Authentic Looking Pirate Cannon




Ye ever dream of walkin down the alley with yer very own pirate cannon? Are ye missing that small "accessory" to your pirate garb and just don't know what it is? OR do ye suffer from cannon envy?

Dream no more landlubber! This cannon is easy to make, pretty sturdy, and light enough to carry. You can now be the pirate you always wanted to be! Pirate cannon envy no more!

Step 1: Buy the Pink Insulation Stuff

Go to you local hardware store and get yourself one or two sheets of that pink insulation. There are various thicknesses, so try to figure out how big your canon will be, and base the size and thickness on that.

Step 2: Cut!

Use whatever cutting device you wish, I used both a table saw and jigsaw. This stuff cuts pretty easy, but will make a lot of dust. Cut the foam into squares larger then the diameter of the canon. Once cut, stack them up to get a general idea of the size of your now square canon. If you want a tapered canon, start with the larger pieces on bottom, and smaller on top.

Step 3: Glue

Glue. The best thing to use is foam core spray. I previously tried liquid nails, and it just doesn't work. Not enough oxygen gets to the inside of the foam squares for it to glue. This stuff is made specifically for the foam board.

The can is simple, spray each square, wait 1-2 minutes, press together, and repeat. Once the entire stack is glued, put it somewhere safe and come back tomorrow for the next step.

Don't do anything stupid like putting a giant ceramic flower pot on the top of this stack thinking it will keep everything compressed. The flower pot will slide off and and it will make a mess. Yar!

Step 4: Shave Time

I did some major testing of many tools for shaving the squares down to a canon shape. I have almost every tool imaginable, as you can see, I tried them all. Here is what worked for me. Simple hand saw, a pal, and orbital sander.

I had a buddy hold this giant square sucker down, and I used a simple hand saw (yes, a hand saw) to cut off all the corners. Pretty easy, once this was done, my buddy held the canon down and I would use a hand orbital sander with a low grit (60 I believe) to grind the rough edges to make the canon look like this. It was pretty easy, sand, turn the cannon a little, sand some more, turn (rotate canon) and sand some more. 

This step make take some time, so have patience. The foam sands pretty easy, and makes a huge mess. As you can see, this pink dust gets all over the place. But once you have sanded enough, your cannon will look something like this.

UPDATE! A knowledgeable seaman made a comment that the best tool to use is your Grandmothers electric carving knife. Brilliant!

Step 5: Paint

Don't use a spray paint, it melts the foam. I simply went to the hardware store and either look in the OOPS paint section or just buy a gallon of black latex paint. The paint goes on very easy, and I used an acrylic white paint and a stencil for the cannon's name. This one was obviously stolen from a French Galleon.

Your now authentic pirate cannon can be accessorized by adding a pirate. 

This process does make quite a sturdy piece. The cannon below survived being passed around 80 other pirates on a pub crawl.



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    13 Discussions

    I'd like to know this too, so hopefully someone will let me know if I can justify to the wife to buy a hot knife. I also remember seeing somewhere on hoe to make your own too.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I think that's been done but can't remember where. I saw someone lathe giant easter eggs once though and roughcutting it with a sawblade.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I think that's been done but can't remember where. I saw someone lathe giant easter eggs once though and roughcutting it with a sawblade.


    7 years ago on Step 4

    I have no intention of “dissing” this ible as it's very good, so please, no one explode all over me about this.

    However... I would have approached the project differently to reduce the amount of care and accuracy required in the removal of excess material

    I would have made a half-section full scale drawing of the profile of the cannon, and used that to determine the diameter of each foam section [just like bulkheads, or "stations" as in building boats, ships, and aircraft.

    It then would have been very easy to cut the center hole [barrel bore] and the perfectly round outer profile of EACH section on an ordinary "jigsaw." With some of calculation and some “trial and error” cutting, EVEN the TAPER of each section could be matched!

    After that, glue the sections together, which by being of a smaller size will require much less adhesive.

    With the only slight difference in the diameter of each section, the "tapering" of the sections into the smooth barrel shape would have required the removal of very little material. This could be done by hand and "rotating" the work piece as was done in this ible, or alternatively if there were a lot of material to be removed...

    Then I would use scrap lumber to make a "bed" for a simple lathe with vertical end planks, in one of which I would mount a variable speed drill motor, and make an adaptor [expandable rubber-like foam "plug"] to couple the drill motor to the 'business" end [hole in it] of the barrel, and a dead center for the tail end.

    Then with the "cannon" barrel slowly but steadily rotating I would use a wood rasp, or a body repair "cheese grater" rasp to "turn" and smooth the cannon. IF there were very little material to be removed, this could be accomplished with nothing more than a couple of grades of sandpaper.

    "Turning" a square cross section blank can be VERY difficult, BUT IF each of the sections is already round, and the bore hole already there, the only "forming" required would be to blend / "taper" the separate sections into each other.

    Again, this is NOT a negative comment on this excellently accomplished project, just a suggestion for another means of doing it.

    2 replies
    Part Time Chef.comjohnny3h

    Reply 6 years ago on Step 4

    see this instructable

    Mister Sparklejohnny3h

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 4

    Why you no good sonofa!!!

    Just joking of course, great suggestions! That's why put this thing up on this website, I want to learn from everyone. Your solution may work, but for me, I like taking as many shortcuts as I can, and would not have the patience for that! If I were to make another more realistic looking canon, I would probably have to go your way on it.

    If I were to do this again (in a non realistic way, since it would be for a pub crawl) , I think I would do a hybrid approach, like you said, I would at least make some attempt at a template. That would save on gluing and all the mess I had made. BUT, if an electric knife works like I've heard, I might still just glue it all and carve up the sucker too.

    Thanks for your tips!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Or you could get some really large PVC or a concrete mold tube, build up papermache and seal it with marine grade varnish. Light, low cost and a lot easier than lathe work and will last for a couple of years of Trick or Treat or Pirate raids.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Reminded me of this.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Arrrrrrrr!. Actually th best tool to cut ye foam is me dear grandmamma's electric kitchen scimitar knife.  You might want to put two stubby pegs(don't mention pegs) on the sides so you can mount the cannon on a rolling wood base.

    1 reply