Learn how to make a boat with a little wood, glue and our expert know-how

Learn how to make a boat from wood


  • Tracing paper and pencil
  • 13cm length of 7.5cm-wide x 2cm-thick hard balsa wood
  • 13cm length of 5cm-wide x 5mm-thick hard balsa wood
  • Junior hacksaw
  • 20cm length of 5mm-diameter wood dowel
  • Fine and medium sandpaper
  • Scraps of red plain, striped, patterned and checked fabric
  • Awl
  • Strong wood glue
  • Sanding sealer
  • White, blue and light turquoise acrylic paint
  • 1cm flat and medium artist’s paintbrushes
  • One screw eye
  • 25cm of 2mm-diameter white cord
  • PVA glue

Finished size: 22 x 12cm

Making paper pattern

On a photocopier, enlarge the wooden boat template so that the bottom line of the boat’s hull measures 8cm. Trace the hull, sail and pennant template on to tracing paper. Cut out the patterns.

Boat templateCutting out

1. Trace around the hull on to the 2cm-thick balsa wood and the sail on to the 5mm-thick balsa wood, matching the straight edges to the edges of the wood.

Cut out the pieces with a hacksaw. Saw a 15.5cm length of dowel for the mast. Sand the cut edges to smooth them.

2. Cut one 4.5 x 2cm rectangle from the plain red fabric for the flag. Cut one pennant from each of the other fabrics.

How to make a boat

1. Lay the mast flat and sand the top surface with medium sandpaper to flatten it. Make a 5mm-wide hole at the centre of the long top edge of the hull with an awl.

Insert the mast into the hole, turn it and push down until 1.2cm of the mast is in the hull.

2. Remove the mast and dab the end with strong wood glue. Insert the mast into the hole with the flattened face parallel with the flat faces of the hull.

Use strong wood glue to stick the sail to the flattened face of the mast 1.2cm above the hull. Leave the pieces to dry overnight.

3. Coat the entire boat with two coats of sanding sealer, allowing to dry between coats and then to dry overnight.

Paint the hull and sail white.Use a flat paintbrush to paint a 1cm-wide blue stripe on the hull and two light turquoise stripes on the sail. Paint narrow stripes and dots on the sail with blue paint and a fine paintbrush.

4. Screw a screw eye into the top edge of the hull, 5mm in from the back edge.

Tie one end of the cord to the eye of the screw eye and the other end around the mast just above the sail. Cut off the excess cord. Dab the knots with PVA glue to secure.

5. Stick one short edge of the flag around the top of the mast and the three pennants around the cord with PVA glue.