How to Make a Boat for a School Project

    by YaShekia King

    About the Author

    YaShekia King, of Indianapolis, began writing professionally in 2003. Her work has appeared in several publications including the "South Bend Tribune" and "Clouds Across the Stars," an international book. She also is a licensed Realtor and clinical certified dental assistant. King holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ball State University.


    Help your child create a working replica of a boat using simple household supplies -- a cardboard milk carton, drinking straws and a bit of plastic wrap. Combined correctly, these materials make a boat that both floats and moves under pressure of the wind. Impress your youngster and help him sail to the head of his class using this simple and economical method of constructing a model boat.

    Things You'll Need

    • Empty half-gallon milk carton
    • Scissors
    • Hole punch
    • 3 straight drinking straws
    • Invisible tape
    • Plastic wrap
    • String
    • Paint
    • Scrap of fabric
    • Toys to use as cargo

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    Cut the empty milk carton in half lengthwise. Keep one of the halves, and lay it so that the inside of the carton faces up. Punch four holes in the corners of the carton, placing them about 1 inch from the tops of each of the corners.

    Tape the three straws together to form a triangle and stretch a piece of plastic wrap between them. Tape it in place to secure it. This is the sail of your boat.

    Tape the sail to the inside of the empty milk carton. Make sure the sail stands straight up in the middle of the carton before you tape it down. To further secure it, tie an end of string through one of the four holes you punched in the carton earlier. Then tape the other end of the string to the top of the mast piece. Continue to do this with the remaining three holes, making sure that the mast can stand independently when you’re finished. You also can use fishing wire or thread to do the tying.

    Paint the milk carton a color or design as you like. Place toys or other items you would like the boat to carry inside the carton. You might also use markers to color the boat instead of paint. In addition, you can design your own flag using a scrap of fabric and tape it to the boat.

    Place the boat on a pond, lake or any body of water outside because you’ll need wind to help the boat sail. Make sure the boat is in a position where the wind can hit the plastic sail, and watch the boat float away.

    • When you place items in the boat, make sure they are not too heavy so that the boat will sink. You also can tape an empty paper or polystyrene foam cup to the top of the mast to serve as a platform for lookout, also known as a crow’s nest.
    • Tie a long string to your boat before sailing it outside so you can retrieve it without going for a swim.