How to Make a Sailboat From a Milk Bottle

Written by b.t. alo
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How to Make a Sailboat From a Milk Bottle
Teach kids about recycling by making a toy sailboat from an old milk bottle. (toy sailboat image by Kimberly Reinick from

Making toys out of recycled household items provides an ideal opportunity to teach kids about the importance of recycling, while also giving them something to play with. Milk bottles are items we regularly throw away, but they can make lots of different toys, from racing cars to spaceships and sailboats. When making sailboats from milk bottles, always make sure that kids are playing with them in an area where the boat can be easily retrieved, such as a swimming pool or bathtub---otherwise your boat may contribute to polluting our seas and waterways if it gets lost.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Plastic milk bottle
  • Scissors
  • 3 straws
  • Hot glue
  • Lightweight fabric

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  1. 1

    Cut the side off of your plastic milk bottle, so that the spout and lid of the bottle remain, but most of one side is cut away. Lay the milk bottle so that the hole is facing upwards. This is the sailboat body.

  2. 2

    Place a blob of hot glue in the bottom of the sailboat, in the centre. Place one straw immediately in the glue, positioned vertically for your main sailboat mast.

  3. 3

    Glue a second straw horizontally onto the mast, around 1/2 inch from the top, then the third straw parallel to this one, but around 1/2 inch higher than the body of the boat.

  4. 4

    Cut out a rectangle of the lightweight material, big enough to fit between the two horizontal squares. Run a line of hot glue along the two horizontal straws, and press the fabric onto the glue, securing the sail to the mast. Your sailboat is now ready.

Tips and warnings

  • For a triangular sail, cut one straw in half, and glue its end to the main mast's straw, around 1/2 inch from the sailboat body, and glue the third straw between the top of the mast and the end of the second straw, before gluing on a triangle piece of cloth.
  • Make sure the milk bottle is clean before using it to make a sailboat.

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