Make your own paper boats (that really float!)


By Caitlin Murray Giles


Kids have been folding paper into boat shapes forever. But I bet you can still impress yours by helping them create a waterproof version that really floats. Ahoy, captain!


  • A rectangular sheet of paper (plain, colored or decorated by your kids)
  • Clear tape


  1. Begin with a rectangular piece of paper. A standard 8½ x 11 piece will work just fine, but a larger sheet will produce a bigger, better result. Newspaper is also a good choice.
  2. Place the paper on a flat surface in front of you with the short side at the top. Fold the top edge down to meet the bottom edge and make a crease. Then fold the left side to meet the right side, crease, and unfold at the crease. Fold the top left and right corners down to meet in the middle and crease (as if you were making a paper airplane).
  3. You should see two unattached strips of paper beneath the triangles you just made. Pick up the top strip and fold it up to make a crease. Turn the paper over and repeat this step.
  4. Rotate the paper so the point of the triangle is on one side. Pick it up, place your thumbs between the strips and open it.
  5. As you open the triangle, it will flatten into a diamond shape. If you see any stray flaps, tuck them in and crease again.
  6. Fold one bottom point up to meet the top point of the diamond and crease. Turn the paper over and fold the other bottom point up to the top, then crease, to form a new triangle. Open the triangle from the bottom and flatten it into a new diamond (as in Step 3).
  7. Pick up the diamond, place your fingers on each side of the very top point and gently pull both sides apart a bit. Keep pulling until the boat begins to take form.
  8. When the boat won't pull apart any more, flatten it into a canoe shape. Pull each side apart at the middle until it can stand on its own.
  9. Apply liberal amounts of clear tape to the bottom of your boat to make it "sea worthy."
  10. Take your waterproof vessel to the nearest stream, pond or bathtub and test it out in a good old-fashioned regatta.

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