Sunday, 11 September 2011

The pirate ship challenge

A friend of mine recently asked me if I had any ideas about how she and her son could make a pirate ship. Apparently there is a Mister Maker episode floating around where he builds a pirate ship, I haven't seen it but I am sure it is spectacular...anyway here is my much, much simpler version.

Cakey and I worked on this project together, I did the construction and she did the decoration. In an ideal world we would all have a large (free) appliance delivered to our house each week so that our kids can play in the huge box – the biggest box I had on hand was a nappy box. Using a kitchen knife (I can hear all those home chefs shuddering) I cut one of the long sides so that it opened up completely. I told Cakey this was the deck of the ship. While she was busy painting her pirate ship I made the steering wheel. I cut off the two short flaps of the nappy box and taped them into a cross shape, then I stabbed a hole through them in the middle. I threaded a pipecleaner through a big bead and then poked both ends of the pipecleaner through a hole in the last remaining flap on the box so both ends were sticking up. The wheel was then threaded onto both ends of the pipecleaner. Fold each end of the pipecleaner over in opposite directions and secure with sticky tape. This gives you a turning wheel.

Constructing the wheel

On the outside of the box we glued some blue paper to mimic water and I covered up the front with a piece of white paper so Cakey could draw a picture on it and cover it with stickers. As a final touch we found a stick in the garden and made a pirate flag which we secured in place with sticky tape. Both kids, as well as Cakey's friends really liked playing in the ship.

 I was going to add a cardboard anchor and rope that they could throw overboard but before I had the chance I accidentally left it outside overnight and the neighbour's cat peed on it...gross! So when Cakey wasn't looking I threw it in the bin. Ah, it was fun while it lasted.


  1. My 2 year old announced to me this afternoon that she wanted me to make a pirate. I didn't even realize she knew the word pirate. Anyway, I said how about a pirate ship having had seen your blog just the other day. It was great. She wasn't very interested in decorating it but loved the steering wheel and flag mast and we also made a smaller version out of a tissue box for her doll!

  2. That's a great idea to make a mini pirate ship for a doll or toy. Thanks Lindsay

  3. We're always looking for box-ey fun! We might have to try this one! Mister Maker is such a hit in this house!

  4. Clever use of pipe cleaners to get the moving steering wheel. My kids would love this but we would definitely need a bigger box! Thanks for Rewinding x

  5. That is great! Looks like your little one loved it!


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