DIY Cardboard Pirate Ship

Buddy asked me several times last week to help him make a pirate ship. I remembered seeing this one on Pinterest, so I emailed a picture of it to my husband and asked if he would pick up a few cardboard boxes on his way home from work. These boys are so blessed to have a creative Daddy. As soon as he came home, he got right to work building their pirate ship.

Buddy and I made an anchor from scrap cardboard, painted it yellow and added gold glitter. I tied on some jute rope and threaded it through a hole on the side. I made a few knots on the other end, but when Little Man showed us that he could successfully pull the knots through the hole, I pinched a binder clip over the knot. See if you can pull that through Little Man! (He probably will.)

Buddy also wanted a telescope/canon so we painted an old paper towel tube and I added a little cardboard loop on the front of the ship to hold it in place. He used this to “shoot” ping pong balls.

When the ping pong balls would get stuck, he found a way to push them through using his tinker toys.

Love the tongue poking out of his mouth as he concentrates!

I came up with a little number game to play with Buddy using the ping pong balls. I drew the numbers 1-12 on twelve ping pong balls and put them in an old egg carton. Then I sat in front of the boat and said, ( in my best pirate voice)…

“Aaaargggh, shoot me out the number ______.”

And then Buddy would find that number and shoot it out the “canon” and I would try to catch it in a hat. He really enjoyed this game and it was a great way to squeeze in a little number learning for the day, since we ditched our lesson plans in favor of creative play.

The next day, their Daddy added a sail made from PVC pipe. I covered it with drawing paper, and then Little Man promptly tore it to pieces. I think he thought he was unwrapping a gift.

I might try to cover it with a pillowcase or something instead. Or I might just leave it the way it is. It kind of looks like a ship that has made it through a rough storm. And it kind of has. To survive a few days of play with two energetic little boys is no easy feat.



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  1. This is awesome! My little guy would love it. I pinned it to my Boyhood board. 🙂

  2. I love it! We happen to have a lot of boxes hanging around just now. Daddy is building built-in shelves, but there are some big brothers who are famous in these parts for showing some cardboard and duct tape love. I’m pinning, too!

  3. This. Is. Fantastic! My boys would be swooning with delight if I showed them. Which, of course, I’m NOT going to do, since they would immediately stop swooning and begin insisting I make one for them!

  4. This is fabulous. My entire crew would really love it. Pinning. Thanks!

  5. I have been wanting to make a cardboard pirate ship for my boys! This is so much fun!

  6. I’m glad you guys like it! Thanks for stopping by!

  7. What a fun project and how sweet of your husband to make it for the kids!

  8. So cool! Oh, the things you can do with a good, big box!

    Nicely done. That’s a pretty impressive boat.

  9. that is to cute! i love it and love pinterest! you can get in so much trouble on that site lol i use it for recipes! Just started following you from jessicas blog!

  10. Oh wow. That’s gorgeous !

  11. I saw this one too! You did a great job with it and it looks like they had a lot of fun!

  12. Elizabeth Boldt says:

    I just came across this post (I know a little late), but this is the perfect ship to make out of cardboard. I am throwing my 4 year boy a pirate themed party and this is something big I would like to add to the decor.

    I know it’s been quite a few years, but how many boxes were used to make this? Were they the large size?

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