Child's Step/Rocker Boat

Introduction: Child's Step/Rocker Boat

We wanted our son to have one of these but could not spend the money ($200-260 new) so we decided to try our hands at building one. We are very pleased with the finished product as is our son! We spent between $70 & $100 on wood and supplies.

This project took us about 5.5 hours total labor and 48 hours drying time.

Step 1: Gather Materials

2 - 24×48×1boards (A)
2 - 8×48×3/4 boards (cut in to 4 - 2' planks) (B)
1 - 10×48×3/4 boards (cut into 2 - 2' planks) (C)
24 - 3" wood screws
Small can stain or clear coat or paint if you choose
String and pencil
Measuring tape
Electric saw
Drill/drill bits

We worked off of the details and images shown here:

Step 2: Cut Pieces - 8 Total

For us the arches were the trickiest parts. There are probably many ways to do it. This is one method.
Mark 1 of the larger boards A in the center along one edge (24").
To draw the arch for cutting, we tied a string around a pencil.
Hold the string firmly at the center point you have marked.
Pull the string to whatever height you'd prefer your finished product to be. On the website above the finished product is 14" tall. (We made ours slightly taller at 19".) Holding the pencil straight and steady, draw your arch on to the wood. Our arch ended 6 inches on either side of the board. (To clarify: the arch does not go completely to the floor. When finished the board is straight for several inches before the arch begins. We find this deters the boat from tipping hazard. If your arch is shorter than ours, please just make sure this detail is maintained.)
Once the first board is marked, make your cut.
Use this board as a template to mark your second board.
Cut second board.

About 1 hour

Step 3: Sand and Stain Pieces

My husband clamped the 2 arches together and sanded them together to keep them as similar as possible.

Stain/coat/paint if desired. (Highly recommend!!)

about 1.5 hours plus 48 hours drying time

Step 4: Measure and Mark: Board A

Measure and placement for boards A. mark endpoints follow the guides below:
(all measurements go from floor to bottom of boards)
Step 1/Lowest step (boards B) 3" high and 3" in from the end.
Step 2/Middle step (boards B) 9" high and 6" in from the end.
Top step/platform (boards C) 15" high, both planks side by side with the seam at the center of the arches.

Measure and mark for drilling on board A:
2 screws per plank. 1.5" in from each end on planks B and 2" in from each end on planks C.
There should be 12 holes marked.

about 1 hour 30 minutes (most of this was figuring where to put things. likely week take less time if following measurements guide above.)

Step 5: Clamp and Drill Boards A

Clamp boards A together again and drill holes through both boards at marked spots.

about 15 minutes

Step 6: Mark and Drill Boards B and C

Mark and measure 1.5" marks on the ends of planks B and 2" marks on the ends of planks C.

Drill in to planks B & C. 24 holes total.

about 30 minutes, 2 people

Step 7: Assembly

Start the screws on the outside of marked board A in pre drilled holes. Line up each plank and screw them in, sinking each screw head. Repeat with the final piece, board A.

about 45 minutes 2 people

Step 8: Notes

*this was a 2 person job for us.
*in hindsight we would not have added inches to the overall height. We are still happy with our finished product, but might be happier in the long run if it were shorter and the stairs were a bit closer together.
*we are NOT professional builders by any means. This is simply the detailed list of steps we/mostly my husband took in building this based only on the link mentioned in step 1.
*even with the extra height it is very VERY difficult to tip over when rocking. My husband tried several times in many different ways.
*we may still add dowels to the middle on the rocker/boat side. I will update of we do.

1 Person Made This Project!


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2 years ago on Step 8

Hi there. If I were to make it 14" high, how should I space out the steps? When turned downward, will the following work?
1st steps: 2" high, 2" from the end
2nd steps: 7" high, 6" from the end
3rd steps: 12" high, center of the arches


7 years ago on Introduction

Really want to make this but finding it hard to get the wood. Where did you get the large side pieces? Do you think 3/4 inch thick pieces would be thick enough to be stable?

Daww that is a very cute model you got there. The rocker/stepper is so clever and looks like such fun for a kiddo. Thanks for sharing, I hope we see more from you in the future!