How to make a cardboard pirate ship

Updated February 21, 2017

Movies and toys on the market make pirate ships popular among children. A cardboard box can be used to make a large pirate ship that can provide hours of play time. For this project a refrigerator box or a box that held a washing machine can be used. You can be creative and paint the ship or draw designs on it.

Find a large cardboard box, such as a refrigerator box. An appliance store might be a good place to get boxes. Flatten the cardboard box so it is easier to handle.

Cut the cardboard box into the shapes that you need. You will need to cut out the base of the private ship and the sides. Use the length and the width of the box as the size of the base and sides of the ship. For example, the base of the ship can be one of the sides of the box, all you have to do is shape it and round the edges in the front. The craft website suggests cutting the base in the shape of a trapezoid. Cut the sides to the shape of the base. Use the base as a reference.

Glue the sides of the pirate ship to the base. Use hot glue and a hot-glue gun to attach the sides. Allow the glue to dry overnight.

Cut a piece of cardboard for the back of the pirate ship. Measure the width between the two sides and the height from the top of one side to the base of the ship; cut the back piece according to those measurements. Glue the back piece to the base and between the sides of the ship.

Create a mast for the pirate ship. Since this will be a large ship, you can use a broomstick. suggests gluing styrofoam inside the ship at the bottom, then sticking the broomstick into the foam. Use pillowcases or a sheet as a sail.

Paint the pirate ship to your liking. Paint the ship in a well-ventilated room. Allow the paint to dry overnight.


You can apply duct tape to your pirate ship, to reinforce it, for added security.

Things You'll Need

  • Large cardboard box
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Duct tape
  • Paint
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About the Author

Based in New Jersey, Ashley Leonard has been writing professionally since 2007. Her articles have appeared on and various other websites. Leonard holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marymount Manhattan College.