Adults or children, we all love popsicles! And when you’ve finished your sweet treat, why not put the stick to good use?
We’ve got 21 popsicle stick boat craft ideas for kids. From simple projects to more complex creations, there’s plenty here to fire their imaginations!
So if you’re ready, step this way to find some great ideas to while away a rainy afternoon …
Popsicle Stick Boat Craft Ideas for Kids
1. Rainbow Rafts
These colorful rainbow rafts are really easy to make – and they look fantastic.
You’ll need nine popsicle sticks for each one. Six sit side by side to form the raft. Another three go at right angles underneath – one at either end, and one in the middle. That will support the structure so it doesn’t come apart when it takes to the water.
Your kids can use paints or crayons to color in the popsicle sticks. Make sure they color them before they stick them together, though! A cut down drinking straw glued in place makes a mast, and cut paper into a triangle for the sail. Decorate that too for maximum fun.
2. Corking Boats
Have the adults been enjoying a glass or two of vino while the kids have been eating their popsicles?! If so, this is the perfect project! Adding a couple of corks to the underside of a popsicle stick raft will give it added buoyancy.
This is another boat that’s very easy to make. Just get your kids to glue six sticks side by side to create the raft. Then glue the corks on their sides underneath. You want one at either of the narrower ends.
If you have a spare cork, cutting off a slice makes a great holder for the wooden skewer mast. Alternatively, some play dough or poster puttie will do the job just as well.
4. Row, Row, Row Your Boat
This clever popsicle stick rowing boat is a slightly more complex project. But it’s still easy to do with a little patience.
Get your kids to paint or color in the popsicle sticks before they start to build. You’ll need quite a lot for this project – about 40.
The sides are made by layering sticks on top of each other to form a diamond shape. You want to overlap the ends of the sticks so that there’s a small gap between them. That will give you space to add the “seats” about halfway up. Then just add a couple of sticks for the oars.
5. S.O.S Life Raft
This S.O.S. life raft has sides as well as a base, so you’ll need more popsicle sticks.
The construction is similar to the rowing boat – you’re just make a square structure instead of a rhombus. Get your kids to paint the sticks for the sides a different color to the ones for the base. They can either use colored paper for the mast, or paint their own design.
The key element, though, is that big, bold, S.O.S.!
6. Pleasure Boat
This pleasure boat design looks very impressive, with its sun canopy and prow. But as long as your kids have plenty of popsicle sticks – and patience! – it’s surprisingly easy to make.
Choosing different colors for the canopy will make the finished boat look brilliant. And alternating the colors on the canopy itself will give a classic stripey look.
Some cutting is required here, so you may need to help smaller children. Smaller pieces of stick are needed to brace the structure and hold the upright sections in place.
7. Sailing Boat
This sailing boat is a serious popsicle stick project! It requires both a lot of sticks and a lot of time. But if your kids are looking for a project to keep them occupied over several sessions, this could be perfect.
As well as the popsicle sticks, you’ll need some cord and fabric for the sails. The sticks will need to be cut to the right size. And there’s lots of gluing to do here too, so a glue gun is a must.
When finished, this looks good enough to display. But it will float too, so your kids can take it on the water and impress their friends!
8. Tall Ship
This tall ship is one stylish popsicle stick boat! It’s another project that requires a lot of sticks, so it’s a great way to use up a larger stash.
The sails here are made of wood shavings, which look very classy. But you could just as easily replace them with paper or fabric versions. They won’t stay curled, but they’ll be more effective if your kids want to sail the boat when it’s finished.
9. Leisure Boat
This cute leisure boat design requires some more advanced skills. That’s because of the curved central canopy. It looks great, but takes some work to pull off. The popsicle sticks need to be supported using flexible wire.
The rest of the design uses similar techniques to simpler boats. The sides are simply formed from overlapping sticks, although the slanting prow takes a little more work.
We love the way cut down sticks have been used to create railings too.
10. Square Boat
This square raft is much simpler to construct! It’s similar to the S.O.S. life raft, but here the base is more substantial. It uses two layers of popsicle sticks instead of one.
The sides, though, are simpler. Instead of multiple layers of sticks, one is simply turned on its side. It looks just as good, and means fewer sticks are need overall.
The mast here is made from a popsicle stick too. And the finished product is sturdy enough to carry passengers. Time to take those Lego minifigures for a sail!
11. Rubber Band Power Boat
This rubber band power boat is great fun to build – and even more fun to set running afterwards!
You won’t need huge numbers of popsicle sticks. But they will need to be cut and stuck together with a glue gun. And two sticks will need to have a groove cut into them to make the paddle. That means smaller children will need adult help and supervision.
The rubber band is twisted around the paddle, and released when the boat is set into the water. It will go speeding away until the band is straight again. You can see how to make the whole thing in this Youtube video from DaveHax.
12. Foam Float
This foam float is one of the easiest popsicle stick boats to make. And it looks great too!
With this one, the popsicle sticks are stuck together in a single layer. Get your kids to paint them their chosen colors, then paint some foam counting blocks to match.
The easiest way to build this is by positioning the foam blocks side by side first. You can then add glue on top to attach the popsicle sticks. The foam blocks act as a float for the raft.
Last but definitely not least, add a wooden peg doll passenger to enjoy the waves!
13. Simple Pirate Ship
This simple 2D pirate ship is easy for little ones to make. You can use jumbo sized sticks for the body of the boat and the mast, and regular ones for the sail.
Get your little ones to paint or color the popsicle sticks, then cover the surface of two of the jumbo sticks in glue. Now attach the remaining jumbo sticks at right angles to create the shape of the boat. Repeat the same process with the regular sticks for the sail.
The centerpiece is the Jolly Roger! For that, cut out a skull and crossbones from some white paper, and let your kids glue it in place.
14. Advanced Pirate Ship
Older children looking for a more advanced project will love this take on a pirate ship. The hull here is made of cardboard, with popsicle sticks used for the deck and super structure. Bamboo skewers are used for the masts, and black craft paper makes the sails.
They’ll need a sharp knife to cut the cardboard, bamboo and popsicle sticks. And a glue gun is the best way to stick everything together.
This looks great, but don’t try and put it on the water! The cardboard will disintegrate if it gets wet.
If your kids want to create something that looks amazing and floats, this galleon could be their inspiration. It even has lights on top of the masts!
The popsicle sticks here have been sanded to create a smooth finish. And this is another model that makes good use of bamboo skewers. Here they’re used for railings, as well as to frame the sails.
16. Lake Boat
This is another boat that it’s safe to take out on the lake when it’s finished. The central cabin gives it plenty of character. And it’s a lot less work than the galleon!
Everything except the central insert is made from popsicle sticks. And that insert is made of Styrofoam, cut to shape to add buoyancy. Painting it blue on top gives it a lovely nautical look.
This boat is very easy to make. The only equipment you’ll need is a sharp knife to cut the sticks, and a glue gun to stick everything together.
17. Sail Boat with Crows’ Nest
This clever design takes a simple popsicle boat up a level with a crows’ nest. Your kids could even add a peg doll or minifigure to keep a lookout!
The extra long mast here is made from two popsicle sticks placed end to end. Securing them safely in the middle therefore requires a bit of engineering. The good news is that the crows’ nest will cover up industrial quantities of glue!
You could make life simpler by using a dowel rod, or just keeping your mast the length of one jumbo stick.
18. Paddle Boat
This paddle boat is the second rubber band powered model to make our list. This one uses two matching paddles on either side of the boat. Twist the band, place the boat in the water, and watch it go like the clappers!
This is another design where a sharp craft knife is needed to cut or score the sticks. And the trusty glue gun is required to stick the different parts together. If your kids want a finer finish, they can use sandpaper to remove any extra glue and rough bits of wood.
19. Viking Ship
This Viking longboat is another project that looks amazing, but is surprisingly easy to make. In this case, buttons are used along the sides to look like shields. And the ends of popsicle sticks are glued onto bamboo skewers to make convincing oars.
A big striped flag made from paper or cardboard adds the final Viking touch!
20. Simple Raft
This is pretty much the simplest design we’ve found – but it also floats perfectly! The raft is formed from three layers of popsicle sticks. Each one is placed on top of the next with the sticks running at right angles. That creates a structure that’s both strong and buoyant.
The mast is made of a popsicle stick too, held in place with a blob of poster puttie. Then all that’s left is the sail. Use craft paper or light cardboard so it will keep its shape when it’s stuck to the mast.
21. Tri-Sail Ship
These sweet little boats use the same basic approach as we’ve seen on lots of other models. Popsicle sticks are simply cut to size and glued together to make the basic boat shape.
This one, though, has a platform at the back. And what really sets it apart are the three masts, each with a large sail. Arty kids can go to town with the designs for the sails to create something truly unique. Or they could research flags from olden times for ideas.
Time to Eat Some Popsicles!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our look at 21 popsicle stick boat craft ideas for kids! From simple boats that can be made in less than an hour, to complex projects, there’s loads to choose from here.
And remember, you don’t have to eat enough popsicles for your chosen model! If you need more, you can buy the sticks separately – they’re often sold as “craft sticks”.
Whatever project your children choose, we hope they enjoy making their very own popsicle stick boat!