori. They can then be mounted on stems or on a garland or even used as is.


These colorful cards will perfectly complement our previous tutorials, to create a summer decoration:


Simple to make, this DIY is ideal for children! It also allows you to use all your small scraps of Japanese paper.


In order to make koinobori cards from Japanese paper, you will need:

First, we will prepare the fish scales.
To do this, we will use 15cm origami papers, but you are free to use scraps of paper. In 1 square of origami paper of 15cm side , you can cut 16 small circles .

To quickly cut out 16 small circles from the same paper, here is the procedure:


  1. Get a 15cm square of origami paper. Fold it in half.
  2. Using a bottle cap and a pencil, draw four small circles on your folded square.
  3. Fold your paper in half again.
  4. Carefully cut out your circles.

We then cut all the circles in half to make the fish scales. For the largest card model , you will need 8 scales and for the smallest model , 3 scales .


Secondly, we will prepare the background of the cards:
Using the fish template downloaded previously, cut out the “ Koinobori fish bodies ” from thick colored paper.
We used colored papers of around 180g/m2 from these Rico paper blocks: “Multicolors” and “Multicolors Pastels” with dense colors. They are perfect for cutting perforated shapes or for card making.


For this tutorial, we made the cards in two different sizes. The templates to print, to make it easier to cut out your koinobori , have the following dimensions:

  • Large model > 10cm wide by 14cm long
  • Small model > 6.5cm wide by 10cm long

Also cut out a circle , from the thick plain paper, to make the “ cheeks/cheekbones ” of the fish.
Then glue the Japanese paper scales and " cheeks " to the bodies of the fish, as in the photos. Then draw the eye with a black marker.


To perfect your card, cut a strip of masking tape that you will apply to the end of your card, at the level of the head of your koinobori . We used masking tape with traditional Japanese patterns which harmonize perfectly with our colorful range!

If you want to mount the carp on a rod, cut a second strip of masking tape, matching that of the carp you want to put on a rod. Place your card and your rod side by side and place your strip of masking tape astride the card and the rod.

TADA Your Japanese paper koinobori card is ready!


I hope you enjoyed this tutorial series around kodomo no hi and inspired you with some colorful creations this month of May.

Did you notice the ceramic pots used for the styling of this photo series? They were made by my talented friend, Tania Zaoui whose work you can discover on her Instagram account @taniazaoui

I will see you very soon for new articles about creative hobbies and Japan.

See you soon,



What do you think of these little koinobori cards?
What is your favorite tutorial from this series?

Tell us more below in the comments!

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