How to Make a Pirate Ship for Kids From a Box

Updated November 22, 2016

For generations, parents have understood a strange truth about children: they would rather play with boxes than with expensive toys. A large cardboard box can easily be transformed into a pirate ship. It will cost you next to nothing and your children will enjoy hours and hours of creative play.

Lay the box on one of its long sides so that the two short ends become the front and back of the pirate ship. Use the box cutter to cut off the top. Cut it in one piece; you will use it to create the bow of the ship.

Fold the cut-off piece of cardboard in half, and form it into a V-shape. Lay it down on its side so the point of the V faces away from the box and the open arms of the V line up with the sides of the open front of the ship.

Use heavy-duty tape to attach the V-shaped cardboard to the box, securely connecting the separate pieces and eliminating gaps.

Trace a door on one side of the ship. Use a box cutter to cut out the door, leaving it attached on one side. Bend the door in and out several times to create a crease that will allow the door to open and close easily.

Paint the entire ship one solid colour. Add details with craft paint and smaller brushes.

Draw a pirate flag with white chalk on black construction paper. Tape the flag to the broomstick and fly it from the pirate ship.


Get the kids involved with the decorating. Let them paint and colour the inside of the box however they choose. Any large appliance box will work, although a refrigerator box is best. If you are not in the market for a new fridge, call around to local appliance stores and ask if they can hold one for you. Sometimes one short end of the box will be missing, but that is OK.

Things You'll Need

  • Large appliance box
  • Box cutter
  • Heavy-duty tape (duct, packing or wide masking)
  • Latex paint
  • Craft paint
  • Large and small paintbrushes
  • Construction paper
  • Crayons
  • Broomstick
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About the Author

R.J. Bowman has a Bachelor's degree in accounting with a minor in English from Pensacola Christian College. After college, she taught English to seventh graders until becoming a mom. At that time, she found freelance writing to be a great way to keep her writing skills sharp.