Introduction: Model Ship From Paper and Cardboard

About: Hey, have you ever heard of a giraffe who loves to build!?!?!

This model ship looks realistic and is super easy to make. All you need is cardboard, paper, string, glue, and paint. All materials that can be found in your house! In this instructable, I will guide you through the process of creating your own model ship. Note that I will not give you specific measurements, rather, I will show you how to create your own measurements. This model uses both corrugated and non corrugated cardboard. For example, amazon boxes use corrugated cardboard and cereal boxes do not.

Step 1: Body of the Ship

Sketch out the skeleton of the ship onto a piece of cardboard. Roughly, the ratio of length to height will be 4:1. The top of your sketch will reach the deck of ship. Next, measure how wide you want your ship to be. Roughly, the ratio of height to width (in the center of boat) will be 4:5. Therefore, the boat will be wider than in will be tall. Cut two of these pieces to go in the middle, one to go towards the front which will be less wide, and one to go towards the back. The one in the back will be both shorter and thinner than the middle pieces.

Step 2: Assembling the Body of the Ship

Cut slits into both the skeleton and four other components so they can fit together (refer to photos above). Use hot glue to permanently connect three components (two middle and front pieces) to the body of the ship. The back piece will be glued to the back of the skeleton so there is no need to cut slits in this piece.

Step 3: Hull of the Ship

Using masking tape, work your way around the ship, taping the hull onto the skeleton of the ship. Note, this is just so you have somewhere to glue the plank pieces. Try to keep the tape as taut as possible as it will make your life a lot easier for future steps..

Step 4: Deck of the Ship

Place your ship (deck down) onto a piece of non corrugated cardboard and trace the shape of the deck. Do not glue it on yet as you need to attach the masts of the ship first (refer to the next step).

Step 5: Masts of the Ship

Roll three pieces of paper to the length of your masts. Make sure you roll the masts longer than you want because a portion will be hidden beneath the deck of the ship. Mark the places you want your masts, and snip the skeleton to make a slot large enough to glue them in. Mark on the deck where these slots will be located and cut the holes to slide the deck onto the ship.

Tips for rolling your paper:

  • Start from a corner
  • Use glue to keep the paper sealed while you roll
  • You can roll the paper around a thin skewer to help get started...

Step 6: Attaching the Deck and Masts

Glue down the deck to the ship! Cut off any excess hangover of the deck if needed.

Step 7: Gluing Planks Onto Hull

Cut identical planks of wood (doesn't really matter the dimensions, how long and wide). Use non corrugated cardboard from a cereal box for example. Corrugated cardboard is thicker and not as flexible. Glue down these planks onto the hull of the ship. Try to make them as flush to each other as possible...don't worry if its not perfect. As you get towards the lower part of the hull, you will need to trim the cardboard planks to make them flush with each other...

Step 8: Sealing and Sanding

Using glue (wood glue, superglue, any glue that dries hard/brittle), paint the outside of the hull. Wait for the glue to dry. Make sure to fill the cracks of the boat...this helps smooth the cracks between each plank. When dried, take sandpaper and smooth out the hull of the ship.

Step 9: Adding to the Front and Back

Using non corrugated cardboard, add to the front and the back of your ship. This part is really up to you and however you want to design your ship. Some ideas might be rails, cabins, anchors, etc...

Step 10: Bowsprit and Masts

Add the horizontal beams to your masts. I did the traditional three masted ship with three horizontal on each mast. Make sure there is enough room between each horizontal beam for a sail. I also added beams on the back mast for a triangle shaped sail (refer to the photos). Lastly, roll one more piece of paper, thicker than the masts, for the bowsprit. Glue this piece protruding from the front of your ship.

Step 11: Painting

Paint your ship. I used a dark brown for the body and a lighter brown for the deck and masts. Acrylic paint is what I used, but feel free to use whatever paints you have lying around.

Step 12: Adding the Sails

Using regular old printer paper, tape (or glue, but tape is easier) your sails to the beams on your masts. I added some sails to the bowsprit as well as to the back of the ship.

Step 13: Ropes

Use back string for the ropes of your ship. I strung one long rope from the tip of the bowsprit, over the three masts, and attach to the back of the ship. I also add a rope going from each horizontal beam from each mast to the lower deck. Whenever your string crosses a beam or connects to the ship, add a little dab of glue.

Step 14: Finished

BEAUTIFUL! Take a step back and admire your work :)

Step 15: Glamour Shots!

Your ship is finished! Prop it up and take some cool pictures!

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'til next time,


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