Step by Step on How To Turn Pool Noodles Into Coral Reefs

Step by Step on How To Turn Pool Noodles Into Coral Reefs

Step by Step on How To Turn Pool Noodles Into Coral Reefs

All you need are foam noodles and some supplies to pull off a fantastically decorated party. Make a coral reef display in no time! Follow this step-by-step guide on how to turn pool noodles into coral reefs right now! You don’t want to miss this tutorial.

Perfect for Any Sea-Theme Occasion

Whether you’re hosting a Little Mermaid party or a Finding Nemo-inspired event, coral reefs are perfect additions to sea-themed parties. After all, they’re one of the most important ecosystems in the sea. Besides their real-life importance, they’re great party decor. The best part is that coral reefs are simple to create with pool noodles. Cut and shape foam noodles to customize your DIY reef. If you need assistance, we’re here to help! Follow our step-by-step guide now.

Tools and Supplies

Stylistically, every coral reef is different, and you can customize your reef with specific colors. In this case, the reef includes red, orange, blue, and green foam noodles. Feel free to use your desired colors!

Here are the tools and supplies you need:

  • One 4-foot x 2-foot cardboard box
  • Four orange pool noodles
  • Four green pool noodles
  • Four blue pool noodles
  • Two blue plastic tablecloths
  • One inflatable sea creature
  • Utility knife
  • Wire cutters
  • Metal wire
  • Black Sharpie marker
  • Painter’s tape
  • Clear tape
  • Optional: Decorations to place around the coral reef (like seashells, plastic fish, or inflatable sea creatures)
  • Optional: Cutting board to slice pool noodles on


Follow these instructions to complete the coral reef.

Making the Coral: Red and Green

  • Mark three evenly spaced lines on top of each pool noodle. Then, use painter’s tape to wrap around the noodle, starting at the marked line. Leave 12 inches at the bottom of the noodle free of tape. The goal is to create a spiral with the painter’s tape.
  • Use the utility knife to cut the noodle following the tape lines.
  • The top of the foam noodle should have a spiral-like pasta shape (similar to Fusilli or Rotini)

Making the Coral: Straight Blue

  • You need three blue foam noodles.
  • Following the foam noodle’s lines, cut 3 inches down the length of the noodle. You should have five tabs.
  • Next, bend down the tabs to separate them from each other.

Making the Coral: Orange

  • About 1 centimeter apart, cut two equal lines halfway through the foam noodle.
  • Cut between the lines on both ends and take out the center material.
  • Repeat the step on the opposite side of the pool noodle.

Making the Coral: Blue Branch

  • Cut one blue foam noodle into 1-inch-thick pieces.
  • Thread noodle pieces onto a wire, making a branch.
  • To secure the branch, bend the end of the wire back into the noodle pieces. Be sure to use wire cutters to bend the material.


Once you create your coral, it’s time to assemble the pieces into the box. This way, you’ll create the display. Feel free to arrange noodles and decorations however you like. Here’s a rundown on the assembly process:

  1. Wrap the cardboard box with the blue plastic tablecloths. Having two tablecloths disguises the box’s brown color.
  2. Then, cut various-sized holes on top of the box. This is where you’ll place secure foam noodles. Make sure the holes are smaller than the circumference of the noodle so it has a tight fit.
  3. Stick the pool noodles into the holes and create your desired appearance. For example, make patterns alternating red, green, blue, and orange coral.
  4. In the front of the box, poke small holes to fit the blue branch wires. Secure the wire ends into the box. You can also have blue branches near the coral.

Completing Decor

You can find many fish species around coral reefs. Grouper, clownfish, snapper, and lobster rely on coral reefs for food and shelter. All this to say, coral reefs are important to sea life. So why not incorporate some sea creatures into your DIY reef?

Place your inflatable sea creature between corals (make sure it’s not hidden). You can secure the creature with clear tape.

Furthermore, consider attaching seashells, plastic fish, or inflatable sea creatures to the structure. Use squishy puffer balls as sea urchins and place them between foam noodles. Attach decorations in front of the box too.

Ultimately, the goal is to enhance the coral reef with fun, sea-themed components.

What To Keep in Mind

Pool noodles are light, so your coral reef will be a lightweight structure. The coral reef may blow away in high-wind environments. Consider securing outdoor coral reefs with a hidden weight. For example, a small sandbag can prevent the structure from moving.

Remember to choose a weight of the right size. Something too heavy can collapse the box. Conversely, something too light won’t secure the coral reef at all. Find a happy middle!

For indoor events, it’s still essential to preserve the structural integrity of the coral reef. Deter guests from picking and pulling at the coral reef. Ideally, you don’t want anything to disrupt the display and make it fall apart.

Despite the colorful and fun nature, please remember that your DIY coral reef is a display and not a toy. Maintain its appearance in all settings.

Can You Repurpose the Foam Noodles?

Although the most common application for pool noodles is for flotation while swimming, they serve many purposes. In this case, they’re suitable for DIY coral reefs. Since this is a niche decoration, you may not need it after your event. Instead of tossing the display away, you can repurpose the foam noodles.

Repurpose some of the pieces as household items. For instance, create door bumpers, rod organizers, and boundary markers. Remember to disassemble the display and use the foam noodles for various applications.

Besides the noodles’ household versatility, people repurpose them because they’re 100 percent recyclable. Most pool noodles are polyethylene foam. A specialized machine can melt down foam noodles and use the substance to create new products.

Keep in mind that not all recycling facilities can handle polyethylene foam. So call your local facility before bringing the material. You can also research facilities in your area that specialize in polyethylene foam.

Make Your Event Stand Out

As mentioned, coral reef decorations are perfect for sea-themed events. Make your event stand out by making your guests feel “under the sea.” By following our step-by-step guide on how to turn pool noodles into coral reefs, you can create various reefs. Pick a color scheme, add different sea creatures, and use the structure as a sign. The possibilities are endless!

From the pool to DIY projects, Honor Trading Company offers superior foam noodles. Purchase our green pool noodles in bulk to create the ultimate coral reef! Order pool noodles today to receive fast and free delivery. If you have any questions, contact our team today.

Step by Step on How To Turn Pool Noodles Into Coral Reefs

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