Introduction: Epic Battleship Out of Kitchen Supplies

About: Founding board member of theMakerStation, a new makerspace in Marietta, GA

Digging through my photo archives, I found pics of the time we made this epic battleship out of a discarded chipboard soda box and aluminum foil.

The boy was six years old at the time, and he was particularly fascinated with battleships at the time. I think this build might have been part of a book report project, but it persisted as a fun toy and still sits on a shelf in his room 4 years later.

Step 1: Materials & Tools


  • Qty-1 Soda box 12-pack size or any box with a high aspect ratio ie. long and skinny, for the ship's hull
  • Qty-10: Paper cups, for the turrets and bridge
  • Qty- 24: Plastic Drinking straws or similar. For the gun turrets
  • Aluminum foil
  • Hot glue
  • Imagination


  • Hot glue gun
  • Permanent Marker, black color
  • Clamps
  • Staples/Stapler

Step 2: Make the Hull

The key is to fold out the "top flaps" on each end of the ship.

Next take the remaining vertical side flaps and open them up a bit and just have them barely overlap to make the ship's Bow and Stern. Secure the Bow and Stern quickly with some staples and then follow up with some hot glue.

Next put a bead of hot glue between the bottom of the box's "top flap" and the bow and stern that was just made.

I didn't get any detailed pictures of this step, but the pic above is anotated.

Also here is a wiki link to "Parts of a Battleship" that you can use for inspiration.

Step 3: Make the Turrets

  1. Cut the paper cups approximately 2/3's of the way up.
  2. Turn upside down .
  3. Cut several slits along the remaining sides of the cup. Slits are approx 1/2" (10-12 mm).
  4. The cuts allow you to make folds that will allow the cups to be glued to the deck.
  5. Cut straws to desired length.
  6. Cut two small holes in the side of the cups for the straws.
  7. Insert straws into the holes to make the cannons. Use glue liberally.
  8. Insert a straw vertically through the bottom of the cup (top of the turret) and make a small hole in the deck to locate the turret.
  9. Repeat to make as many turrets as desired. (My boy insisted on covering the entire deck in turrets and cannons. You can vary the height of the turrets at your discretion.
  10. Don't forget to put a full size cup (not trimmed) in the center for the main bridge. (main bridge construction not shown in these pics)

Here is a wiki link to "Parts of a Battleship" that you can use for inspiration.

Step 4: Cover in Foil and Add Finishing Touches

  1. Prior to adding the foil, you can make embossed features with beads of hot glue.
  2. We added an embossed anchor as well as some edges around the deck and bow.
  3. Then cover everything in foil. Some areas we were careful to lay the foil flat, and other areas we bunched it up for effect and to make everything hold together better.
  4. Use hot glue liberally as needed.
  5. Lastly we took a Sharpie permanent marker and outlined the anchor and other features on the deck and bridge

Overall this was a fun father/son project and the boy loved playing with it for a while after the project and book report were long over. It still sits on his shelf in his room today although he's moved on to video games and nerf guns.

Here's a short video clip where I snuck up and got some video of him playing with the ship and some planes.

Step 5:

Hot Glue Challenge

Participated in the
Hot Glue Challenge