How to Make an Easy Octopus for Kids

STUNNING. That is my description for the gorgeous picture book Shy Ones by Simona Ciraolo which inspired us to create an easy octopus watercolor project. If you are needing some fresh ideas for art under the sea and a precious literacy tie-in, you have to check out this quick and easy project!


The illustrations alone in this book are enough to stop you in your tracks. Vibrant and bright colors against soft hues of blue for the sea invite you in for a visual treat. And the story is such a sweet read that helps children explore shyness and making friends. This was a perfect book for my daughter before she began the school year at a new school for Pre-K. It is still one of her favorites for bedtime.


We used a simple template for Maurice (the octopus) that you can download by clicking the box below and print onto card stock.

Next, pull out the following supplies:

  • 12″ x 18″ or 9″ x 12″ watercolor paper (if you want to add the salt to make fun textures, then you need watercolor paper, otherwise you can just use white drawing paper)
  • Template printed onto white card stock
  • Peach liquid tempera paint or crayon
  • Scissors & glue
  • Oil pastels or construction paper crayons
  • Turquoise liquid watercolor
  • Large brush
  • Kosher salt


  1. Paint the octopus template a peach color. Set aside to dry.

2. Draw coral and other simple ocean details at the bottom of the watercolor paper with bright colored oil pastels.

3. Paint over the whole paper (including the drawing) with turquoise or blue watercolor. We used liquid watercolors for this. They tend to be much easier for my 4 year old to work with because she can just dip her chubby brush right into the vibrant color she needs.

4. Sprinkle salt over the wet watercolor paint. As it dries, it creates a really cool texture that mimics bubbles in the ocean. Adding salt to regular white paper doesn’t work as well as using the textured watercolor paper.

5. Cut & glue the octopus to the background once everything is dry!

Mari’s (4 years old) Maurice ?

If you enjoyed this book and/or story time project, please tag us on Instagram: @picturebooksandpeonies or #picturebooksandpeonies OR leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I accept the Privacy Policy