Make Your Own Ship in a Bottle

Jack B. Yeats loved to paint the sea and some of these paintings became very famous. In fact, most of them are of the Sligo coastline. As well as painting, he loved to build small toy boats from different materials like wood and cardboard. He would race them on the river and write stories about their journeys.

He also made small ships in bottles which he made out of small pieces of wood and fabric. You are going to build your own ship in a bottle from materials that you can find in your home. You can then display it and maybe even make a collection of them. Below you can see a ship in a bottle made by Jack B. Yeats.

Bottle II, Jack B. Yeats, Collection Of Model Boats

You are going to make your own ship in a bottle from materials you can find in your home.
You can then display it or even make a collection of them.

What you will need




Glue (PVA or glue stick)

Blu tac

Cocktail sticks or skewers

Colouring pencils or markers


  • To make a stand for your jar – cut out four strips of cardboard, two 9cm x 6cm long. You can change the size to fit your jar. Glue them together to make a rectangle for your jar to sit on.


  • Make the hull of your ship – remember it has to
    fit into the neck of the jar. Look at different kinds of ships and choose any shape you want. Draw the outline onto the cardboard. You will need to cut out five pieces, two identical sides, a front, a back and a flat bottom so that it sits upright in your jar.


  • Assemble – glue all the pieces together. If you want you can decorate your ship, give it a name and maybe some port holes.


  • Make the masts – using cocktail sticks or skewers. Cut them to the height that you want for your masts. Remember they can’t be taller than the width of the jar.


  • Making the sails – Use the height of your masts to give you an idea of how big your sails can be. Draw some sail shapes onto a plain piece of paper and decorate them with your favourite colours and patterns or maybe even make a pirate flag.
  • Cut your sails out and pierce a small hole at the top and the bottom of each of them. Then poke your masts through the holes.


  • Assemble – put a piece of blu tac inside your ship. Then stick your masts into the blu tac, this will keep them upright in the jar.
  • Then place your ship inside the empty jar. If the masts move or fall while you are putting your ship in the jar don’t worry, you can use a ruler to gently push the masts upright one by one.
  • You might want to stick your ship to the bottom of the jar using more blu tac or glue to keep it in place.


  • Decorate – once your masts are standing, close the lid of the jar and decorate the jar to finish it off.


Ask a parent or guardian to take a picture of your work and share it with us.
Don’t forget to sign it with your name and age.

We will post your artwork on our website and Instagram account

@modelsligo / #themodelinsideout

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