Some projects turn out exactly the way I want them to and make me smile. Other projects turn out better than I even expected and make me super happy. And then there are those projects every once in awhile that turn out SO freakin’ cool that it makes me giggle-like-a-little-school-girl excited, and this is one of them!
I hung a fish bowl from the ceiling of my office in a gorgeous DIY macrame hanger!
Yes, you heard that right. I suspended a fish bowl from the ceiling and added 3 adorable, beautifully-colored pets to the family! Meet my new office assistants…
The inspiration for this project came from a hanging planter tutorial from my blog crush, A Beautiful Mess. They used plastic fish bowls and chain to suspend some adorable planters from the ceiling, and I knew I had to have them in my office. Fish bowls… how genius!
Once I started planning the details of this project, my mind started to wander… “What if I actually used the fish bowls for FISH instead of plants? Can you hang fish from a ceiling? Would they be scared they were going to plummet to their death? Or would they appreciate their stylish digs?” You should hear the conversations going on in my head sometimes…
It took awhile to figure out the logistics of how I would safely hang the fish bowl from the ceiling, and in the end I settled on an easy DIY macrame hanger, which happens to be very on-trend right now anyway. It’s funny how things from the past always come back in style, huh? Macrame is nothing more than tying a bunch of knots together, and I promise this project is SUPER simple to do. I’ve included plenty of pictures so you know exactly where and what to knot, but if you have any questions at all, just leave a comment below!
- 50 feet nylon cord (found at the hardware store and comes in all kinds of fun colors!)
- glass or plastic fish bowl (I used a 1/2 gallon glass bowl)
- ceiling hook
* Ignore the round metal piece in the picture above… I didn’t end up using it!
Cut eight pieces of cord that are each 5 feet long. Gather all eight pieces of cord and tie a large knot at one end, leaving 1″ – 2″ loose at the top.
Separate the cord into four sections, with two pieces of cord in each section.
Take one section and tie the two pieces of cord into a double knot, leaving a 2″ gap between the first large knot you tied.
Repeat with the remaining three sections of rope.
Take one piece of cord from a section and combine it with a piece of cord from a neighboring section by tying a double knot 2″ away from the previous knots you tied.
Repeat this process for the remaining sections, using one piece of cord from two different sections.
Now repeat steps 5 and 6. Take one piece of cord from a section and combine it with a piece of cord from a neighboring section by tying a double knot 2″ away from the previous knots you tied. Repeat this process for the remaining sections.
Place your fish bowl on top of the knotted cords, centered on the original large knot you tied. Pull the loose ends of cord up around the fish bowl. The bowl should safely rest in the knotted area.
Tie a knot combing all eight pieces again about 10″ – 12″ above the top of the fish bowl. Just make sure you leave enough space to pull the bowl in and out for cleaning. Tie another knot at the very end of the loose cords and pull it as tight as you can.
Add a ceiling hook where you want the fish bowl to hang. Slide the hook underneath the top knot, in between the eight pieces of cord. Make sure four pieces of cord are on either side of the hook to hold the hanger in place.
Add your fish and enjoy!
You’ve heard that adding plants to a room will bring life to your space, right? Well these adorable, little fishies do the exact same thing and their bright colors just make me smile every time I walk by. I knew I didn’t have the table space to set a fish bowl in here, but suspending it from the ceiling is a big space saver and, let’s face it… it looks super cool, too!
I gave the hanger and ceiling hook a pretty good tug before adding the fish bowl full of water just to make sure I wouldn’t have a total disaster on my hands. I’m happy to report that it was VERY safe and sound! My boys are older now, but I think this would have been an awesome solution when they were little and wanted to play IN the fish tank every time I turned my back.
I’ll be sharing what is sitting BELOW my new fish friends sometime in the next few weeks. Just a few more odds and ends to finish up first!
I couldn’t wait for Alec and Wyatt to get home from their grandparents’ house this weekend so I could show them the new additions to our family.
“Um, Mom… I thought you said we were NEVER allowed to get fish again? You said you hated cleaning the bowl, and they always die too soon.”
“Well… umm… yeah, but that was before I made this awesome macrame thing that makes them hang up in the air! It’s kind of like Superman or something… Yeah, these fish are flying through the air like super heroes!”
Do you think they bought it? I don’t know, but we’re all loving our new fish friends anyway!
So, tell me what YOU think! Is the idea of a hanging fish bowl totally crazy or totally awesome? Do you have any fish at home? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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Oh this is so cute!! I’ve loved all the things you’ve shared from your office, you are so incredibly creative! What a beautiful space!
Thank you SO much, Maria! This office has been my favorite room to decorate by far! Thanks for following along on the journey. 🙂
I remember my aunt teaching me how to macramé when I was around 10 years old and I would spend hours tying knots and making plant hangers for my mom. The design was more of a twist and we used brown twine though. I love your 3 new pets and how they hang in your office! What a neat way to add some color and happiness to your special place:)
Such a sweet memory! Thank you for sharing, Heather!!
This is some kinda crazy wonderful idea…:) xo
I’ll take crazy wonderful from you any day! 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by, Lucy!
This is the greatest idea ever. I’ll be sharing on my FB page!!
You’re the best, Amy! Thank you!! Have a fantastic week, my friend. 🙂
Did you ever consider that your little “experiment” is doing cruelty to animals??
People with such an simple-hearted attitude really scare me. But as long as you have something for your embarrassing “DIY”-“live for shallow-brained people”-Blog i guess thats fine for you. Maybe next time you an “report” on shooting african elephants for some silly decoration-issues?!
I’m sorry you feel that way, Ella. The fish seem to be pretty happy so far! 🙂
Regardless of fish being intelligent or having feelings, they’re still in a much too small of tank. It sounds like you have dead fish often because you don’t realize just how much upkeep they are; in this case, I, too, feel bad for the fish.
I like your creative thinking however; this is NOT a suitable home for goldfish. For starters, it is too small, they NEED waterplants and a little pump for extra oxygen in the water. Did you know goldfish could live up to fourty years when housed right?
Thank you for the tips, Ilse! These fish are actually tetra fish, not goldfish, so we’re still learning what will be best for them. Thanks for stopping by!
FYI, the requirements for all fish are the same, no matter the species. And though this is pretty from a design perspective and seems easy to care, this is not a good way to keep live animals, sorry. That is, in order of importance: no oxygen in the water, no filtration of noxious waste, chemical additives in the water, no shelter, no space, (and if this setup is anywhere near a window) algae will be inevitable.
Probably your previous failures were due to this setup. To maintain it you will need to change the water very frequently and this is at the least disruptive and at the worst fatal (very hard to control water quality in such a small volume of water, overdoing or under-applying chemicals to condition the water is tricky business)… Now that I’ve warned you the tetras may very well live for a ‘long’ time in this setup, but you should consider it animal cruelty nonetheless. If you want to keep the bowl, I would empty it so that the water level is at the widest point, and exchange your tetras for a single betta. Fish bowls can work for bettas (fighting fish) for short periods of time as their mouths are adapted to breathing at the surface, but either way these are very poor living conditions. Sadly, the aquarium store where you bought the fish in the first place should have told you all this, to avoid this situation in the first place. It’s so sad cause these are living creatures, not to mention your kids will get attached and it can be emotional when they die… Fish bowls shouldn’t be sold at all in my opinion, but they do make lovely terrariums : ) maybe consider that approach instead?
Thank you for your expertise, Jenny. 🙂
If you switch to a Beta, note that they commit suicide with open lid bowls.
Rules of fish: 1 fish to every 5-10 gallons of water unless under an inch. For every inch over 1, add 5 gallons more.
Its about time someone brought macrame back, so many have such a prejudice against it and I just love it. First thing I thought about though was cleaning that fish bowl so when your boys mentioned you hated that part of “fish” for pets, I had to chuckle. But smaller bowls are easier to clean, even if you have to do it more often. I think your new office companions are worth the effort. 🙂
Macrame is definitely back! I can remember having macrame plant hangers in our living room and bathroom growing up, and I love having this in my house now too. And yes, if I had things my way, the fish would clean their bowl themselves, but since I don’t see that happening anytime soon, I looks to be my job! It’s well worth it though to have such a cheerful addition to my office. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Pamela!
This is so whimsical and fun. You are brave to try it, but it turned out great!!
Thank you, Val! I’m a crazy risk-taker… what can I say? Lol 🙂 So glad you could stop by and check it out!
ooohhh! Macrame is awesome, but you took this to another level!(in a very good way!) Your so brave! I would panic every minute hoping it hasn’t fall off! And love your kids reaction 🙂
I am sharing this on my FB TOO!
Thank you, Yasmina!! I tested it VERY well before putting that fish up there! Wouldn’t want a swimming pool in my office. 😉 Thanks so much for stopping by!
Love this! It’s a very fun way to house fish, and will look very cool in your office. However, I think it would just end up being a very messy cat toy at my house… Could be interesting! I’m sure they’d love it!
Haha! Very interesting, I’m sure! Thanks for stopping by, Kristi! 🙂
That is SUCH a cool idea! Sharing it on G+
Thank you, Katie!! You’re the best!
I love this idea, Liz! Just love it!
Macramé reminds me of my grandmother. She used to do it all the time. 🙂
Such a small tank should be very easy to maintain, I’m sure they are getting lots of TLC from you.
What a sweet memory of your grandmother! Mine was always working on plastic canvas or embroidery projects. I have a ton of things she made! And yes, my sweet little fishies are quite loved. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Lyuba!
Wow – I absolutely adore this!! I don’t know much about tetras, but I’m sure beta (fighting) fish would do just fine in this type of environment. Love your blog!
Thank you, Katie!! I’m so glad you could stop by and check it out!
NO they would not! Shame on you for thinking this is ok to keep ANY fish in! Bettas are tropical fish that need heaters and filters. Pets are not decor for your entertainment. This is cruel and shouldn’t be considered a fashion statement. If you are concerned about table space, don’t get a fish! You’re teaching your kids that pets are just a thing and are for your entertainment and don’t require care.
I like your blog and I like the hanging bowl idea, I just don’t think this is a suitable living environment for fish. You are giving them no stimulation whatsoever. Can you imagine being kept in a cage and having nothing to do 24/7? They need some kind of plants or little structures to hide in. And I really don’t know how you’re going to change the water once a week, when it’s hanging from the ceiling. I think you should have stuck to the hanging plant idea. I like the macrame idea but seeing people use fish for decoration makes me really sad and uncomfortable. I really hope you rethink this.
It looks beautiful, sorry for the drama your getting about it! xoxo
Thank you, Marie! You can’t win ’em all. 😉
Such a pretty idea. I love it and the fish look so pretty. Thanks for the inspiration!
Thank you, Abbey! That means a lot! 🙂
Liz! You are so talented!! I LOVE this idea! So creative and beautiful! It may not be the place to say this but I appreciate your kindness and positivity on the responses on some of the other comments. People have been using fish bowls for decades and I love how you displayed those beautiful fish! I think they will get even more interaction and attention in your home because they’re displayed this way versus a fish bowl sitting on a shelf. It’s so inviting to walk up and see them! My kids LOVE beta fish and I already made the macramé planters so I may have to get some pretty, colorful fishies! LOVE what you did, LOVE your blog, LOVE your attitude! xoxoxo
Mallory, you made my day! Sometimes it’s easy to laugh off the negativity, and other times it just gets to you. I really appreciate you taking the time to show some love on this post! Being surrounded by such an awesome blogging community makes the tough days a lot easier. Love YOU, Love YOUR blog, and LOVE your gorgeous new photos I just took a peek at! It looked like you both had so much fun! 🙂
Oh MY GOSH! This is so freaking cute/fun/awesome. I love it. I would probably spend too much time staring at them, but could you blame me? I love the twist 🙂
Trust me, I do the same thing, Colleen! Anytime I get bored answering emails, I usually end up watching the fish! So glad you love the idea, and thank you for stopping by! 🙂
This was pinned on Pinterest and makes me sad that it’s circulating so much. Love the macrome, hate the cruelty. Swap out the died/painted tetras for an airplant – and get a gigantic tank for your office so your fish can school and have even more impact on your office. Manza, Italy banned this practice of fish in bowls because of the cruelty.
First off, I LOVE this idea. I have been wanting to get a beta fish, but I have cats, so an open fish bowl has been out of the question, but this idea solves my problems! It will look innovative and stop my cats’ curiosity from getting the better of my new beta. However, I just have to say, I would not recommend putting tetras (especially ones that have been dyed!) in this type of environment. They need a large space and filtered and heated water to live. Putting them in this bowl will just end with sadness as you discover dead fish after dead fish. However, bettas thrive in this environment! In fact, they live in shallow puddles in their natural habitat and prefer small spaces with minimal disturbances! And they are pretty and fun to look at. I highly recommend getting one of those next time:)
I don’t mean to be intruding on your project and I don’t think you deserve all of the backlash you are getting, its an honest mistake. But thank you for this idea! I plan to try it out very soon and I’m really excited!
Thank you for the great suggestions, Malorie, and for your kindness. It is much appreciated! 🙂
Hi Liz! Just stumbled onto your blog from the lovely palace of Pinterest. I really enjoyed this post and am excited to try something similar with hanging plants in my living room. Do you have any suggestions for the type of hook you secured in the ceiling? I’m always nervous about the right way to secure things into walls and ceilings. Thanks for any tips! 😀
Welcome to Love Grows Wild, Stacy! I am thrilled to have you here! I just used a basic ceiling hook from the hardware store and drilled a small hole into the ceiling to get the hook started, then twisted it into place. It’s held up beautifully so far!
Love the hanging fish bowl tutorial! What type of fish do you have inside the bowl?
Hey Amber! These are neon tetra. 🙂
The fish are beautiful what kind are they?
what size diameter nylon chord did you use?
… I can’t remember!! It was a pretty standard size. Maybe 1/8″? Sorry I can’t be more help!
Thank you for this tutorial, it was just what I needed. I used it here: https://withcraftsandlace.wordpress.com/2015/06/09/hanging-planter-inspired-by-shibori-fabrics/
this is super cool I’m going to do this today! I recently hung a macrame moss terrarium in my bathroom, but this takes macrame to a whole new amazing level
this is a great idea and I would love to try it but, is it close enough to the ground that you can take it down to clean and feed the fish?
Looks great to me, and I don’t see the cruelty here. I think some people just have tight knots in their undies.. Or they wanted u to leave the fish in the pet store to die along with all the other thousands.. Crazy people today, always finding the negative. ? Smh.. Next time I’d leave out the animals. Keep yourself in the clear from the crazy hippies! But great job, I love it! I seen one on TV where they had a shelf hanging from the ceiling then the bowl on top but I thought too much weight.. So this is the perfect idea I needed, thank you!
I think your previous attempt at fish keeping was unsuccessful because the bioload was way too high for the space you had. I’m not going to say “Eviiilllll bowls are animal cruellllltyyyy!!!” but three fish is definitely too many for that small bowl, especially considering that you don’t have anything to filter the water with.
I think your best bet is a single guppy. A guppy makes a good choice because it’s pretty, it’s hardy, it’s tiny, it has a very small bioload, and it doesn’t need a heater unlike a betta.
As an illustration of a guppy’s hardiness: I too have a guppy in a tiny plastic tank of 1.8 liters right now. It was sick and listless, and it was hiding behind the filter, so I isolated it. Amazingly, the guppy is now quite active and seems to be recovering.
To help improve the water quality of such a small body of water, you’ll need water plants, low light ones preferably, because you won’t have a growing light to help them grow. Plants that I have experience with and can recommend are anubias nana and creeping jenny, but there are other low light plants. Since your fish is in a bowl, I can also recommend using a spiderplant; place only the roots in the water and keep the foliage out of the water as if that bowl were a vase; your plant will love it and your fish will also be thankful.
Otherwise, I think your hanging bowl is quite creative! Good luck with the fish keeping and make sure to feed them very little for the sake of water quality.
Oh, I forgot to say this in my previous comment, but you should consider tossing 1 or 2 aquarium snails into your bowl. They are usually considered pests in an average aquarium, because they breed like crazy and get stuck in the filter, but in your set up they are an asset that will help clean up any debris and leftover food that your fish can’t get to, so they help to keep the water clean.
Remember that fish keeping is all about water quality, and water quality is all about bioload. How many animals can I put in a given body of water without the water becoming dirty/toxic with waste? If you balance your ecosystem well enough, you won’t even have to do water changes. I haven’t changed the water for my sick guppy in weeks, I only add water that’s been evaporated.