It’s been a chaotic week here chez nous, with builders in residence, my husband travelling, and flat-pack-tastic furniture from IKEA covering every surface awaiting my amateur attempts at self-assembly.  Harry has been angelic throughout, only occasionally becoming stuck in near-dry cement, chewing on innapropriate pieces of hardware (‘these nails taste spicy Mummy’), or dragging still-warm power tools into his den.  As a reward for his forbearance, I decided to use all the leftover cardboard packaging to make a pirate ship.  It’s been a darn sight easier than assembling a LeftvigKlemtangerArkleHeinig filing cabinet, that’s for sure….


I used a square cardboard box as the base, then stapled long pieces of cardboard either side to form a boat-shape.  I covered these in leftover wood-effect wallpaper for a nautical touch, though paint would do just as well.  The sails are made from sheets of standard A3 paper, printed with a skull and crossbones, then lashed to bamboo poles with an old washing line, before being tucked into a silver-sprayed cardboard tube.  I punched holes in the paper first and reinforced them with eyelets.

I threaded spare curtain rings on string through the cardboard to simulate life-rings (not very pirate-esque, but let’s call it artistic license…)

Harry’s telescope is 3 empty toilet rolls, wrapped in black paper and edged with glued-on ribbon.  I tucked them one inside the other and used a glue gun to secure them.  Apparently you can use it either way around to spot ships and bounty…

I made the treasure map by printing out the text on a sheet of paper, scribbling on a rough ‘map’, then daubing with used teabags.  Here comes the exciting bit; stand far away from smoke detectors (outside, preferably), and singe the edges, blowing out quickly each time.

The ‘anchor’ is the doorstop from my office, threaded through with a length of chain we rescued from a neighbour’s skip.  It threatens Harry with juvenile hernia every time he gamely attempts to toss it overboard; I may replace it with a cardboard model before social services arrive.

Even pirates need to eat once in a while, so I constructed this fishing line from a slotted wooden spoon, ribbon and fish shapes cut from coloured card stock.  I used buttons for the eyes and reinforced the holes with eyelets, in the hope that these wee fishes manage more than a single outing from ocean to boat.

And so, as the sun sets we will sail off in our cardboard ship to seek our fortune on the ocean wave, and turn a blind eye to the 648 pieces of pre-drilled swedish hardwood which are scattered throughout the house.  Let’s hope we spot my husband and his screwdriver on the horizon sometime soon…

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