Yes, I realize that making coffins out of cardstock is bizarre. But not anywhere near as bizarre as Tamponcrafts.com. I know you are going to go check that website out now. Just be sure to come on back and read this afterwards, ya hear? Now, on with today's lesson! But first, a little background.
Yesterday, my two daughters and I were at our local neighborhood festival. The festival is great fun, but unfortunately, everything ends up being a complete ripoff and I'm an accountant so you all know I'm cheap. Somehow my 8-year-old, C, finds the Fish Game. You know the game I am talking about. The player pays an Exorbitant Sum to toss ping pong balls over a whole mess of drinking glasses. If a ball lands in a glass, the lucky contestant wins a fish in a plastic baggie! Yippee!!!
Now the last time we were at a fair and played this game, we ended up wasting a whole bunch of money. Of course nobody won any fish and I had to hear moaning and groaning about it for the rest of the day. My older daughter, N, is old enough to know that these games are a waste of money. However, C spent an inordinate amount of time whining about her lack of a fish with a fair market value of approximately 25¢, and I vowed that we would never play that stupid game again!
I'm sure you can see where this is going.
Fast forward back to yesterday, and C is begging for $2 to try her hand at the Fish Game. I had to admit, the going rate of $2 for 5 balls was much less atrocious than I expected. "Okay, fine," I agreed, "But don't ask me for any more money! Is that clear?" C agreed and dashed off to waste my money while N and I remained in the line for the ferris wheel.
Of course, C came back empty-handed. "Can I try?" asked N. Seriously? I decided I should give $2 to N just to be fair. "You can get 20 balls for $5!" announced C. For real? Why wasn't I informed of this the first time? "OKAY! I will give you $5 because it's a better deal. But that is IT! No more Fish Game!" N and C agreed and rushed off together while I held our places in the ferris wheel queue (oh joy!).
To my surprise, N and C each returned with a water-filled plastic baggie containing a small goldfish. "You WON?" I asked in disbelief. "Yeah!" replied N. "And I was THIS close to winning an aquarium!" Thank goodness that didn't happen, because you know who would have to cart the aquarium around the fairgrounds for the remainder of the day! "Mine is named Slippery," said C. Slippery was an adorable name for a fish, and I had to admit that Slippery himself (herself?) was kind of cute as well.
Slippery and Slurpee (N's fish) tagged along with us for the remainder of the day at the fair. On the way h0me, we stopped at the grocery store to procure some fish food for our new friends. I had two vases that could be used for fish tanks until we got some real ones at the pet store, which was already closed for the day. Exhausted from a long day of fun, we all went to sleep.
The next morning, I went to check on the fish. Slippery was at the bottom of the vase. I tapped on the glass. Nothing. I reached my hand in and felt what was undoubtedly a fish corpse. Poor Slippery. I went to check on Slurpee, who was still alive for the time being. I dreaded having to tell C about Slippery's untimely demise. The girls were still asleep so I read the newspaper, had some coffee and waited.
A short while later, it was time. "MOMMY! Come here!" I heard C calling from upstairs. She already knew. "I think my fish is dead," said C. "Yes," I replied, "He is dead." Of course, C shed a few tears. "You know those fish they give out at the fair are going to be cheap," I reasoned. "Maybe Slippery was sick. Or, he could be one of those fish that belongs in a river or lake and can't live in a bowl." I silently cursed the idiot who thought it would be a good idea to use live animals as game prizes. This was obviously the brainchild of some man who wouldn't have to explain to his children that the prize kicked the bucket, because that's Woman's Work!
Once C stopped crying, I asked her what she thought we should do with Slippery. I told her that I definitely didn't want to flush him/her down the toilet and wondered aloud whether we should bury Slippery out back in the dirt where C is growing pumpkin plants. You know, the Circle of Life and all. C didn't like that idea. "How about I find a nice box that we can bury Slippery in?" I asked. C nodded and I set off to find a teeny tiny box, because there was no way in hell I was going to attempt to dig some giant hole in the unyielding Northern Virginia earth to bury a shoe box or some other oversized type of makeshift casket.
Of course, I couldn't find any teeny tiny boxes so I was left with no choice but to embark on my first (and hopefully last) fish coffin project. Fortunately, I did all the work so you don't have to. Below, I will demonstrate how to make your very own fish coffin. You're welcome.
1) Gather your materials. You will need: Cardstock paper, scissors, marker, tape and fabric scraps (not shown). You will also need a distraught child, a dead fish and a shovel (not shown either). Optional: stickers, glitter, jewels, etc. to affix to the outside of the coffin. C opted out of the extra flair because she wanted to watch Full House instead. Go figure. Also optional: sentimental objects to place into the coffin with the dead fish (suggestions: flowers, items from fish tank, Old Bay Seasoning - tee hee!)
2) Trim cardstock to size (consider the dimensions of the deceased and cut accordingly). Fold two parallel edges to create two sides of the fish coffin as shown. Make sure the height of both sides are reasonably equal as we don't want a lopsided fish coffin!
3) Trim the length of the coffin as necessary and fold corners over as shown below. This will help you determine where to fold the other two sides of the coffin (see step 4).
4) Fold the other two sides over using the folded corners in step 3 as a guide:
5) Bring two sides together and fold corners in as shown to connect the two sides together. Repeat for the other three corners.
6) Fold the corners over and attach them to the sides with tape to complete the bottom part of the coffin.
7) Repeat step 6 for the other three corners and you're done with the hardest part! Yay you!
8) Cut a lid out of the remaining cardstock and affix lid to coffin with tape as shown:
9) Now for the fun (?) part! Have distraught child decorate the outside of the coffin as a way to express his or her grief. You will probably want to remove the lid for this part. Do not be alarmed if your child would rather watch Full House or some other TV show that you can't stand. This simply means that your child has moved on to the next step in the grieving process! Whatever that is.
10) Cut a piece of fabric to line the bottom of the coffin, along with a smaller bit of fabric to use as a blanket (only the liner is shown in the illustration below).
11) Insert dead fish. Your child may want to pry him/herself away from the TV to help you perform this step!
12) Cover the deceased with the blanket. It looks so peaceful! Too bad it doesn't have any eyelids.
13) Insert sentimental objects as desired. C chose a peach carnation, because "peach is a more peaceful color when you're dead." Out of the mouths of babes!
14) Tape the lid shut, dig a hole and insert coffin, covering with dirt as necessary. Side note: siblings who did not want to watch the burial may have a change of heart, requiring an exhumation of the deceased. Please plan accordingly. :)
Epilogue: Later that day, C and I went to the pet store while N was attending a birthday party. I ended up spending $83 on an aquarium for the girls to share, three more fish, water treatment solution and three pimp-ass decorations for the inside of the aquarium. Welcome to the family, Molly, Tiger and Lemonade. You were worth every penny.