Jewish Journal

DIY: Make a Jonah and the Whale tissue box

Photos by Jonathan Fong

One of the stories traditionally told on Yom Kippur is of Jonah and the whale. While the story holds deep spiritual meaning, it also stirs the imagination because, hello, Jonah is swallowed whole by a big fish.

Inspired by this tale, here is a tissue box cover in the form of a whale, with Jonah waving to us from the mouth. The tissues coming out on top look like water vapors bursting from the blowhole.

To make this project easier for you, we’ve created a Jonah graphic that you can download from So even though Jonah spent three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, it won’t take you that long to make one of these tissue boxes.

What you’ll need:

– Tissue box
– Blue paper
– Black paper
– Scissors
– Glue
– Pen
– Graphic of Jonah inside whale’s mouth (Click here to download template)
– Hobby or utility knife



1. Measure the dimensions of the sides and tops of your tissue box. When measuring the top, also take into account the opening for the tissues.



2. Cut pieces of blue paper to the correct measurements. For the top of the box, it is easier to cut two pieces to accommodate the opening.



3. Glue the blue paper to the sides of the tissue box. You can also use a glue stick, paste or spray adhesive if you prefer.



4. Fold a piece of blue paper that is about 4 1/2-by-6 inches on each side. Draw a tailfin on one of the sides with the tip of the fin at the fold.



5. Fold the paper and cut out the tailfin, leaving the fin at the fold intact. It will look a little like a folded, upside down wine glass.



6. Attach the tailfin to one of the smaller ends of the box by splaying out the wide parts of the tail and gluing them to the box.



7. Download the Jonah graphic here and print it onto letter-size paper. Adjust the size of your printout depending on the size of your box.



8. The Jonah graphic is drawn in a whale’s mouth shape. Cut out the entire mouth with Jonah inside and glue it to the other small end of the tissue box.



9. Cut out two 1-inch black circles as the eyes and glue them on either side of the mouth. Not that this whale is anatomically correct, but keep the eyes low.



10. To make the tissue box refillable, cut out an opening flap at the tail end of the whale with a hobby or utility knife.

Jonathan Fong is the author of “Walls That Wow,” “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