Step 1: Materials
1- Regular sized boat
1- HUGE bottle for the boat to fit in
1- Shrink ray or other similar device
What? You don't have a shrink ray you say? Well, um okay, guess we are gonna do this the hard way then... you will need:
1- Mini Tabasco bottle, I found mine in an MRE.
1- small wooden dowel or other similar object *
1- corn bristle broom
Cloth tape (the color you want the sails to be)
Fast acting super glue
Dremel with thin cut off wheel
X-acto or other similar hobby knife
5in or longer piece of stiff wire. (I found a roll of galvanized wire for a couple bucks at home depot that I use for various projects)
* This will be the hull of the ship. I used a wooden handled paint brush. You can use whatever floats your fancy... Floats? Ha! I crack myself up!
Ready to begin?
Step 2: Prep the bottle and shape the ship
Take the empty mini Tabasco bottle and rinse it out a few times. Make sure there's isn't any residue of the Tabasco sauce left over. Once thoroughly rinsed out, be sure to let it dry. I used a Q-tip to dry out the inside, but feel free to just set it in the sun.
Now onto the boat hull. I used the end of a wooden handled paint brush. Prior to shaping it, the handle was just a little too big to fit into the mouth of the bottle. You will be shaving it down so don't worry, this is the perfect size. the total length was about 3/4in.
First, you want to shave a flat spot on the dowel (or whatever your using for the boat) using your X-acto knife. This is going to be the bottom of the boat. Most ships in bottles sit in a faux ocean. Because of this, you don't be see below the water line of the boat. I chose to copy this method even though there will be no faux ocean used.
After the bottom is flattened, start carving the sides. Remember the sides slope inwards towards the bottom but don't meet. You will end up with a basic shape like this \_/.
The shape I chose was a basic boat shape, nothing fancy. Its pointed on the front, and flat at the back. Once shaped, use the sandpaper to smooth it out. I used 500 grit
Step 3: Finishing the boat hull, and making masts
At this point you may feel the need to make the boat look more like a boat and less like a block of wood shaped like a boat. However, if you want to keep this an easy project, feel free to skip forward to the mast section of this step. If not...
This is going to be some really fine work that requires a steady hand. Take the hull of the boat and, using the dremel with cut off wheel, carve into the inside of the hull to form walls (pic 1) Don't be tempted to go deeper on the cuts, just go deep enough to give the overall appearance of walls.
Use the X-acto knife to clean up the inside and finish the look.
Grab your corn broom, and find the thinnest, most round bristle. Once you found it, cut it off at a little over 3/4in. Break the bristle in three places. Be careful not to break the pieces off, just bend the bristle until it snaps (pic 2) you will have a "u" shape. The two vertical pieces are your masts, and the horizontal section will be your connecting piece.
Next, carve out a channel inside the boat that the connecting piece of the masts can fit into, and then glue it into place. Be sure to only glue the connecting piece. Do not get glue on the joints of the masts. Once the glue dries, you may want to hold the boat up to the bottle and make sure the masts will fit once fully upright. Trim down if necessary. Its better to have masts that don't touch the top of the inside off the bottle
Starting to look pretty cool eh?
Step 4: Finishing the boat
Now decide how large you want the sails to be. Try not to go for too big, and remember, we are working with a very small space in that bottle. Take the cloth tape and cut out a rectangular piece that is as wide as the sails are going to be, and twice as tall.
Fold the cloth tape in half sandwiching the mast between the pieces, and thus taping the sail to itself (this is why the piece you cut out is twice as tall as the sail is supposed to be) At this point, I smeared a little white glue onto the outside of the tape to stiffen it up. It's your choice if you want to do that too.
Repeat for the other mast
Now, don't worry if the boat doesn't look all that great. The bottle will be distorting the image of it anyways.
Let everything dry before you go onto the next step.
Step 5: Finshing it all up
Ok, here's the hard part.
First, fold down the masts. (this is why you only glued the center section of the masts' connecting piece) test fit the boat by pushing it halfway into the mouth of the bottle, i.e. just past the first mast.
DON'T PUT IT INSIDE THE BOTTLE YET!
you're just testing to see if it fits.
Okay, remember that super glue and wire from the materials?
Put a drop of super glue on each of the joints of the masts, and quickly shove the boat into the bottle. All the way in.
Using the wire, push the masts upright, and make sure the sails are open fully. You may need to hold the masts up while the super glue dries.
Once everything is dry, go ahead and screw the cap on. You're done!
Now go find that misplaced shrink ray before the kids get a hold of it...