How to Make a Craft Sailing Boat

Making a craft sailing boat with your child will not only awaken your fascination for sailboats, but also create a bonding moment that is priceless. Help your child craft a sailboat and use this activity to teach him a lesson or two about how boats float. Whether he uses the sailboat in the bathtub, swimming pool or a mud puddle, it will inspire imaginative play time. This craft project is inexpensive to make and requires only a few household items that you may already have.

Cut an oval shape out of the foam tray. It needs to measure about 9 inches in length. This will be the bottom of the boat.

Poke a sharpened pencil around the edge of the oval foam tray to create six holes. The holes have to be about 3/4 inches away from the edge and evenly spaced. The holes allow you to pull rubber bands through them later to attach the balloon to the tray.

Inflate the balloon so that it forms a long, narrow shape about 24 inches in length.. Do not blow it up too tightly; you want to be able to flex it without it bursting. This adds a decorative feature to the side of the boat craft. It also enables the craft sailboat to float better.

Tie the inflated balloon ends with simple knots. This enables you to attach the ends together later to form an oval that connects to the foam tray.

Side six rubber bands over the inflated balloon. Space them evenly around the balloon. This allows the rubber bands to match up quickly with the pencil holes in the next step.

Tie the balloon ends together so that the balloon forms an oval shape. This step helps you form the balloon to the shape of the foam tray quickly.

Place the balloon on the foam piece. Slide the rubber bands so that they are directly over the pencil holes. Doing this makes the rubber bands less complicated to pull through the holes.

Hold the balloon and oval foam shape together and flip it upside down. This allows you to secure the rubber bands to the bottom of the foam tray.

Grab hold of each rubber band and pull a section up through a hole. Slide a paper clip through the rubber band so that it anchors it. This step is important because it does not allow the rubber bands to slip back through the hole. This results in the paper clip being pulled flat against the surface of the foam plate. Repeat this method with each hole and rubber band.

Flip the foam plate over so that the balloon side is facing up and you can add the sail and passengers.

Cut a small triangle shape out of the white construction paper -- about 3 inches or 4 inches in length. Glue the short edge of the triangle shape to the end of the plastic straw with quick-setting or white school glue. This creates the sail of the boat. Allow it to dry.

Stand the end of the straw without the sail up in the centre of the sailboat. Secure it in place with the glue. This attaches the sail to the sailboat. Allow it to dry.

Add a passenger or two to the sailboat by placing miniature animals or people figurines into the base of the sailboat. You can also draw faces on ping pong balls with a permanent marker. Set your sailboat into the water and watch it float.


You can use a foam tray from packaged meat, but be sure to wash it thoroughly with antibacterial dishwashing liquid and hot water beforehand. Dry the tray with a soft towel before using.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean foam tray
  • Tape measure
  • Scissors
  • Sharpened pencil
  • Long, thin balloon -- the kind you use for animal shapes
  • Six rubber bands
  • Straw
  • Quick-setting or white school glue
  • White construction paper
  • Miniature animals, people figurines or ping pong balls
  • Permanent marker
  • Anti-bacterial dishwashing liquid -- optional
  • Soft towel -- optional
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About the Author

Chelsea Fitzgerald covers topics related to family, health, green living and travel. Before her writing career, she worked in the medical field for 21 years. Fitzgerald studied education at the University of Arkansas and University of Memphis.