How to Make a Boat for a School Project

Updated February 21, 2017

Creating a model boat is a timeless project that a child at any age can enjoy doing for a school project. The first record of boats large enough to carry goods to trade is around 3500 B.C., according to Building your own boat replica today can be a fun and economical project, requiring just a handful of common items you can find in your house and a few quick and easy steps, according to Chevron Products Co.

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. Then punch four holes in the corners of the carton, placing them about an inch from the top of each of the corners.

Designate your three straws, making one a main pole and the other two sail poles. These three straws will become the mast, which is a vertical spar used to support a boat's sails, according to WordNet. Tape one of the sail straws horizontally to the main straw about an inch from the top of the main straw, so the two straws look like the letter "t." Then tape the second sail straw horizontally to the main straw about 2 inches to 3 inches from the bottom of the main straw.

Tape a piece of cling film between the two sail straws. This cling film will serve as your sail. Next, tape your new mast creation inside the empty milk carton. Make sure the main straw 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 tie 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 colour or design as you like. Place toys or other items you would like the boat to carry inside the carton. You also can use markers to colour the boat instead of paint. In addition, you can design your own flag using a piece 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.

Things You'll Need

  • Empty 2-litre milk carton
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Three straight drinking straws
  • Invisible tape
  • Cling film
  • String
  • Paint
  • Piece of fabric
  • Toys or other small items to use as cargo
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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.