How to make a pirate ship out of popsicle sticks

Written by matt scheer
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How to make a pirate ship out of popsicle sticks
(Popsicle sticks macro background image by Jim Mills from Fotolia.com)

The classic pirate ship has two masts, a bowsprit, and a number of sails connected with rigging to the masts and each other. When making a pirate ship out of Popsicle sticks, simplify the design by not adding string to the project to represent the rope of the real ship. Even without the rigging, the Popsicle stick pirate ship is no quick undertaking, especially because there are many different compartments in the hull, and you must also paint the ship once it's assembled. Set aside a few days to complete your Popsicle stick pirate ship.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Popsicle sticks
  • Elmer's glue
  • Acrylic paint (Optional)
  • Utility knife
  • Pencil

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Glue the long face of a Popsicle stick to the long face of another stick, with the side of one stick aligned with the other stick's centre line. This action forms a two tread stairwell. Lay the Popsicle sticks on your table so that the stick glued to the centre line of the other stick lies on the bottom. Glue another stick to the centre line of the bottom stick. This action creates two sticks that are on the same plane and one that is on a plane below them. This formation is the basic building block of the pirate ship hull.

  2. 2

    Form two more hull building blocks to have three total, and then glue them together so they make a wall. Make two more walls just like it.

  3. 3

    Take one Popsicle stick wall in your hand. Glue five Popsicle sticks in a stairwell pattern branching off from the long side of the wall. Repeat this step for one other wall.

  4. 4

    Glue the two walls with the stairwell patterns to the third wall so that they form the main sides and floor of the hull and keel.

  5. 5

    Lay a Popsicle stick at a right angle to one of the walls so that the bottom of the Popsicle stick touches the beginning of the stairwell pattern and the top of the Popsicle stick touches the top of the wall. Mark the spot on the bottom with your pencil. Repeat this step for five more Popsicle sticks, moving each one further in toward the centre.

  6. 6

    Cut the Popsicle sticks with your utility knife at the marks you made on them. Line up the differently sized Popsicle sticks with fresh Popsicle sticks and cut the fresh sticks to match the already cut ones, so you have pairs. Glue these to the back of the hull so that the back of the boat begins to form. Make one more wall the way you made the first three and glue that one to the centre of the rear wall that you are forming.

  7. 7

    Create the front of the hull. Mark a spot two-thirds along a Popsicle stick and cut into the fibrous wood so that the outer layer is penetrated but not the opposite layer. This action creates a notch in the stick where it can be bent. Repeat this step for 19 more sticks. Glue these bent sticks along the inner face of the wall. Glue them so the long portion after the hinge can be bent inward toward the centre of the boat. Glue the long portions together to form a receding point that closes the front of the ship.

  8. 8

    Create two masts by gluing together four Popsicle sticks face to face, then three, and so on. Glue these blocks of sticks together into a tower that tapers. Glue this tower on the centre line of the ship about 3 inches from the rear of the hull. Repeat this process to create another mast and glue it 4 inches from the first one closer to the front of the hull.

  9. 9

    Create more walls in the same manner that you made the first, except make these walls up of only 2 building blocks. Glue these perpendicular to the floor of the hull to create different rooms.

  10. 10

    Create the main deck of the ship by using many hull building blocks until the entire hull floor is covered.

  11. 11

    Create the outlines of the main sail. On the rear mast glue one Popsicle stick pointing rearward about an inch above the hull walls. Glue two Popsicle sticks branching straight upward from the outward end of the horizontal stick, and glue one more stick pointing back in and touching the higher portion of the mast. This action creates the outline of the main sail. Fill the main sail in with Popsicles sticks if you wish. Repeat this process for the fore sail, but use only one vertical Popsicle stick rather than two, since the fore sail is smaller. Finish by making a triangular sail pointing toward the front of the ship coming off the forward mast.

  12. 12

    Create the bowsprit by gluing two Popsicle sticks in a line pointing straight out from the front of the hull.

Tips and warnings

  • Paint the Popsicle sticks in black and white to create the skull and crossbones image most people associate with pirates.

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