How to Make a Clothespin Sailing Boat

Three Methods:Step One: Making the sailStep Two: Adding the anchor and keel weightStep Three: Finishing touches and sailing

This cute wooden boat made from the old-fashioned one-piece wooden clothespin (clothes peg) actually floats and has a keel!

Method 1
Step One: Making the sail

  1. 1
    Cut a piece of strong but thin card into a triangle, for the sail. The base of the triangle should be about 10-12cm (4-6"), the edges the same.
  2. 2
    Slide the triangle into the clothespin slit. Use additional small pieces of card or poster tack to wedge it into place.
  3. 3
    Pierce a small hole in the top corner of the sail. This is the bit that will be above the water. Slip string through this and tie a small knot to prevent the string slipping back through. Trim the string to neaten.
  4. 4
    Pull the string taut from the sail to the round clothespin end. Wrap around this round knob several times. Leave string dangling down for the next step.

Method 2
Step Two: Adding the anchor and keel weight

  1. 1
    Attach a weight such as a washer or other round weighted object to the end of the string. This serves as the boat's anchor. Allow to dangle but trim off excess string after firmly attaching.
  2. 2
    Place a weight on the lower side of the triangle sail. This serves as the boat's keel. An object such as a button, safety pin or unwanted earring can be used for this. Glue or attach firmly in place.

Method 3
Step Three: Finishing touches and sailing

  1. 1
    Add a sailor or two. Cut out some people figures and glue in place on the boat.
  2. 2
    Test sail. It's most likely you'll need to make adjustments and fiddle around a bit before you discover the best sailing position for the boat. Making changes or even starting again from scratch is part of the learning process for budding boat engineers!
    • Experiment in a basin of water first, instead of losing your sailing boat down the stream.


  • You can cover the sail in adhesive contact. This step is optional; it helps to waterproof the card but it can also change the weight distribution and might not be worth the effort. Cut several triangles if you want to keep experimenting.

Things You'll Need

  • Strong but thin card
  • Ruler for measuring
  • Scissors
  • Adhesive contact (optional)
  • Extra scrap card or poster tack (or plasticine)
  • String
  • Glue
  • Washer or similar item for anchor
  • Button, safety pin, earring, etc. for keel weight

Article Info

Categories: Kids' Crafts