Introduction: Simple Clothespin Boat

This is a simple craft that I came up with while brainstorming ideas for a summer camp. Most of the boat crafts I came across were either quite expensive, needed a lot of time to complete, or were not made to go in water. This craft requires very few materials, and is extremely cost effective, and the boat floats in water, making it more fun after the craft is done!

While this craft is addressed towards children, there are some parts which should be done by an adult.

Step 1: Materials Needed

The materials, as I mentioned before, are quite easily accessible and cost effective, which is great if you are doing this craft in large groups, or you simply want to make a craft from materials left lying around your house.


-Pin Nail

-Scotch Tape

-Paint + Paintbrush

One half of each of the clothespins will act as the body of the boat. The nail is used as the mast, and the scotch tape as the sail. The paint is purely aesthetic, but is highly recommended to give the boat a nice finish.

Step 2: Separate the Clothespins

First off, you'll need to separate the clothespins by removing the spring keeping them in place.

Since you'll only be using one half, each clothespin allows you to make two boats!

Step 3: Make a Hole in the Clothespin

Make a hole in the clothespin using your nail in the groove on the flat side of the clothespin. Try and get it as close to the middle as possible, so the boat is balanced and doesn't tip over in the water.You can use a hammer or really any heavy object to do this, as it is a very small nail. Remove the nail once this is done.

This step is not recommended for young children.

Step 4: Making the Sail

To make the sail, simply take a piece of scotch tape about the same length as the nail and put the nail through one edge and then the other, making sure that it doesn't stick together. It makes not difference whether the sticky side of the tape is facing inwards or outwards, but the paint will stay better on the sticky side.

Step 5: Put It Together

Now you simply have to put the nail, with the scotch tape sail into the hole that you made before in the clothespin.

Step 6: Paint!

You now have a clothespin boat! You can paint it however you like, just remember to let it dry long enough before putting it in the water, or the paint will leak out. The boat should also be able to move around in the water by blowing on the sail!

Painting the boat piece by piece also makes things easier, and as it is easy to disassemble, I would recommend it!

Step 7: Trouble Shooting + Help

These are some problems I came across while trying to make this craft:

1) The boat keeps tipping over:

There are a few different reasons the boat could be tipping. The mast could be too long/heavy, the mast may not be centred, or the sail is in the water. These problems are pretty easy to troubleshoot, but for reference, I used inch long nails.

2) The nail is going through the wood:

A shorter nail will probably help, and try not to hammer it in so hard. If the wood is splintering, try soaking it in water first.

I used a piece of tape for the sail in this craft, as I had nothing else available that was as light weight and water proof. If anyone has any suggestions as to what else could have been used, I'd love to hear them!

I also apologize for the picture quality, taking pictures is not much of a skill of mine!