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Seagrass porthole


Seagrasses are an unsung hero of the Australian shoreline. They are flowering plants unlike many of the seaweeds that you find along the tide line. A long time ago they were plants living on the land and eventually made their way into the shallow sea in the same way that the ancestors of some animals like whales, seals and penguins did. 

Since seagrasses are flowering plants they have true leaves, roots and flowers. They need sunlight to make food so they only survive in the shallow seas. There are 57 species around the world and over 30 live under Australian waters.

Seagrasses help to protect the coastline by softening the surge of the waves. They are often described as 'food factories'. Bacteria busy breaking down the seagrass leaves provide lots of food for plankton, nursery fish and other small marine animals. However larger animals that eat seagrass are black swans, dugong and turtles. Many of the fish we eat need to spend some of their time as they grow in these seagrass meadows. 

If you want to know more about the seagrasses that grow around Australia you can see some of the different types on the following webpages:

Seagrass Watch   

Western Port Seagrass Partnership  



Seagrass porthole cont.


What you need:

  • An unwanted biscuit tin
  • Tissue paper (the example shown used tissue from a wad of paper in a new shoe box)
  • Food colouring
  • Craft glue
  • Strips of paper
  • Pastels or another paint if more convenient
  • Light cardboard



Seagrass porthole cont.


What to do:

  • Place tissue paper in the bottom of the tin.
  • Wet the tissue paper with a brush from the glass of water (carefully so as not to break the tissue paper)
  • Sprinkle some blue and green food colouring  in the bottom of the tin so the wet tissue paper takes on the colour.
  • Spread colour carefully using a fully wet paint brush
  • On a dry protected flat area (could be a cutting board) place your strips of paper.
  • Wet the strips with water and repeat the process with food colouring (although you can use the ink used for fountain pens if it is cheaper)
  • Allow leaves to dry and later colour again with a stronger media like pastels or paint
  • Using your light white cardboard, draw fish and snail shapes.
  • Colour and cut shapes
  • Arrange the elements you have selected and prepared in the bottom of the tin.
  • Once you are satisfied with the arrangement glue onto dry tin with craft glue

If it is hard to find a biscuit tin to make your seagrass porthole, you might like to consider an aluminium pie tin.


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