Creative Kids: Papier Mache Pirate Ship


C has been on me for the last month to make a pirate ship with him.  We finally did it.


To make the form I cut a paper box, bent it around, and taped it up to make a bow.  Then, eagerly, I hot glue gunned the masts and the steering wheel/captain cut out into place.  I later removed that and hot glued it back on after doing the papier mache as it was very awkward otherwise.

For the first coat of papier mache, we used newsprint paper.  I didn’t want pictures or text showing through (though in retrospect it probably would have looked neat).

For past projects, I’ve always used flour paste but I wanted to try glue paste this time around (I did 2/3 glue to 1/3 water).  I didn’t really notice a difference so probably would use flour paste next time as it is cheaper.

I kind of expected the kids to not like the mess and stickiness of applying the strips but they loved it.  I would dip the paper strips and remove the excess glue.  Then I would hand them the strip and they would apply it.  The process worked well.


For the next layer, we used tissue paper.  I debated about having C paint the ship but decided to go with a second papier mache application instead for strength.  Because the tissue paper ripped so easily when wet, I found it best to apply the glue onto the ship with a paint brush and then have the kids apply the tissue paper onto the glue.


Once dry, I re-hot glue gunned the masts and the steering wheel/captain cut out onto the ship.  For fun, I cut out circle port holes and glued in pics of our family and friends.  C was the captain.  The sails are just card stock white paper squares with hole punches.  The masts have fallen off a couple of times but I just glue them back on.  I haven’t yet thought of a way to reinforce them better…and C really doesn’t seem too bothered.


To balance the scales, Q made a papier mache project too that I’ll share next post.  In typical fashion though the pirate ship was way more work (and fun) to make, after all this, C plays with Q’s end project more.  Go figure!  I’m still glad we made the project together.  It’s the process that counts, right?


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