How to make a plastic bottle boat

Updated April 17, 2017

This plastic bottle boat project is a great craft for a kid's party, Earth Day or any other time. Kids will have fun designing and making their boats. They can float them in a bathtub or swimming pool for hours of entertainment. It is a great lesson in recycling and using what you already have to create something new.

Rinse out the bottle and remove the label.

Draw an oval shape on one side of the 2-liter plastic bottle from just below the neck to just above the base. The oval should be approximately 4 inches wide. Pierce the plastic with the point of the scissors and cut the oval out. Depending on the ages of the children, you may need to do this part ahead of time.

Draw stars, hearts, smiley faces or other shapes on the outside of the boat for decoration.

Punch holes around the rim of the oval. Cut a long length of yarn. Insert the yarn through one hole and tie the end to the hole. Insert the other end through the hole from the outside to the inside. Repeat inserting the yarn through the next hole from the outside to the inside, all the way around the oval. Knot the end of the yarn in the last hole.

Using scissors, cut a 4-inch square from the milk jug for the sail. If doing this craft with young children, do this task ahead of time. Decorate the sail using the permanent markers.

Punch a hole in the centre of one edge, approximately 1/4 inch from the edge, using the hole punch. Turn the plastic square around, and punch a hole in the same way on the opposite side. Insert the drinking straw through one hole, across the plastic square and out the other hole. Extend the straw about 1 inch through one end.

Roll clay into a 2-inch ball. Press the clay inside the boat in the bottom of the centre, leaving a mound. Stick the long end of the straw into the clay mound. The clay will hold the sail and give the boat some weight.


Use ribbon instead of yarn, and attach stickers to the inside of your boat for additional decorative options.


Provide adult supervision on cutting and preparing the boats.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic 2-liter bottle
  • Plastic gallon milk jug
  • Permanent markers in multiple colours
  • Scissors
  • Clay
  • Drinking straw
  • Yarn
  • Paper hole punch
  • Ruler
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About the Author

Based in the Midwest, Cyndee Kromminga has been writing craft and interior design articles for 15 years. Her articles and craft designs have appeared in Crafting Traditions Magazine, Easy Holiday Crafting Series-House of White Birches Newsletter and Country Woman Christmas Books. Kromminga's education is in interior design and she has experience operating a craft and design business for more than 20 years.