Friday, January 22, 2010

Narnia and the North!

So the title is a bit misleading but hear me out. We've
been reading a lot of the Chronicles of Narnia lately.
The girls have been galloping through the house on their
stick horses, cloaks billowing out behind them, calling out
to one other in faux British accents. I am thinking that
it won't be long before one of them asks for a bow and
some arrows. And Narnian costumes. Mmmmm.

Yesterday I asked the girls what they wanted to do after
lunch and Jenna said, "crafts" (of course). So we cut up a
corrugated cardboard box and made ships.

Emily's was the Dawntreader,

Jenna wanted a princess figurehead

and Kate had no opinion so we left the prow of her ship bare.

We started out with the basic ship, which was just
a flat bottom with two symmetrical sides.

These were hot-glued to the bottom, meeting at the bow
(front). A smaller, trapezoid-shaped piece of cardboard
was added to the back to form the stern.

If anyone is interested, here is the pattern - I thought I'd
trace it out and save it here in case we want to make these
again - like if we ever did a nautical-themed birthday
party. The ship is about 14" long and too big for a single
sheet of letter paper, so there is some cutting and
pasting to put the pattern together.

Two strips of cardboard were also glued across the
middle of the boat, each with a hole to support the
mast and sails. This way the rigging stays vertically
stable without glue, and is removable for easier access
to the deck during play. We started out with just
one strip, planning to hot-glue the mast to the
bottom of the boat, but the girls wanted it removable.

Next we added the figurehead and tail

and a command bridge and helm (steering wheel
thingy)- made with cardboard and toothpicks.

The mast was made from a dowel and a popsicle stick.
I'd have liked the masts to be taller but all we had were
these precut foot-long dowels. The sails and flags were
construction paper that the kids decorated.

The girls spent the pre-dinner hour fancying up their ships -

yes, Kate, too! -

then loaded them with passengers

and sailed off into the sunset. You could just read
Ariel's thoughts: "Attina was right about land couture -
puff sleeves! At my age! If not for my contract
with Disney.....grrrrr....Soon as I get off this boat
I'm firing my wardrobe manager."

Today we continued with anchors

and lifeboats.

I suggested we have an actual sea battle involving
cannons (bubble tea straws and playdoh cannonballs),
battering rams and gangplanks. And turn Kate's
oversized dinghy into a real pirate ship and play
Roman galleys (minus slaves) and Asterix and Obelix
meet Caspian and the Pevensies. Oo, crossover
pretend play. Chilling possibilities.

Sadly, the girls chose to stick to leisurely cruises,
traveling playmobil circuses and princess tea
parties at sea. Alas.


  1. I love how you extend the craft (and the play!), so it is more than one day. Awesome.

  2. Oh my goodness how delightful. I have no littlies but already getting the urge to make those for no reason other than their lovliness. x

  3. You really are incredible and never cease to amaze me with your creativity! Your girls are so lucky to have a childhood jam-packed with wonderful creative fun! I wish I lived at your house!!! Lucy xxx

    1. agree with you, great!

  4. Your boats are fantastic! Now I know what to do with that big sheet of cardboard from Ikea that I've been hoarding out in the playroom =)

  5. And i was JUST thinking about the week ahead, wondering what fun thing I could do with the girls. This is perfect!!! H got the boxed set of 7 books for xmas and S got the boxed set of 7 "dramatizations" on CD -- so we are on Narnia overload around here! I'll let you know how it goes... Now I better go print the pattern off right away, lest this turn into another "good intention" of mine...

  6. So fabulous!!! And I'm gonna have all kinds of cardboard boxes next week when we unpack!Yipee!

  7. I love this! Any kind of craft involving boxes is fabulous. Now if I can just cut these out when the kids are asleep, we might be able to do this.

    Thanks. Love your blog!

  8. Absolutely wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!
    Well, I`m going to start collecting cardborad... :)

  9. These are fantastic. i just started reading your blog over the past week or so, and am AMAZED. I so sympathise with extending the play, and often find my daughter staring at me incredulously, as i suggest wilder and wilder ideas...

  10. Whoa... I'm kinda speechless right now... Just wow!

  11. Perfect timing! I saw this ship on The Crafty Crow and recognized it at once as the Dawn Treader. We are almost done reader the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, so we will definitely be making these! Thanks!

  12. My 5 year old says "cool! cool! cool!"

    Awesome project. FOund you via the crafty crow.

  13. This is sooo great! I am so glad to have this inspiration today. We are snowed in and I needed a change from Hot wheels with my boys. I can only play Batman for sooo long!!

  14. Well Lier, even though the girls wouldn't play battle you know what you can do for your next date night with the hubby. :)

  15. It's sweet and marvellous...i'm loving it!!!...bss

  16. an AMAZING project - thanks!

  17. So cute! I love these little pirate ships...especially seeing the Princesses on the ship, so fun! Thanks for linking up! I can't wait to see what you come up with next month!

  18. these are fabulous and a perfect craft for my 2 little guys! Thanks!

  19. I made one with my boy.
    Thanks a lot.

  20. These are amazing! Nicole from Gardenmama told me to come see your ships! Wow! I'm bookmarking your blog! love, Beth

  21. Hi Lier!
    WE made your boats for my daughter's 3rd birthday party, it was a Mermaids and Pirates theme and we had a wide variety of ages so I had the plain boats pre-made for the kids to personalize and decorate. It was a huge hit! Thank you for sharing such a fun project. I blogged about it here and included a link back to you!

    pink and green mama

  22. Adorei!Este blog é Fantástico! Parabéns!

  23. Hi Lier, I just made one of these with my son. He loved it! Thanks so much for the brilliant idea. I posted a link to your blog. Hope that that is okay? Emma

  24. I know two little girls (mine) who will adore your boats! Thank you so much for this project.

  25. Wow -these are so awesome!!
    I really want to make one for myself right now! But I will probably make them with my students at some point soon. Check out my blog at:


  26. Love your Dawn Treader boat.
    I run a little book club and was
    looking for instructions to make a model Dawntreader.

    I would have e-mailed you but I don't see an email address on your site.

    Thanks again,

  27. This is great! Thank you so much for posting the pattern. My daughters and all the family (here in Belgium) are now making these boats. We will glue papier mâché around them.
    Thanks for sharing !

  28. Lier, you are a fantastic woman and mom! A mom each kid can dream of.
    I just can't stop admiring your creativity, love to the kids and the combination of the two.
    Your blog is a TREASURE. I can't even think of how to express my "THANK YOU!" for all your enormous generosity and sharing.
    Woooww......wooowww and woooowww again
    I believe your talented designs skills and color taste reflects how good a person you are.
    Keep on being a source of inspiration to others!

    These ships come directly from the fairy books. I love them so much. To think that even your youngest was active in this superb craft/art activity! I am wondering how could they stay patient while you were cutting all these cardboard boxes and sticking them. Were they also involved in that part or they manage to be busy at playing around or doing some other ship parts in parallel? Maybe just enjoying watching you preparing for the next great activity?

    And I am not even talking about the sewing part of this blog with the precious tutos and the recent cardboard dreamful tree.... Not enough words and time to describe my appreciation.

    Have a wonderful weekend, you and your whole family!

    Thank you a million!!!!!


  29. this is an awesome project! thanks for giving the instructions to make the ship! i look forward to getting to do this with my kids this week ... we're exploring pirates! :)

  30. The boats and all of your projects are wonderful. Was wondering where you get all your large pieces of cardboard without any writing on it?
    Ellen Rivoir

  31. @Anonymous
    Ellen Rivoir: I use regular cardboard boxes, usually. I cut them apart and use the insides (blank) for the outsides of my projects. Some cardboard boxes, particularly shipping boxes, have very little print/writing on their outsides, so I especially look out for and save those.

  32. You are the coolest mom ever!! I homeschool my kids and never have had time to do all this fun stuff with my kiddos! Wow I wish I were this creative! Just found your blog and my older kids and I were giggling about the cuteness of your little family!! God Bless you and your sweet little ones!

  33. This is so cute! Just shared on our facebook wall for a Columbus Day craft idea with the kids - thank you!

  34. This is great! I'm a 5th grade teacher and we read The Dawn Treader.

  35. Have you thought about making a craft book? I would buy it for sure! Your ideas are inspirational and are awesome for creativity. We are planning a week long T.V and electronic black out and I have been looking for some great ideas for my kids. Thank you!!

  36. I just stumbled upon this idea on Pinterest. I homeschool and we are learning about the age of exploration right now. This is perfect!

  37. Thank you so much for this lovely post. I have just finished making three boats for my two girls and their cousin. I can't wait to see how they decorate and play with them.

  38. helpful and very creative crafts for toddlers. very easy to do.

  39. precioso para entretener a los niños y ecologico,buenisima idea

  40. I just ran across your Dawn Treader idea on Pinterest, and I have some boys who will be SO excited to make these! Great idea! We've been watching the Narnia movies this week during Christmas break, and the boys are all in a Narnia mood.

  41. Super ships!! As a Danish person I see them of course as Viking ships :) What a great craft to do with the kids. Would be a fun craft for birthday party. Prepare the cut out and the let each child assemble an decorate a ship. Thanks for sharing all the beautiful photos and providing a template!

  42. Love these boats, been wanting to do them for so long (think I first heard of your blog via Family fun) and was putting together a roundup of dragon boat tutorials when I remembered this! All your work is fantastic, I am so grateful for all that you share.

    (Link can be found here:

  43. Tooocute. Just took a look for first time. Decided to try to make mini to use in mote around fairy castle. Worked using paint samples instead of cardboard. Oue ship's base is toilet paper roll cut in 1/2" strip squeezed and glued onto paint sample. Then cut around bottom. Worked really well. Thank you for idea.

  44. This is great! Thank you for sharing the idea and the pattern too. I'll give this to my 7yo boy. He'll love it (he's obsessed with recycling). Thank you!

  45. Thanks so much for these wonderful patterns. My niece wants a "Ship" that she can put a baby wipes container into, for her nautical nursery. This will work perfectly.

  46. Thanks for sharing this! We will be making our Viking ships with your pattern for the first week of back-to-homeschool activities, as we study American Pioneers. (and Vikings)

  47. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. It helped me a lot with a craft I have to do.
    Cris Terrazzan

  48. happy accident that I stumbled across this on twitter! fun, eco and diy -- all in one place - color me delighted! ;)

  49. Wow. Mom that is amazing........I will try it tomorrow. My sons birthday party is in two days.

  50. Wonderful! Thanks for sharing your work.

  51. Thank you for sharing - here is our "version" of your ship!

  52. Well done Mommy, you are creating beautiful memories. xo

  53. These are so cute and creative! I was looking for a boat idea for Vacation Church school to use some really large boxes I have. I may try a giant size one for the theme of Paul's journeys. Maybe we'll make smaller ones for the kids to decorate. Thank you, thank you. You've given me so many ideas!

  54. Thank you so much for this template. I'm planning to use it for my son's How to train your dragon birthday party ;)

    Cristina, from Buenos Aires - Argentina

  55. so cool! cardboard is my favorite material, so definitely saving this. you also gave me an idea about my next cardboard collage art)) big thanks from Kiev, Ukraine

  56. It's five years later and people are still loving this tutorial! I just found it on Pinterest. My 12 year old son is going to use it to create a ship/cat bed for his Viking themed 4-H cat show cage. Can't wait! Thanks for sharing your clever ideas with the rest of us.

  57. Thats so much for the tutorial! I'm having a hard time figuring out page 3 of the pattern. Those are the two sides, right? they are different sizes?

  58. Thank you for the tutorial!!! I"m having a difficult time figuring out page 3 of the pattern. These are the sides, right? they are different sizes?


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