Mayflower or Pirate Ship

Create a Mayflower ship or a pirate ship using paper plates and a few other materials.
Mayflower or Pirate Ship craft

Materials

  • Paper plate
  • Wooden dowels
  • White paper
  • Brown and black poster paint or tempera
  • Toilet paper roll or Styrofoam
  • Paint brush
  • White glue
  • Scissors
  • Stapler
  • Pencil
  • Markers or colored pencils

Safety Tips

  • Watch out for this sign Ask for an adult's help.. It means adult help is needed for the particular step.

Steps

Step 1 Mayflower or Pirate Ship craft Ask for an adult's help.1.

Cut a paper plate in half

Cut a paper plate in half. The resulting pair of halves will be your ship's body or hull.
Step 1b Mayflower or Pirate Ship craft   Use two paper plates if you want a taller hull. You can cut the top edge of the plates into an irregular shape. Just remember that the two should be mirror images of each other.
Step 2a Mayflower or Pirate Ship craft Ask for an adult's help.2.

Trim off the plate's curved bottom

Stack the two halves together. While keeping the two halves aligned, cut a straight line 2½-3 inches from the straight edge.
Step 3 Mayflower or Pirate Ship craft Ask for an adult's help.3.

Assemble the ship

Position the two halves facing each other so that they form a boat-like shape. Ensure that the edges are aligned and then staple all four corners together.
Step 4 Mayflower or Pirate Ship craft 4.

Paint the ship

Paint the boat with a brown water-based paint, such as poster paint, tempera, or acrylic paint. Paint on some round windows or portholes if you like.
Step 5 Mayflower or Pirate Ship craft Ask for an adult's help.5.

Prepare the sails and masts

Prepare a pair of wooden dowels for the ship's masts. Trim an inch or two from the second dowel to make it slightly shorter than the other one. Cut three rectangles of varying sizes from white paper to make the sails.
Step 6 Mayflower or Pirate Ship craft Ask for an adult's help.6.

Make a pair of holes on each sail

Use the point of a pencil to punch a pair of holes along the middle of each sail—one close the top and the other near the bottom edge.
Step 7a Mayflower or Pirate Ship craft 7.

Attach the sails

Insert one end of the shorter mast through both holes on the largest sail. Move the sail down the middle of the mast.
Step 7b Mayflower or Pirate Ship craft   Skewer the two remaining sails through the longer mast. Start with the middle-sized sail and then with the smallest sail. Move the sails down so that the top of the smallest sail is 1½ to 2 inches from the top end of the mast.
Step 8 Mayflower or Pirate Ship craft 8.

Create the flags

For the Mayflower ship, cut out two small triangles and glue one at the tip of each mast.
Step 8b Mayflower or Pirate Ship craft   For a pirate ship, cut out two small black rectangles. Draw a white skull and crossbones on each to make it into a pirate flag. Glue a pirate flag at the tip of each mast.
Step 9a Mayflower or Pirate Ship craft Ask for an adult's help.9.

Position the masts

There are a few materials that can be used to hold the masts in place inside the ship. The masts can easily be anchored into a ball of modeling clay or a chunk of Styrofoam. In this tutorial, we will show how a toilet paper roll can be used as an anchoring material. Use the point of a pencil to punch a pair of holes, each one about an inch from the edge of the TP roll. Push the pencil until each hole is just large enough for a dowel to get through.
Step 9b Mayflower or Pirate Ship craft Ask for an adult's help. Punch another pair of holes opposite the first set. Position a mast in place by inserting its bottom end through one top hole and then straight through the corresponding bottom hole. Position the second mast on the other pair of top and bottom holes.
Step 9c Mayflower or Pirate Ship craft Place the toilet paper roll, Styrfoam chunk, or ball of clay inside the ship. It should fit snugly. If it moves around, glue its sides onto the inside of the ship.
Step 10 Mayflower or Pirate Ship craft 10.

Add sailors

Draw and cut out paper people to ride on your ship. Fill your Mayflower ship with pilgrims or your pirate ship with rowdy pirates.

Your ship can stand upright, but it's not made to go on water.

More Ideas

Pirate ship craft For a more wooden look, use two shades of brown when painting the ship's hull in Step 4. First, paint the entire ship with a light shade of brown. Let the paint dry for a bit, then paint dark brown horizontal stripes on the entire hull.

Instead of painting the windows, you can also cut circles from paper and glue them onto the ship.

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