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Pirate Ship

How to make a pirate ship from a cardboard box


  • Cardboard
  • Masking Tape
  • Newspaper & paper mache paste (here is an easy homemade paper mache recipe) OPTIONAL!
  • Scissors
  • Paint
  • Glue
  • 2 sticks for the masts
  • Fabric for the flag


  • Cut out your basic pirate ship shape. We had 5 parts: the bottom, the two sides, the back and a deck. I have included the dimension in a rough sketch for you. Really – they are just approximations. Best to cut your two side panels and the back, tape it all together and then to cut your base and desk to fit your boat. I kept trimming off a little for a good fit!
  • Cut port holes into your sides and back of your DIY Pirate Ship. I used some nail scissors (that I have especially for crafting) – as they have a nice round curve. Tape your sides and back together.
  • Having trimmed your bottom and deck, tape these in too. The deck is quite fragile and is the part that probably benefits the most from the paper mache.
  • Cut out 12 cardboard discs – poke a hole through them. Make sure the stick fits snuggly. Then glue all the discs together with strong (!) glue and finally glue in place on the boat. Add masking tape to secure it (picture doesn’t show the tape, sorry!).
  • Check our easy and low cost paper mache recipe. Cut your paper in lots of small-ish strips. Start adding layers of mache – especially over the “joints”. Secure all the masking tape – try to give extra hold to the deck. Yes it is fiddly, but if you can get a few layers of paper “under the deck” propping it up, then that will give it extra strength.
  • Let dry again and add detail – I painted on some skull and cross bones and anchors. I first drew some on paper, cut them out and traced them on with pencil.
  • Make a sail: I used a rectangular ish piece of black suit fabric. Sewed the edges. Across the top, I left the seam “wider” so I could insert a stick. Near the middle I snipped the fabric, threaded through some string and with that tied the sail to the mast! For the skull and cross bone I stuck on some white felt.