How to Build a Model Sailboat

Building a replica of anything can be enjoyable, this is actually an activity that is done by many individuals who find the pastime fulfilling. You may build a model sail boat as part of a larger set or you may construct it simply to see it work in real life conditions, either at a lake or in fact in a more confined set up like a swimming pool. Regardless of why you are building a model sail boat the one thing that is most probable is that you can get very creative with the design and look of it. This specific design is relatively simple and will not require a great deal of skill, however, if you are inherently good with your hands then this will be to your benefit.

Required Materials:

  • Scissors
  • Staple gun
  • Box cutter
  • Hand saw
  • Drill with ¼-inch drill bit
  • Required Tools
  • Balsa wood (2 by 4), 8 inches in length
  • Sandpaper
  • Waterproof glue
  • Wood dowel, approximately ¼-inch diameter
  • Canvas, cotton sheeting or paper which will be utilised to build the sail.


1) To start you will want to create your hull. To do this shave your wood to create the shape of the hull, this will be done by utilizing your box cutter to mould the piece of wood, allowing it to form a point at the end of the wood. You will want to concentrate on the sides of the wood as well, this will after all be the bottom of your sail boat. Basically you should construct an angled shape when you are finished.

2) To give your hull a pleasingly smooth look you will have to sand it thoroughly. This will give it more definition. To reduce the excessively angled shape you created previously you will need to use the sand paper to give it a more rounded edge, this will increase the realistic boat look that you may be going for.

3) You will now have to drill a hole in your base structure, this will be utilized to install the support mast for the sail. This hole should be centred in the hull and should be drilled to a depth of about ½ inch. This will add to its structural integrity, though it is a model boat you will like it to sail as close as possible to the real thing. In addition, it will look better with a well positioned sail.

4) Construct your dowel by cutting it to a length of 6 inches using a hand saw. This should be a precision cut that is simultaneously straight and even. Therefore be patient and take some time to get it right.

5) Sand this newly created dowel ensuring that the edges do not have any splinters all over it, this may be an annoyance once the boat is being used.

6) You can now insert your mast. This will be done by placing your wood glue in the hole you previously made within the hull and then pushing the dowel mast into it. You may notice that the glue will spew out while you are affixing the dowel into the hull however, you may just wipe and then allow the parts to dry. Depending on the glue it may take as little as 20 minutes and as much as the whole day to dry. During this time of waiting you can go ahead and create your sail.

7) When making the sail you will want to cut your prefered material (paper, canvas or cotton sheeting) into a 4 inch equilateral triangle using scissors hence it should be completely symmetrical. To increase the symmetry use stencils or proper measurements. When the sail has been cut out you can add any additional decorative elements to it especially if your glue has not yet set.

8) You can then attach your sail to the dowel mast when it has completely dried. Wrap the sail around the dowel mast so that the edges of the material cannot be seen.

9) You can then create the rigging for your boat. You will achieve this by gluing the string to the area where the sail is glued to the mast, for the other end the staple gun will suffice in securing rigging to the hull.

Tips and Warnings

You can add a keel to give the boat some more realism. You can do this by using a bit of balsa wood cut in the shape of a thin triangle that you may glue to the bottom area of your boat.

Do not let children use the drills, jigsaw or staple gun even if you are doing this as a family project.