How To Make A Toy Boat That Really Floats!

Simple toy boats are a great toy to play with both inside and outside. Making a toy boat is easy, and some only take a few minutes to do! But do you know how to make a toy boat that really floats?

How To Make a Toy Boat That Really Floats!

If you’re going to be putting your boat on the water, you’ll need to make sure it can float properly. Luckily, this isn’t too tricky to do; however, there are some things you’ll need to do so your boat can float.

Here are some ways to make a great toy boat that can really float on the water!

How To Make A Paper Toy Boat That Really Floats 

What You’ll Need

A paper boat is incredibly simple, and all you need is an A4 piece of paper to make one. However, you can use some markers to decorate the boat, or some biodegradable glitter if you have any.

Constructing The Boat

Start off with your piece of paper horizontally in a landscape position. Fold the bottom edge to the top, and unfold it again. Then, fold the left edge to the right.

Position the paper so it’s horizontal again, with the open end facing towards you.

Fold down the top-right corner into the center, leaving around an inch from the bottom edge. Repeat with the top-left corner, as if you’re starting a stubby paper plane.

From there, fold the top layer of the bottom rectangle up. Flip the paper over and repeat on the other side.

Now, pick up the paper by the rectangle with the pointed part pointing towards the ground. Holding it by each side, begin to gently push the two sides together until a diamond shape forms in the middle.

Keep pushing the two sides together until they meet and you’re left with a square that has excess paper from the edges of the rectangles.

Fold one piece of the rectangle under the other on both sides of the diamond so there is no excess. This should be on the bottom of the diamond.

Then, fold the bottom point up to the top point, and do the same on the other side. You should leave some space from the top of the center point so it stands out more.

Now, gently widen the diamond back up, pinch the two smaller points, and gently pull them apart. The frame of the boat will open up.

Flatten the toy boat to strengthen the creases, and make a small interior hollow within the boat. Adjust the shape slightly if need be, and you’re done! You have now created a paper toy boat that really floats!

Floating Your Boat

Now your toy boat is ready to float on the water! Place it gently on the surface of still water, taking care not to get any water inside the boat. 

If you’re playing with your paper boat inside, try putting it in the bath or in a sink. Or why not take it outside and let it float in puddles and ponds!

You can use a straw to blow your boat over the surface of the water. For a fun game, try to race boats against each other only using a straw!

How To Make A Wooden Toy Boat That Really Floats 

What You’ll Need

Because a wooden boat is more complicated than a paper one, you’ll need a few more things before you can get started.

Here’s what you need to get:

  • Thin sheets of balsa wood or cork
  • Wooden chopstick/pencil
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood glue
  • A piece of cloth or craft paper
  • Craft knife
  • Scissors
  • Polyurethane spray

Making The Pieces

Thin sheets of balsa wood or cork are the best choice for your toy boat, as they are light enough to give your boat the buoyancy it needs to float.  

If you have a template for a wooden boat, then feel free to follow that. If you don’t, then a basic boat shape without any curves is just as effective as it is simple.

Don’t worry if your toy boat is blocky; a flat bottom will give your boat the most surface area, making it easier for the toy boat to float.

Cut the pieces of your boat out with a craft knife or small saw. Balsa wood and cork are both fairly soft, so this should be fairly easy to do.

Use a drill or craft knife to bore a small hole in the piece of wood that will be the top of your boat. This is for the mast.

You can make the mast out of a wooden chopstick or pencil, which has been cut down to an appropriate length.

Assembling The Boat

Apply a line of wood glue to the edge of each piece and line it up with the edge you want to glue it to. Push the pieces together and hold them there, keeping them firmly in place. Hold the pieces together for 90 seconds to let the glue set, and continue until your boat is assembled.

To make the mast, put some wood glue in the hole in the top of the boat and insert the mast inside. Hold it in place for 90 seconds to let the glue set.

You might want to do this step yourself, as letting a child apply the glue is a sure-fire way to make an impossible-to-clean mess.

Leave the frame for at least an hour so the glue can dry.

You can make a sail for your toy boat in a few ways. 

To make a basic sail, cut a triangle of craft paper or cloth and attach it to the mast with glue or tape. Alternatively, you can make a ‘boom’ (the horizontal part of the mast that the sails are attached to) out of a toothpick or thin dowel. Use this to give your sail some extra stability.

For a more-involved sail, use two wooden skewers to create booms that extend out of both sides of the mast and glue them a few inches apart. Then, using some twine or glue, attach a rectangular piece of cloth to the booms.

Finishing Your Toy Boat Off

With everything assembled, it’s time to smooth your boat’s edges. 

Use a piece of sandpaper to sand down the edges of your boat. Pay extra attention to the seams between pieces, 

To waterproof your wooden boat and add a finish to the wood, give your boat a spray with a coating of polyurethane. Make sure you do this away from young children, and avoid breathing in any of the spray.

Let it dry according to the spray’s instructions, and your wooden toy boat is ready to float!

Final Thoughts 

So now you know how to make a toy boat that floats! These are both easy methods, and are a great way to spend an afternoon with some fun crafts.

Whether you’re making a simple paper boat, or going all-in on a wooden boat, you’re sure to have a great time on the water.

Now all you have to do is get crafting. Have fun!

If you’re looking for other wooden toys you can make with your kids, read on to this article here, or if you don’t fancy making them all yourself, see our article on our 6 best wooden toddler toys.

Joyce Bailey
Latest posts by Joyce Bailey (see all)