Introduction: Pirate Paper Craft (EASY)

About: I adore instructables and use it when I'm playing with ideas for my students (I'm a certified art teacher and the Art Director for a children's summer camp). I have found that it fuels my creative process as …
Pirate Paper Craft

What is more fun than pirates!  Well many things could be but when in a classroom or at home a pirate can leave a lot for the imagination and opening up a world of learning.  This 'able will teach you how to make a paper pirate and give you some ideas on how to make your paper pirate into a great lesson for kids of any age!

The best, this is a very easy and cheap creation to add to any classroom lesson.  Anyone younger than second grade will need more than one day of work, and precut items might be helpful.  Anyone younger than 5th grade you may want to break the lesson up.  Do not fear, any K-12 grade level can be successful with this, you just might need to modify what steps they do.  Pre-cutting templates for instance might be helpful.  Working in small groups may be a good idea.  You name it modifications can be made and I'm more than happy to help you come up with those modification. :)

Please see my other paper craft instructables for other ideas as well:

Little Girl Paper Craft
The Muffin Man or Chef Paper Craft (EASY)
Swan Paper Craft
Airplane Paper Craft

Lesson Ideas:

Geography (where pirates are from, where they sailed...learning the continents, oceans)

Basic body terminology (torso, arms, legs, pelvis)

History lesson(s)

Following basic directions

Learning how to write expository text, narrative, instructional

Art lesson for any season (and very fun for October)

Learning new key words (these can very from lesson to lesson)


I'd love to hear any ideas you might have for lessons!

Step 1: Materials Needed

Materials needed:

Paper (Construction Recommended)
Glue (Elmers)

Materials Recommended But Not needed:

Paper Clips
Permanent Marker (many colors or one)
White Paint
White Out
Tooth Pick
Exact Knife

Paper is not the only way this pirate could be made, some other thoughts on what you could create this guy out of are listed below:

Paper mache
You name it you could likely use it!

Step 2: Cut Out the Templates

Open up the PDF, print out and cut out all of your templates needed for your Pirate. 

I had some old school templates left to me by a former school teacher long ago, I've modified them to make creating paper people easier.  This basic design can be used and changed to make other characters.  As I work on creating those and different bells and whistles, I'll post those instructions as well.

Step 3: Hat

Take your black paper and fold it in half.  Lay the hat template on the fold and cut out the shape.  If you like you can draw around the template then cut, whatever is easiest for you. 

Once you have your two pieces of hat cut out your skull and cross bones.  There is no problem in free handing this if you like.  You can cut the eyes out or draw them in.  In an alternative you could paint on the skull and can do this with white paint or whiteout (FYI whiteout is SMELLY!  Use in a well ventilated area)

Once you have your skull ready to go, clue the ends of the hats together at the tip tip top and the right and left sides.  I use paper clips to hold the pieces together as the dry to ensure they lay nice and flat and have a good fit.

As this dries it's time to move on to the next part of your pirate!!

Step 4: Head

Time to get out the white construction paper. ( I am sorry the pictures are not the best on this step.)  Fold the white paper in half and lay the template on the fold. 

Draw around the template if you like (here I might suggest a pencil, a marker does bleed through, I went ahead and used it for the picture so you could see it folded out but you will notice I used a different piece to create the head)

Cut our your template and get your glue ready.  On the template you will see a line to place glue to.  (the smaller dotted lines).  I fold the paper on that line then place the glue. 

I glue the top part of the head together, again I used a paper clip to hold it in place.  Then glue the neck area together.  Again use a paper clip to hold it in place.

Step 5: Head Details

Time to make the head look like a head.  Cut out the eye patch (or draw it on)

Draw on (or cut out in paper) the eye in good working order.

Cut our your mustache (I choose orange so I could have a red beard)

Before gluing on the mustache roll the ends.  You can do this by hand or if you like you can use a tooth pick.

Arrrrgggh!  He's starting to look pirate like

Step 6: More Head Details

Pirates need hats, It's an unwritten pirate rule.  But this point your had should be dry enough to put on top of your paper pirate's head.  Pinch the sides just a hair to make it open up into a diamond shape.  Line the inside with glue.  Place on the hat any way you like.  I enjoy a sassy pirate, so I give it a little tilt.

It was at this point I decided pirates need to hear.  You can use the template if you like, but I free handed ears.  Give yourself a little tab to place glue on to adhere the ears to the head.  Before gluing add  a nice C for the inside of the ear.  You might feel like adding an earring or two, now would be the best time to do that for the ear.  It can be added later (you will notice that is the order I did it in) but it will make more sense and look much nice if you do it at this stage.  (sometimes we learn from our errors)

My mustached pirate screamed hey I thought you said I was going to be red beard, so I started work on hair and beard material.  Cut small strips of hair and curl it.  Again I did this by hand but you could do this using a tooth pick if you wish.

For the beard I eyeballed the size of the opening for chin and mustache.  I cut it in a nice C then cut the beard into strips leaving an area for all the strips to stay attached and then to fold over eventually to hold the glue.  I curled the end of the beard.

Step 7: Arms & Hand

I had to put the head aside and give myself sometime to think about what I wanted to change and started on the arms. 

Use the template and cut out two arms.  Fold on the small dotted line and place glue.  Roll the arm and glue it together.  Use paper clips to hold it in place.

Cut strips of white paper and roll for hands.  Glue inside the arm.

Step 8: Shirt Cuffs

No pirate should be plain!  No sir we need fancy pirates!  Fold black paper in half and cut out the template.  You will need two of these.  Glue the ends together and hold them with a paper clip.

Once they are sticking put glue around the ends of the cuff and put them on over the arms.

Step 9: Sword

Pirates are pirates and even a paper pirate must protect himself, hold up paper dolls, and  do swash buckling kinds of things, so your pirate needs a sword!

Cut out your sword blade from white paper using the template.

Swords need hilts!  Take the template and cut out your hilt.  Once you have the shape cut out, fold the hilt and make a small cut in the middle to stick the sword blade through.

Now you have some choice.  You can use a straw to cut off a piece to make the handle.  If you do not have a straw you can also roll a small tube out of paper.

Place glue on the sword end sticking through the hilt and glue it inside the handle.

Put glue around the handle and stick that weapon of mass paper destruction in the pirates hand.

Step 10: Torso

Take the body template and fold a piece of paper in half.  Lay the template on the fold an cut  Place glue along the neck line as well as down the sides to glue together.  At this time you might also want to put glue inside the neck of the pirate.

(Note: you might want to make a strip of paper and glue it up inside the neck with a piece hanging out and glue that piece to the body.  I did not do this, however, I see no reason that this might not help keep your head on.)

This gets tricky, and do not fret if you do not get it the first time  fold the paper into a cone shape with the head in the middle.  Paper clip together.   I've made several of these and this step always drives me bananas!  It's ok if it takes a couple of tries.  paper pirates are very forgiving, they are just pleased when their head is attached.

Once you have it together you can cut out your buckle.  If you want to modify it from the template you can, perhaps you want to jazz him up with a coin shaped buckle, skull or pretty pretty princess.  (well perhaps not the last one.)

Glue the buckle in lace.

Step 11: Attaching Arms

Time to give your pirate arms a body to live on.  Add glue to the arms and place them as you like.  You can hold the arms in place while it dries, or you can wad up some paper and have it hold the arm at the angle you would like during drying.  This is completely up to you.

Step 12: Legs

While your pirate is looking pirate like it's time to give it legs!  I didn't have brown construction paper so I used some brown craft paper, but either would work.

I cut out the peg leg using the template. Put glue on the edge and roll together.

Next time to cut out pant legs.  Use the template and fold the paper in half.  One of the legs will need to be the size of the template (don't cut out the peg shape.  The second leg cut out and then cut the peg shapes into the paper.

Glue the pant legs in a tube and paper clip together.  Cut a piece of brown paper to go around the non-peg leg.  Glue it straight on to the leg, this will be the bottom of the boot. 

Fold a piece of brown paper in half and cut out the boot cuff from the template.  Glue the ends together and place on the boot.  Once dry, you can glue the legs together.

Ok, peg legs can be tricky.  Fold over the paper with the peg shape.  This gets a little tricky.  Not all the paper has to fit down into the peg leg.  part of that paper is just going to fold in so it looks like the pant leg is tucked into the peg leg  A few of those peg shaped cuts will need glue and go inside the peg leg to attach it to each other.  Don't fret if you want to throw your hands up at this point, you can do this.  Besides if you throw your hands up at this point the pirate will think he's winning.

Once you have finally gotten that in cut a long strip of paper. and fold it in half.  Glue the sides and put them down inside the legs.  Flatten out the top .

At this point I thought wait the body needs more character, so I cut a triangle out by the buckle. 

Now add a lot of glue to the top of that strip of paper table.  Place the body of the pirate on top of the legs.  Adjust him how you want his pose to be. 

Step 13: Tips and Tricks

I made a couple of these you can see the different details.  You can choose any color paper you like, you might also want to use white paper and color the paper using crayons.  Just make sure you color before gluing.

I would love to see your Paper Pirate and hear of his/her adventures.  Feel free to ask questions I will do my best to help you out and keep your eye out for more paper crafts from me to come!

Halloween Props  Contest

Participated in the
Halloween Props Contest

Make It Real Challenge

Participated in the
Make It Real Challenge

Education Contest

Participated in the
Education Contest