How to Make a Ship Out of Clay

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Things You'll Need

  • Bucket or bowl
  • Water
  • Modeling clay
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Paint or markers
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Toothpick
  • Pennies or paper clips

Make ships out of modeling clay for a fun, rainy-day craft. Modeling clay contains oil that prevents it from dissolving or becoming soggy when exposed to water. It is lightweight, which enables it to float better than other kinds of clay. Get your ship builders to experiment with shape to see which works best. Compete to see whose ship can hold the most pennies or paper clips.

Work the clay between your hands until it is soft and pliable.

Shape the clay into a ship's hull. Experiment with flat or curved hulls to see which floats best.

Draw a triangle on a piece of paper. This will be the ship's sail. The size of the triangle will depend on the size of your ship. Cut your triangle out.

Paint your triangle or use markers to decorate it as a pirate ship or a ship with brightly colored sails.

Glue the triangular sail to a toothpick. Press the sharp side of the toothpick into the bottom of the clay ship hull. You ship is ready to set sail.

Fill a bucket with water. Estimate how many paper clips or pennies your craft will be able to take before sinking. Place your ship into the water and start adding pennies or paper clips.


  • Use stickers, crayons or colored pencils to decorate the sails if you wish.

About the Author

Nicole Fotheringham has been a writer since 1997. She was born in South Africa and began as a reporter for the "Natal Mercury" and "Cape Argus" newspapers. Fotheringham has a master's degree in English literature from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images