Hoist the Jolly Roger and let your little pirate set sail in search of buried treasure! This pirate ship craft is a guaranteed hit with kids – lots of messy painting and a fun toy to play with afterwards! It also requires few materials and is a great way to recycle empty egg cartons. You do need to allow drying time, but that can always be sped up with a hairdryer.
- A paper egg carton (for 12 eggs)
- A sheet of white printer paper
- Acrylic paint or poster paint
- Wooden kebab sticks
- White crayon
- Glue (or hot glue gun)
- Optional: Paper towel tube and toothpicks
- Optional: Watercolour paints
How to make the Pirate Ship Craft:
1. Cut the lid off the egg carton – you don’t need it for the ship. Trim the edges of the base and paint with acrylics or temperas in the colour of your choice. Make sure the paint is fairly runny as it will be much easier to paint the egg carton. Leave it aside to dry completely (or speed things up with a hairdryer).
2. To make the sails, cut a sheet of white paper in half. On one half draw the outline of a skull and crossbones (I’ve provided a free template for the sails you can just download and print – see end of post). Colour in the skull and crossbones with white crayon, making sure to press down well.
3. Paint the sail with black watercolour paint – you could also use watered down acrylic or tempera paint. The crayon will give a resist effect, so the skull and crossbones show.
4. Paint the other sail. I drew lines with the white crayon and painted coloured stripes over the top. When the sails are dry you can paint the backs if you like. Leave to dry completely.
5. The ship’s wheel is an optional detail. I wouldn’t recommend young children making it by themselves, as they may hurt themselves trying to push the toothpicks through.
To make the wheel, cut a strip about 1.5 – 2 cm wide from a paper towel tube. Push toothpicks through as shown – it helps to make holes with a pin first. I used 3 toothpicks, and cut off the ends of two of them once I had pushed them through. Leave one end sharp to attach to the ship.
6. Paint the ship’s wheel and allow to dry before attaching to the ship. Poke the sharp end of the toothpick through the egg carton at one end, turn over and place a blob of glue to fix in place.
7. To assemble the sails, take a wooden kebab stick and push it through the sails as shown. Fix the sails to the stick with a small piece of sticky tape if they slip down. I advise cutting off the sharp end of the stick if you are making this with young children. Push the end of the stick through one of the raised points on the egg carton and fix in place with a blob of glue.
8. Your pirate ship is finished! Now all it needs is crew of hearty buccaneers to set sail in search of some buried treasure!
Advice for small group classes:
This is a straightforward craft, but you will need to allow drying time. As the egg carton is made of thick paper it soaks up quite a lot of water. Use a hairdryer to speed things up, or you may prefer to complete this craft in two sessions.
The ship’s wheel is the most complicated part of the craft and you may wish to leave it out if you have a group. Alternatively you could pre-prepare the wheels beforehand so children only need to paint them.
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More PIRATES related resources:
- Five Pirate Monkeys song (version of five little monkeys):
- A fun pirate joke!
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This is a free printable, but please read our FAQ for full info about how you can use our materials.
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