Easy Do-It-Yourself Fish Extender Holder

Easy Do-It-Yourself Fish Extender Holder

Disney Cruise Line fans have been atwitter the past week as they pour over the announcement of the early 2018 itineraries. To get you ready for your 2018 sailings let’s make sure you are ahead of the game with our instructions for an easy do-it-yourself Fish Extender holder.

Before we get into our fish extender holder here is a brief summary of the itinerary announcement:

Port Canaveral

The Disney Fantasy and Dream will depart from Port Canaveral for three-, four- and five-night cruises to the Eastern and Western Caribbean. Starting on February 8, the Disney Wonder will be alternating three-, four- and seven-night itineraries as well. Every sailing will include a day at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.


The Disney Magic will start 2018 with cruises from Miami on four- and five- night sailings to the Bahamas and five-night sailings to the Western Caribbean. All sailings will also visit Disney’s Castaway Cay.

San Diego

In April and May, the Disney Wonder will depart from San Diego for cruises to Baja and the Mexican Riviera. There will be combination of two-, three- and five-night sailings. Friday departures will be two-night ultimate weekend getaways.

San Juan

For three cruises in January, itineraries from San Juan, Puerto Rico will sail on the Disney Wonder to the Southern Caribbean with combinations of stops in Bonaire, Coracao, Aruba, St. Lucia, Martinique, Antigua and St. Kitts. These cruises will be seven nights and include two days at sea.


Easy Do-It-Yourself Fish Extender Holder

Disney Cruise Line vacations are a unique experience. While everyone talks about the world class cuisine and the top shelf customer service, there are simpler things which make Disney Cruises a cut above the rest. For us there is a lot of excitement in planning for our Fish Extender exchange.

We start by making our own easy do-it-yourself Fish Extender holder. Sure, we could buy our holder on Etsy… and don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing holders there. However, depending on how many pockets you need you could pay over $50.00 for a pre-made holder. Instead we paid approximately $15.00 for the material and had a fun Sunday afternoon ramping up the excitement for our upcoming cruise.


  • ½ yard of a base color (This should be a sturdy material – sturdy enough to let the holder keep its shape but soft enough to sew through.)
  • ½ yard of pocket color which complements the base color
    • You can do different colors for each pocket if you want. If you do, I suggest heading to the remnants bin for cheap fabric as the pockets are not very large.
  • 1 wooden dowel
  • Sturdy ribbon or cord
  • 1 ream of ribbon
  • On hand items
    • Permanent marker
    • Scissors
    • Ruler
    • Elmer’s Glue
    • A plastic grocery bag for each pocket
    • Iron
    • Sewing Machine: If you do not have a sewing machine, or access to one, this will be a very difficult task. The material is VERY thick in places and would make hand-sewing very hard… but not impossible.

Our total cost for this was $14.73 (including tax) at JoAnn Fabrics which included a coupon from their website for 50% off all non-clearance fabric.

SIDE NOTE: JoAnn Fabrics almost always has a coupon on their website or mobile app. Make sure to check before you go, you never know what you will find. Sometimes their coupons will be for one item only. No problem, they are usually more than willing to let you split your purchases in one visit so that you can take full advantage of the discount. If not, buy one piece of fabric then return to buy the other. It’s well worth the savings.


Below are the measurements we used to make our holder:

Dowel 13”
Cord 2’
Top Ribbon 10 ½”
Pocket Ribbon 12”
Circles for Pocket Name 3” diameter

Base Fabric (Use leftover fabric for pocket initials)

Easy Do-It-Yourself Fish Extender Holder

Pocket Fabric

Easy Do-It-Youself Fish Extender Holder


  1. Cut base pattern
  2. Cut circles for pocket initials from leftover base pattern material
  3. Cut pockets
  4. Saw dowel to length
  5. Cut ribbon
    1. Top ribbon
    2. Pocket ribbons
  6. Fold base color in half
    1. This makes the base even stronger
    2. If there is a pattern on the base color make sure the pattern is inside the fold
  7. Sew around edges ½” in from edge.
    1. Leaving one of the short edges unsewed
  8. Turn inside out
  9. Iron
  10. Place top of top ribbon 1” from edge of unsewed edgeEasy Do-It-Yourself Fish Extender Holder
  11. Sew top of ribbon in place
  12. Fold 1” of unsewed edge over (above the top of ribbon) and sew leaving room for the dowel to slide through.
    1. Include the bottom edge of the ribbon when sewingEasy Do-It-Youself Fish Extender Holder
  13. Fold all sides of pocket fabric over ¼” and sew hem
  14. Sew ribbon on top (long) side of pocket fabric
  15. Sew pockets onto base fabric making sure to square up pockets
    1. The measurements of where to place the pockets on the base will depend on the width of the ribbon you used. Instead of doing complicated mathematical equations just eyeball it. Remember, this doesn’t have to be perfect and it’s supposed to be fun.
    2. The reason the pockets are wider at the top is because when you sew the side straight, there will be a slack in the top allowing other guests to fit gifts easily in the pocket.Easy Do-It-Yourself Fish Extender Holder
  16. Write each initial or name on the circles of base color using permanent market.
    1. This helps the givers know which pocket is for adults and children as some give different gifts to different age groups.
  17. Place plastic bags inside each pocket
    1. This allows the glue to dry without the pocket adhering to the base due to excess glue.
  18. Glue circles on center of pockets
  19. Tie cord onto exposed ends of dowel
    1. If you don’t feel the knot it tight enough, hot glue to keep from untying.
  20. Remove the plastic bags once glue is dry
  21. Hang on the Fish Extender outside your cabin room
  22. Have a MAGICAL Disney Cruise Line Vacation!!!

Easy Do-It-Youself Fish Extender Holder

I told you it was easy! Tweet us @MQPodcast and show us your homemade Fish Extender holder.

Sue Nowicki is an alumnae of the 2014/15 Disney Parks Moms Panel. She splits her time between planning her next Walt Disney World vacation and being team mom to ten high-energy volleyball players where she fills the roles of secretary, navigator, head cheerleader, treasurer, athletic trainer and team psychologist. You can follow her on Twitter @JazzinDisneyMom.

You can follow our pixie-dusted journey here: Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for more great Disney and Lifestyle content.
Easy Do-It-Yourself Fish Extender Holder

Disney Cruise Fish Extender Holder

4 thoughts on “Easy Do-It-Yourself Fish Extender Holder

    1. The Fish Extender is the name of a fun gift exchange done between passengers on Disney Cruise Line voyages. The history of the name comes from the ‘fish’ (sometimes it’s a star fish or a seahorse) outside each cabin where the crew leave messages to cabin residents. I highly recommend participating if you are doing a Disney Cruise.

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