Here’s an easy straw DIY boat craft for Summer! This is a fun STEM craft (building something that floats) that has plenty of room for kids to modify the design and make it their own. You could even turn it into a STEM challenge.
When the boats are finished, they become DIY toys. Place them in gently in water and watch them sail away. Blow through a straw to create wind for the sail, and maybe even race the finished boats.
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This craft is super easy but best suited to kids aged 8+ because it uses a hot glue gun in the construction process.
A better alternative for younger kids is duct tape sponge boats which have the added advantage of being waterproof if they get wet and will hold up to more splashing and rough play.
If you want to waterproof this craft more, you could go with plastic straws and duct tape sails. I’ve used paper straws because they’re better for the environment and a paper sail for the same reason. If seas get rough, the boats won’t last long but the catamaran-style design floats great.
Are you ready to get started?
How to make straw DIY boats
You will need
- Paper straws
- Hot glue gun
- Wooden skewers
- Construction paper
- Washi tape (optional)
- Lead pencil
Use a vertical straw to line up 12 horizontal straws (or less if the straws are wider) by laying it adjacent to the edges. Measure halfway along the top and bottom straw in the line-up and draw a line with a lead pencil. Cut each straw in half.
With the edges of the half-sized straws lined up against the vertical straw, use a hot glue gun to stick a piece of straw across the top of them. Repeat on the other side.
Before the hot glue has fully set, poke the skewer into the centre of the middle straws to create a small, snug, gap.
Glue two more straw pieces onto the base, butted up against the existing pieces.
Trim the messy edges with a pair of sharp scissors.
Trim approx 5cm (2″) from the blunt end of your skewer using a pair of sharp scissors or a set of garden secateurs.
Stick a piece of washi tape near the top blunt edge of the skewer, lining it up so the sticky parts are back-to-back. Trim this to look like a flag.
Take your piece of construction paper and cut a rectangular sail from it. Mine is approximately as wide as the boat but there is no standard measurement required for this.
Bend the paper sail so the two shorter edges line up and poke the sharp edge of the skewer through it (watch your fingers!). Spread this out across the skewer to look like a sail.
You can modify this design however you like. Make different colours, decorate the sails, trim the flags into different shapes.
To turn this craft into a STEM challenge: give kids the materials and invite them to design their own boats.
Then all that’s left to do is float them!
More fun STEM craft ideas
- Make a balloon-powered sponge boat
- These whirlygigs with printable patterns are loads of fun
- Turn a recycled box into a DIY solar oven
- Create a coat hanger catapult
- Make an iPhone speaker from a paper roll and cup