I made this easy, no-sew Fish Extender for our Disney Cruise, where I was a guest at the Disney Creators event.
Early in the planning stages for my Disney Cruise, my friend Tessa asked if we should do a Fish Extender gift exchange. I immediately said no, I was too busy. Then I started thinking of all of these cool gift ideas. I’m a total sucker when inspiration strikes. I changed my “no” to a “yes” and hit up the craft store. Step 1? Do all the Fish Extender research. Step 2? Make the actual Fish Extender.
What is a Fish Extender?
A Fish Extender is something that hangs from the little fish or seahorse on the wall beside your cruise stateroom door. The fish and seahorses are used to hold various notes throughout your Disney Cruise, but guests quickly learned they were a perfect place to exchange gifts, too. Fish Extenders take many different forms, but the main commonality is they always have pockets for gifts.
How Do You Participate In A Fish Extender Gift Exchange?
After you book your Disney Cruise, look on Facebook and in various Disney discussion forums for a group or thread for your specific ship and dates. All you will need to do is sign up via that group or forum. Fish Extender groups are typically around ten cabins each, although we participated in a group that contained only six cabins. When you sign up, you will be asked for information such as the ages of any children in your cabin, any special needs or allergies, and favorite characters. With this information, you can make or select gifts for everyone in your Fish Extender group. There are also various types of Fish Extender groups: adults only, magnets, ornaments, kids only, etc. You can join more than one Fish Extender group!
How To Make A No-Sew Fish Extender
You don’t have to make your own Fish Extender. There are some popular options available on Amazon that you can buy and personalize. The Fish Extender I made, however, is pretty much the least expensive option you can find, and it’s one you can make even without craft skills!
To make your own no-sew Fish Extender, you’ll need:
- Small Canvas Bags
- Hot Glue and Glue Gun
- Blue Grosgrain Ribbon
- Blue and Red Vinyl
- Scissors or Digital Cutter
- Clothes Iron and Parchment Paper
I found white canvas bags at my craft store for about $1 each. You’ll need 1 bag for each person participating in the exchange. Start by removing one of the handles from each bag. I cut them off with scissors and then used my seam ripper to remove every last little bit of the handle because I’m Type-A about this stuff. If you’re less neurotic than me you’ll be fine just carefully cutting the handles off.
Line up the bags and use hot glue to attach each remaining handle to the bag above it. The handle on the top bag is what you will use to hang your Fish Extender on your fish or seahorse.
I added two stripes of thin, blue, grosgrain ribbon to the top of each bag, using the sewing lines as my guide. You see that glue dot runner up there? That’s what I used to add the ribbon and I should have used hot glue for this, too. Glue dot runners work so well on satin ribbon, but with grosgrain, hot glue is a better choice. Learn from my mistake!
To finish the bags, I grabbed the Disney Cruise logo and cut it out of red and blue vinyl. I used my digital cutter, but this is simple enough to cut by hand if you don’t have one. You can also ask a favor from a friend who does have one-I promise you know someone with a Cricut or Silhouette! I also cut our names out of white vinyl and added that to the center of the logo for each of us. To keep the vinyl on the pockets I covered it with a sheet of parchment paper and then pressed it with an iron on low heat. This marries the vinyl to the fabric and will keep it from peeling off. There’s no need to use Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) for this since it’s unlikely you’ll be throwing it in the washing machine.
All that’s left to do is hang your Fish Extender by your cabin door and wait for your gifts to arrive!
If you’re looking for some DIY gift ideas, check out my Mickey drawstring backpacks!
I also made some Disney Dream sleep masks!
Want to save this no-sew Fish Extender for later? Click on the photo below to add to Pinterest!