How to Make a Pirate Ship Out of Cardboard Boxes

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How to Make a Pirate Ship Out of Cardboard Boxes

Watch too much Pirates of the Caribbean, eh?

Well, if you did come to this page after watching the tales of Jack Sparrow and Blackbeard, then we have just the thing for you. Do you strive for a raft that can help you traverse the great seas of the Caribbean (Imaginary raft, we’re not really serious here)? We can help you fulfill your lust for a pirate ship that comes stocked with a pirate flag and eye patch. So, sit back and go through this article and you can have your very own pirate ship within a few hours!!!

NOTE: If you’re a child under the age of 13, it is highly recommended that please seek for the help of an adult. Because some of the tools and techniques mentioned in the below DIY process are dangerous and can result in fatal injuries. Remember: Safety first!


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Necessary supplies to build a pirate ship out of cardboard boxes

  • Cardboard box

NOTE: The Cardboard box can be of different sizes. It mainly depends on whether you choose to make a ship for dolls or a giant life size pirate ship.

  • Craft Knife or Cutter
  • Twine
  • Twigs for the mast
  • Fabric for the sail
  • Small Pieces of Foam
  • Solid Metal or PVC Piper for the Cannons
  • Spray Paint
  • Tennis Balls for Cannon Balls


The Step-by-Step Process

Step 1: The first step is outlining the side of the ships on the cardboard. Like we said earlier, you can change the size of the cardboard depending on whether you want a small ship or a gigantic one. You should try to keep the shapes rectangular but you can also draw some curves and windows to add some more detail to the deck. Also, make two circles on each side for the cannons. Measure the diameter of the pipe for greater accuracy and precision. You can also incorporate more cannons depending on how many pipes you have.


Step 2: Use you cutter to crop out the cardboard according to the pencil markings. Make sure that the tip of the cutter is sharp otherwise the sides of the cardboard will not be smooth like you would want them to be.

Image: wikiHow

Step 3: Use the glue gun to join the pieces of cardboard together. The pieces of cardboard should go side to side. Glue guns can adhere in just a matter of seconds but it is much better if you hold the cardboards together for at least 15 seconds.


glue gun to join the pieces of cardboard together


Step 4: Attach the base of the ship to the sides. Make sure that you glue the smaller side first and then resize the base if any of the sides stick out.

Step 5: The next step is cutting out the captain’s deck that will include the Steering Wheel. The cardboard has to be in L shape that can serve as a platform. If you’re making a ship for dolls, you won’t need to reinforce the base of the platform. If you’re planning on a life size ship then you should probably stack up pieces of glued cardboard that can support the weight of a light adult or an overweight child.


NOTE: The support needs to have holes that are wide enough to insert a piece of cardboard that will connect the steering wheel to the deck.

Step 6: The steering wheel can be as easy as you want it to be. You can either make it out of cardboard or plywood. But, the latter will be quite difficult and you’ll have to put in about 4-5 hours of word just to get that one wheel done. The cardboard wheel can be pretty easy and it’ll just take you 20-30 minutes. You can start by lining out the main circle for the wheel. Although, a circle isn’t necessary, a square could also work and it would look cool that you put on your own little twist on the traditional wheel. Next step is to cut out the thin sticks that would connect the center of the circle to the outline of the circle. These sticks don’t need to be plain. You can also shape them that would add a little realism to your fantasy world. Then all that’s left is to glue all that together and you have yourself a pirate wheel.

The steering wheel of cardbox ship


NOTE: You can also use some spray paint on the steering wheel to add some life to it. Take the wheel out to your backyard and go crazy. Make sure you give it some time for the paint to set in.

Step 7: Now, you need to connect the wheel to the deck. You need to join the center of the wheel with a long piece of cardboard that can go deep into the deck. Just slide the cardboard into the holes that you made into the support of the deck earlier.

Step 8: The ship is almost finished. Next, you need to create the mast and attach the sails. You need to cut the foam in a C shape with sharp edges. These shapes need to be the same size as the sticks that you have. Attach the foam to the bottom of the ship against the captain’s deck so it can lift the mast. Then, you need to attach another piece of stick at the upper half of the mast a little below the top that will look like a crucifix. This will act as support for the sails.

Cardboard Boxes Pirate Ship

Step 9: The sail can be anything you want. You can buy a white sheet and go nuts with pencil colors or paints and draw whatever you want. You can attach the sail with anything. Staple pins, rope, glue or anything else that can hold it there.

Step 10: The last step is the cannons and the cannon balls. For the cannon balls, you can paint tennis balls black with the spray paint. You can insert the pipes in the holes you cut out earlier. Attach some cardboard and glue to the inner and outer sides for support to the pipe.


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