Viking Ship Craft

We made this super cool Viking ship craft from stuff around the house.

You’ll need:

  • two milk cartons, smallish
  • ruler, pen
  • masking tape
  • paint, we used tempera, and brushes
  • a straw
  • paper, plain white printer
  1. Start with two milk cartons. We used one pint size, but the school milk size would work as well. Draw a line about one inch down all the way around the milk carton and cut your carton down. We just used one ruler width from the top of the carton, with the carton turned on its side, to make it simple.
  2. Now use the other side of the milk carton, the part you cut off, to trace out the prow and stern of the ship. We made ours look (sort of) like a dragon head and tail.
  3. Now use masking tape to completely cover a straw (this will make it stronger and paintable).
  4. Tape the straw to the flat bottom side of one of the cut down milk cartons and then use masking tape to completely surround your milk carton with tape, strapping it all the way around the boat. This will hold the two halves of your boat together, pinching the mast between them, attach your prow and stern, and again, make a paintable surface. Do another layer of tape, overlapping the first. Keep strapping the entire boat, all the way around until the outside sides are completely covered with tape.

    Here is a view of the bottom of the ship so you can see how the two milk cartons fit together.

    Here you can see how the mast is sandwiched between the two cartons.

  5. Now paint your boat any way you like.
  6. Cut out small circles from the left over bits of your milk carton to make shields to hang on the sides. Paint them as well.
  7. Make oars. We used craft sticks that Tim just carved with a pocket knife. You could also use wooden skewers with a paddle made from masking tape, tape on a rectangle piece and trim to shape with scissors.
  8. Make a sail. We used a plain piece of white paper, cut to size, one side covered with masking tape, to make it stronger. Then we painted our sail.
  9. After all the paint has dried use a hole puncher to make a place for the mast to poke through the sail, or if you like get fancier and make cross trees and tie your sail on in a more authentic manner.
  10. Use a hole puncher to make oarlocks.
  11. Tape or glue your shields along the sides.

Additional Layers

  • Learn more about the parts of a ship and what they’re really called.
  • We love the Brotherband Chronicles series by John Flanagan.  It’s not exactly about Vikings, but kinda.  Oh, just go with it, it’s so good!  And fun to read aloud too.
  • There are always pirates.  Vikings were particularly successful and terrifying pirates from about 790 until 1066.  Some other pirates were the well known buccaneers of the Caribbean, the Barbary Pirates of the Mediterranean and the Wokou Pirates of Japan.

More From Layers of Learning

This craft and many, many other cool projects, printables, and activities can be found in Layers of Learning Unit 2-4.

Layers of Learning Unit 2-4


The Battle of Mohacs is one of the most significant battles int he history of the west.  Do this map activity to learn all about it.

The Battle of Mohacs is one of the most significant battles int he history of the west. Do this map activity to learn all about it.

A map of Viking raids and settlements.

A map of Viking raids and settlements.

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