How to make a recycled floating ship

Updated April 17, 2017

Making your own crafts out of recycled items will be rewarding and can also help out the environment. Creating a recycled boat is a simple craft that allows you to reuse all many of your old aluminium soda cans.This floating ship requires the building of three main parts to make it float: the hull, mast and sail. Afterwords, you can use them for science experiments or have the option to race multiple boats with your friends.

Find an empty pop can lying around in your house or in your recycling bin. Wash it by running a stream of hot water inside the opening of the can. Squeeze a dab of liquid soap into the hole and let the water and suds overflow. Wash the rest of the can as delicately as possible. Lay it out to air dry.

Make the hull by propping your aluminium can on its base. Rotate the can's opening so that it points furthest away from you. Carefully use your thumbs to press in a dent on the side of the can facing you. This should be about 1/2 inch from the top and two inches wide, covering 2/3 of the side. Flatten this area with your fingers.

Create the mast by locating some thin, straight twigs around your lawn. The length should be the length and a half of your can. Lay your aluminium can flat on its hull with the opening facing you. Mark with a permanent marker the very top of the can about two centimetres away from the ridge. Put a dot through there.

Use your scissors to poke a small hole where the dot is. Have the size of the hole match the width of your twig. Place the twig into the can through this hole. Do this gently and make sure you don't bend any other areas of the can. Situate the twig all the way down until the end of the twig hits the other side of the can. This is the mast of your ship.

Take out one sheet of paper. Fold it directly in half and press down the crease as flat as you can. Then fold the sheet directly in half once more. Press down the creases. Unfold the paper and cut out the sheets using the creases as a guide. These four pieces of smaller paper will be the sails to your ship.

Mark out one hole two centimetres from the top of the sail. Make a dot two centimetres from the bottom too. Note, both of these markings should be aligned to the balanced centre of your sail. Use your scissors and poke out the holes from these markings. Gently slip the sail's holes onto the mast. Straighten the sails so they face forward.

Find a contained swimming pool to test out your recycled ship. Don't place it in any rivers because it may float away for good. Put the ship carefully on the surface of the water and let the breeze carry it away.


After testing out your basic boat, feel free to decorate it how you want. Just make sure the decorations are waterproof and lightweight.

Things You'll Need

  • Aluminium can
  • Scissors
  • Twig
  • Paper
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About the Author

Stephanie Flood began writing professionally in 2008. She has been published in local magazines including "Flagstaff Live" and "The Noise." Her work also appears on various websites. She earned a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Northern Arizona University. Flood's writing covers subjects including health, wellness, spirituality, travel, living and outdoors.