November 16, 2018

Jonah and the Whale Air Plant Holder

While the story of Jonah and the Whale is read primarily on Yom Kippur, its lesson of mercy is timeless and applicable all year long. In this spirit of being evergreen, here’s a Jonah and the Whale project that you can display well beyond the High Holy Days. We’re painting clay pots blue to look like whales, attaching felt tails, and placing tillandsia air plants on top of them to look like a shower of water coming from the blowhole. And where’s Jonah? He’s hidden in the whale, as you’ll see.

Supplies needed:

Clay pot
Light blue acrylic paint
White acrylic paint
Black acrylic paint
Blue felt
Tacky glue or hot glue
Tillandsia air plant
Small action figure toy


1. Paint a clay pot with light blue acrylic paint. You may need several coats to completely cover the clay surface.

2. For the mouth, paint an approximately four-inch wide rectangle of white on the brim of the clay pot. I actually slanted the sides to create more of a smile shape.

3. Using black and white paint — or paint markers if you prefer — draw eyes on either side of the mouth. I added smile lines to the edge of the mouth.

4. Cut out two identical tail shapes from a piece of blue felt, along with two fin shapes. 

5. Glue the two tail pieces to each other with tacky or hot glue to double the thickness, and glue the wide end of the tail to the clay pot. Fan out the tip of the tail.

6. Glue the fin pieces to the brim of the pot, right in front of the tail section.

7. Hide a small action figure underneath the whale. This step is optional since no one will see it, but it’s fun that only you know Jonah is there. I used my figurine of Jonathan from New Kids on the Block.

8. Position a tillandsia air plant on the hole of the clay pot. If you wish, you can glue the plant to the pot to secure it. Mist the plant at least once a week to keep it fresh.


Jonathan Fong is the author of “Flowers That Wow” and “Parties That Wow,” and host of “Style With a Smile” on YouTube. You can see more of his do-it-yourself projects at his website.