Building a ship in a bottle is an art that has been practiced and perfected for centuries. Like all impossible bottle tricks, the ship in a bottle looks impossible only to those who do not know the secret.
Get a Ship in a Bottle
Get a bottle. The bottle's opening should be considerably smaller than the bulk of the bottle's diameter, but not any smaller than 1 or 2 inches.
Choose what type of ship you intend to build. Most artists of this kind like to create replicas of boats throughout history.
Measure the diameter of the bottle's opening. Keep this number handy. You will try to build the hull of the ship with a width and height less than that number.
Build the hull of the ship. Build everything except the mast, the spurs (support beams for sails) and the sails. Make sure this much of the boat can fit into the bottle.
Build the masts, spurs and sails separately. At the base of each of the masts, add a hinge. Each mast will need a hinge that can bend the sails at a near 90-degree angle.
Add the masts and sails to the rest of the ship. Make sure all the hinges are pointed so the open side of the hinges face the front of the boat.
Attach a line of sewing thread to each of the vertical, hinged masts. Connect the thread on the masts above the hinge. Make sure each thread is longer than the length of the bottle.
Mix paint or dye into putty to make the putty look blue, green or whatever your desired "sea" color should look like.
Get the putty inside the bottle. The putty will perform two functions: it will represent the sea and hold the ship in place.
Bend the masts forward and keep the thread pointed toward the rear of the ship. In this form, the ship should be able to fit into the bottle's opening.
Place the ship into the bottle and, using some homemade tools, place the ship firmly in the desired position on the putty. Make sure all the lines of thread are still outside the bottle.
Pull the lines of thread back gently, one at a time, to raise the masts and sails up to a perpendicular position. When the the optimum position is reached, cut away the threads.