X is for X-Ray Fish

Another major project completed! With today's x-ray fish, I now have a kid-friendly animal craft for each letter of the alphabet.  

Creating an x-ray fish was a bit of a challenge. Step 1 was learning more about this interesting fish. Step 2 was deciding what media to use to show the translucent skin of the x-ray fish. Once I settled on vellum, it was just a matter of sketching, coloring, and layering. Affiliate links below. 

X is for X-Ray Fish



Start by finding a picture of an x-ray fish to use as a reference. On a piece of scratch paper, sketch the body shape, along with the position of the eye, backbone, and internal organs. 

Cut out your sketched fish, then trace it onto a piece of vellum. Cut it out and set it aside. Use the vellum scraps to cut a backbone. I used the microtip scissors, but using scalloped pinking shears is faster, easier, and more effective. Next, cut out the the fish's organs. Treat the brain, digestive tract, and everything else in there as one piece. Finally, cut out an eye. 

By the way, I didn't notice that I'd shaped the caudal fine (tail) incorrectly until after taking this photo. Fortunately, it was a very easy fix. 

Use a yellow colored pencil to add a band of color to the fins, as shown below. Then, use a black colored pencil to color in the center of the eye, the bans on the fins, and the small spot on the body behind the eye. With a white colored pencil, color in the outer portion of the eye and the tips of the fins. Then lightly draw ribs and the lines on the tail. Finally, use a brown colored pencil to lightly add shadowing between each of the vertebrae. 

Now, adhere the pieces together. I recommend vellum adhesive or a spray adhesive. If you don't have either one, spread a very small amount of liquid glue with your fingers. It will show through vellum, so try to keep it to areas where it will best be hidden (behind the eye, fins, backbone, etc). 

The slightly darker areas you can see on my x-ray fish are actually fingerprints, not adhesive. They weren't visible until I put the pieces onto true black cardstock and scanned (as opposed to the poorly lit photo of the pieces sitting on cheap black construction paper). The fingerprints don't really bother me, but if you want a pristine x-ray fish (or just want to feel extra fancy), consider wearing these. Or, if you ever need to surreptitiously collect someone's fingerprints, encourage them to make an x-ray fish and then abscond with the finished project. 


  1. Never heard of this guy before ... but he is pretty awesome!

  2. Looks great!:)

    Vellum is always tricky to photograph and use the right adhesive.


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