Introduction: Rocking Boat Automata

What you will need for this project:

  • A fairly large cardboard box
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Glue (optional)
  • 1 Skewer
  • 3 Straws
  • Paper (for decoration)

Step 1: Cut/construct Your Foundation

Using the scissors, cut the cardboard box into 5 rectangles. You will need 3 rectangles to be 8"x4" and two rectangles to be 3.5"x3.5". Then, using the tape, construct the rectangles so you have one larger rectangle in the back and two smaller ones on the sides to support it.

Step 2: Build Your Axle

First, poke one hole in the center of each of the smaller side rectangles using the sharp end of the skewer. Then, using the scissors, cut out 3 cardboard circles that are approximately 1-2 inches in diameter. Poke the sharp end of the skewer through these circles. IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not poke directly through the center of the circles, it should be off to the side a bit. Once all 3 circles are on the skewer, maneuver the ends so it stays put in the two holes poked at the beginning of this step.

Step 3: Constructing Rocking Mechanism

Cut out 3 more circles that should be about the same size as the circles from the previous step. Then, using scissors, poke 3 holes in the top piece of cardboard that line up vertically with the 3 circles that are already on the skewers. Be sure that a straw can fit loosely enough in these holes that it can move up and down, but tight enough that it won't fall out. Tape/glue the straws to the 3 new circles cut in this step so they are in the center of the circles. Then, insert the straws from underneath the top cardboard piece so that the straws are poking out the holes on the top and the circles attached to the straws are resting flat on the skewer circles.

Step 4: Making Your Boat

Create your own boat cutout using either paper or cardboard and color it in however you like. Once finished, use tape to attach the boat so that it is attached to only the straws on the ends, not the one in the middle. Now, when you turn the skewer from the side you should see the boat rocking. On the third straw, draw and cut out something that looks like waves and attach it to create an image of the boat rocking and waves moving.

Step 5: The Final Touches

Now, you can attach the last cardboard panel to the front if you choose and you're finished with the mechanical part of this! At this point it's just up to you to decorate it however you want and make it look nice!