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Picture of How to build a pirate ship
These instructions are for the crafting of a small Styrofoam pirate ship. This is a fun craft that actually floats. It will take some time and plenty of patience, but rest assured that the time you put into it is well worth it.
 
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Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools
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Materials
- 2 Styrofoam blocks (2”x4”x12”)
- Dowel
- Fishing Line
- Gorilla Glue
- Sail Material (old T-shirt)
- Paper Clips

*Substitutions can be made with any common household item that might be laying around the house.

Tools
- Knife/Razor Blade
- Scissors
- Ruler/Tape measure
- Pen or Marker
- Stapler
- Hot glue gun
- Sandpaper (optional)

Step 2: Making of the Hull

Picture of Making of the Hull
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The hull is the watertight body of a ship or boat.


The Bow (front of the ship)

Creating the Template
1.) Draw a dashed centerline down the entire length of the Styrofoam 2” from each side. This is used only as a reference.
2.) Measure back 3” from the bow (front) of the boat and make marks on each side.
3.) Connect the end of the centerline to the two 3” marks with a solid line, as seen in the picture above.


Cutting
1.) Carefully cut the outside triangles away by cutting along the solid line drawn. This can be done using a razor blade or kitchen knife.

*Note: The sharper the razor blade or knife is, the cleaner the cut will be.

CAUTION: Adult supervision is suggested, sharp objects may cause serious injuries.


Shaping
For more accurate representation of the bow of the boat, shaping can be done.

 

Step 3: Making of the Captain's Cabin

Picture of Making of the Captain's Cabin
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The captain's cabin is the raised section located at the rear of the ship.


Measuring
1.) Take the second Styrofoam block and cut off a 4” section from the 12” length.
2.) With the 4” section, measure 1 ¼” along the 2” side of the block and draw a line all the way around, as seen above.


Cutting
1.) Cut through the Styrofoam block along this line creating what will be the Captain’s Cabin and the Forecastle Deck. The 1 ¼ inch tall block will become the Captain’s Cabin at the rear of the ship

CAUTION : Adult supervision is suggested, sharp objects may cause serious injuries.


Installing
1.) On the top side of the boat, measure 3” from the back and draw a line. The front of the captain's cabin will rest along this line.
2.) Use glue to secure the cabin to the top side of the boat.

*Note: Depending on what glue is used, drying times may vary. Pressure may need to be added during the drying time of the glue.

Step 4: Making of the Forecastle Deck

Picture of Making of the Forecastle Deck
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The forecastle deck is the raised section located at the bow (front) of the ship.


Measuring
1.) Draw a dashed centerline down the middle of the ¾ inch thick section of Styrofoam. This dashed line will line up with the dashed line previously drawn on the hull.
2.) Place the ¾” section on top of the hull making sure the dashed lines are aligned.
3.) Turn both pieces upside down keeping the dashed lines aligned. Trace the edge of the hull onto the ¾” section that is sticking out, as seen in the picture above.


Cutting
1.) Carefully cut along the lines drawn in the previous step.

CAUTION : Adult supervision is suggested, sharp objects may cause serious injuries.


Installing
1.) Use glue to attach this section to the top of the hull at the bow (front).

Step 5: Making of the Masts and Sail Yards

Picture of Making of the Masts and Sail Yards
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The Mast
The mast is a tall, vertical beam which supports the sails.

Measuring and Cutting
1.) Measure 10” on the dowel and carefully cut using scissors or a knife.
2.) Designate one end to be the top and one end to be the bottom.
3.) Using the razor blade, shave a notch 1” from one end of the dowel. This will help attach the sail yard to the mast in the next steps.

CAUTION : Adult supervision is suggested, sharp objects may cause serious injuries.

The Sail Yard
The sail yard is the horizontal beams on a mast from which the sails are set.

Measuring and Cutting
1.) Measure 6” on the dowel and carefully cut using scissors or a knife.
2.) Using the razor blade, shave a notch in the middle of the dowel (3” from each end). This will help attach the sail yard to the mast in the next step.

CAUTION : Adult supervision is suggested, sharp objects may cause serious injuries.

Attaching the Sail Yard to the Mast
1.) Connect the two notches together and align as best you can.
2.) Apply a dab of hot glue to the intersection and adjust accordingly before the hot glue sets up. Allow for the glue to dry before applying more glue.
3.) Apply enough glue to withstand the high winds and high seas.

*Applying hot glue over pre-existing glue may re-melt the glue and adjustment may need to be made if any movement occurs.

CAUTION : Hot glue gun is HOT! Use adult supervision.

Step 6: Making of the Sail

Picture of Making of the Sail
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The sales can be made out of a variety of things. An old t-shirt was used for the making of this ship.

Measuring and Cutting
1.) Measure out a 6” x 6” square on the t-shirt or material selected and carefully cut using scissors.
2.) Designate one of the sides to be the top. Measure in 3” and make a 1” inch line from the edge of the material, as seen in the photo above.
3.) Carefully cut down the 1” line with scissors.

- This notch is to attach the sail to the sail yard by splitting the mast.

Installing the Sail to the Sail Yard
In the case of attaching this sail, a stapler is used. Other methods of attaching the sail can be done. This is a fast and easy way.

1.) Take the sail and drape it over the sail yard with the notch splitting the mast.
2.) Fold back the flaps on the back side. Allow for enough room to staple it.
3.) Using the stapler, staple the folded back flaps to the front part of the sail. Place two staples near the mast on each side and two on the outside of the sail.
4.) Use the stapler to attach two staples on the bottom outside edge of the sail. This will be used for rigging in the next step.

Step 7: Setting up the Rigging

Installing the Mast into the Hull
1.) Measure 5” back from the back of the boat, stick the dowel down into the centerline of the piece of Styrofoam. This is your mast with the sail yard attached. The mast should go at least halfway down into the Styrofoam.
2.) For extra support, additional glue may need to be added at the base of the mast.

Rigging
1.) Unfold a paper clip and bend it in half, as seen above.
2.) Stick the paper clips on the outside of the boat slightly behind the mast. This is used to tie down the sail.
3.) Using fishing line or any kinds of string, attach two separate strings from the staples in the bottom of the sail to the paper clips.
4.) Make sure the string is tight and double knot the knots.

Accessories
Have fun with this boat. Try to make it as realistic as you can. A few accessories on this ship are the bowsprit, flag off the back, and a name on the side.

Bowsprit
The bowsprit is the piece of wood sticking out the front of the boat. This is just a left over 4” dowel stuck into the front at a slight angle.

Flag
The flag is made out of black construction paper and stapled around an unbent paper clip.

Take the final product out to a pond and watch it sail in the wind!
SHIFT!4 years ago
Fun! I bet you could also add a small RC car motor to the mainstaff and make the boat remote controlled!
that would be awesome!
hrodriguez73 years ago
to cu the foam you could also use a turkey carver, right?
Cool!