How to Make a Boat from Paper

Learn how to make a boat from paper with this tutorial. Paper crafts for kids are hands-on and engaging, plus it is time off screens–bonus!

Looking for a simple art project to keep your children creatively engaged and busy? Help them make paper boats! It’s one of the best paper crafts out there. Paper boats are enjoyable, entertaining, and super easy to make. You can start the activity with just cardboard, scrap paper, and glue. No need to shop for expensive materials, just use whatever colors you have around the house (check your recycle bin!).

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brown red and blue paper sailboat on blue background

Tips for making paper crafts with kids

Let your child lead as much as possible

Let your child read the instructions and figure them out. It’s amazing to see our little ones take ownership over these creative activities and be in charge of the entire process. Just in case he doesn’t know what to do or gets confused with the steps, help him. Do the folds and cut outs and then ask her “Is this correct? What do you think?” 

Teach your child that making mistakes is not the result of a bad work process

Creating paper crafts like paper boats is amazing since it can teach kids the importance of patience and self-control. Chances are, our kids may walk away in frustration if things don’t go as expected. Tell them it’s fine, and that creating mistakes means their creative process is getting better and better! 

Keep trying

Paper crafts provide some of the best creative learning activities for our children. It helps them express their emotions, improve their motor skills and enhance their ability to follow instructions. Even if your child wants to be an engineer when she grows up, she can benefit from these craft activities.

Paper Boats are Awesome

Just like other crafts, it involves a variety of steps, from cutting, twisting, and gluing things to decorating and manipulating other items. These steps allow children to express themselves through art and improve dexterity skills. It also introduces the idea of having a vision and goal and working hard to achieve them.  

Once your kids have mastered a simple paper boat, they can explore the concepts of density, balance, and buoyancy and experiment with other boat sizes and paper types. 

Challenge children to think of many ways to make their boats travel faster. Creating paper boats is not as simple as you think. The possibilities are endless and the science behind boat playtime is fascinating! 

Sailboats on Lake Lucerne - how to make a boat from paper

Making a Boat from Paper

Supplies Needed

Instructions for Making a Paper Boat

Step 1

Select a colored cardstock paper for the boat, cockpit and mast patterns. Select colored craft papers for the sails and flag craft. Trace the template patterns and cut them out nicely.  

Step 2

Fold and make creases along the yellow marked lines of the cockpit bench, the backside pattern and the side patterns of the boat. Use scissors to cut slits along the thin folded parts of the side patterns; keep 1 or 2 cm gap between the slits. 

folded cardboard - how to make a boat from paper

Step 3

Apply glue along the thin folded parts of the backside and side patterns of the boat. 

applying glue to edges of paper boat

Step 4

Grab the bottom pattern of the boat and any one of the side patterns. Attach the thin folded, glued part (tabs) of the side pattern along the side of the boat’s bottom pattern. 

attaching sides to bottom of paper boat

Step 5

Similarly, attach the other side of the boat. 

basic shape of making a paper boat

Step 6

Join the 2 sides together on their front side. Attach the backside of the boat by gluing the bottom tab with the boat base and the side tabs with the side patterns of the boat. 

Step 7

Take the cockpit bench pattern and fold along the yellow marked lines. 

Step 8

Place and glue the bench inside the boat. Cut and thin layer of paper and attach it around the outer surface of the boat. 

Step 9

Take the mast, sails and the flag patterns. 

Step 10

Attach the sail patterns on both sides of the mast cutout and attach the flag pattern on the top side of the mast cutout. 

red and blue sail for paper boat craft

Step 11

Cut a small strip from a cardstock paper and align it with the mast from the bottom side. Keep the bottom half of the strip free and glue the top half of the strip with the mast. Fold the bottom half of the strip outwards and then fold the bottom part of the mast to the opposite direction.  

Step 12

Apply glue on the bottom side of the folded strip and mast part. Place it in the middle of the cockpit bench. You can craft a small safety ring from colored craft papers and attach it with the paper boat. 

red blue and brown paper boat on white background - making a paper boat

Will this paper boat float?

Unfortunately, this paper boat will not float. It is more of a “model” that you can use for decoration or light playing.

completed red blue and brown paper boat - how to make a boat from paper

More boat craft projects

How to make a paper boat - tutorial for paper sailboat

1 thought on “How to Make a Boat from Paper”

  1. I am going to try this at a library school holiday program. I did a trial and found it to be quite difficult and fiddly using 180gsm paper. The mast was a bit floppy. I need to think about how to make it easier for children. I think it will require a lot of adult assistance.


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