Handmade Sailboats for Sailing in a Creek

by Tonya Staab
Published: Updated:

Sailing boats on a creek is something kids should experience, and this tutorial will have you building a creek-worthy sailboat with your kids that they will love.

While we were in Kentucky over summer break Mike and I had decided to take the kids to a creek not far from the house (one which we had been to before) and we decided we should make boats for the kids to race on the little rapids. You know, get back to some real unplugged childhood fun, the kind we had growing up.

So, when you are dating someone who is probably more creative than you (and loves to do DIY projects), then a simple boat with a block of wood and a sail suddenly becomes an actual project, that takes hours to build and requires a trip to a hardware store and craft store … but these boats will last a long time and the best part is that Flynn was taught how to use a few power tools and was able to help build the boats.

This tutorial is going to be very photo heavy as I wasn’t involved in the design or construction. I simply tagged along for the shopping and glued fabric to the wood sails. I know, some DIY’er I turned out to be. But I just wanted the boys to do their thing with this one without my interference.

So I can tell you that Mike came up with design, sketched it out, and then figured out exactly what he would need before we went shopping. While he and Flynn shopped for wood, Marisol and I headed to the fabric department to pick out patterns, and then picked paint colors.

Handmade Sailboat Supplies

  • balsa wood – you will need to do 5 layers for the boats – so make sure to measure
  • thinner ply wood – for the sails
  • squared stick – for attaching the sails
  • waterproof glue
  • waterproof sealer
  • fabric
  • spray paint
  • tools – lots of tools, which you’ll see below

So this is how the boats started to take shape:

So that was the basic size and shape for the boats.

It went from there ….

Once the ply wood was glued together it was held in place with clamps until dry while they cut out the sails, it was also reinforced with screws to ensure the base didn’t come apart. This tutorial will be a little out of order as I concentrate on one section at a time. So the base took shape like this …

Then the sails were cut, along with the mast to hold them …

The mast was screwed into place to ensure it was secure, fabric wrapped around the sails and glued, and then the sails glued to the mast … after the base of the boats were spray painted of course.

Then a waterproof sealer was sprayed over the top to protect the boats from moisture.

After leaving the boats to completely dry overnight it was off to the creek.

If you are wondering which creek we went to, we were at Cartwright Creek Bridge in Kentucky. We often see people driving their trucks right onto the creek and hanging out with their kids for the day, catching tiny fish in nets, chasing butterflies, and spending some quality time outdoors.

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1 comment

Jessica @ Polka Dotted All The Things Boutique August 24, 2017 - 10:26 am

Those are so cute! I love it! I always wanted that idealistic childhood memory of playing with wooden sailboats. It never occurred to me to make it myself! And you make it look so easy.


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