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How to make a cardboard gondola

Updated February 21, 2017

Cutting cardboard boxes is helpful for fine motor development in preschoolers and kindergartners, and one project to help them hone those skills is to make a cardboard gondola. The process is quick enough to keep the attention of young children for the entire duration. The gondolas created become toys for children to use in imaginary play scenarios. The boats are sturdy enough to support action figures or small dolls.

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  1. Draw a pointed oval inside the top of a shoebox with a pencil. This will serve as the bottom of the gondola. Draw both points about 2.5 cm (1 inch) short of the ends of the box top.

  2. Measure the length of the boat bottom from point to point. Cut the sides off the shoebox and draw sides for the vessel on the bottom of the box. Make the base of the sides 2 cm (3/4 inch) longer than the measurement between the points of the bottom. Draw two curved rises on the ends of one side. Cut out the bottom and sides.

  3. Put the base of the side with the rises against the bottom of the boat. The side base or bottom can be trimmed to make both ends meet. Put clear tape on the base of the side at both ends and in the middle. Tape the side to the bottom.

  4. Place the other side along the bottom and trim it or the bottom if necessary to make the ends come together. Use three pieces of tape to secure the base of the side to the bottom. Pinch the tops of the sides together and hold them closed with tape.

  5. Make bench seats for the gondola. Cut sections of cardboard at the width of the vessel in the middle and close to the front. Make the sections twice as tall as the boat sides. Fold the section at a 90-degree angle to form a bench and stick it to the bottom of the boat with tape. The tops of the benches can be taped across the sides for improved appearance and stability.

  6. Tip

    Colour the gondolas you make with crayons, markers or tempera paints.


    Always supervise small children closely while they use scissors.

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Things You'll Need

  • Shoebox
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Clear tape

About the Author

Jonra Springs began writing in 1989. He writes fiction for children and adults and draws on experiences in education, insurance, construction, aviation mechanics and entertainment to create content for various websites. Springs studied liberal arts and computer science at the College of Charleston and Trident Technical College.

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