Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pirate Ship Wagon Float

My brother-in-law and I built pirate ship wagon floats for Portland's Junior Rose Festival Parade last year.  It took a lot longer than I thought it would, but the ships turned out nicely (we took second place in the wagon division!).

We built two nearly identical ships which we rested on top of the wagons, and could be easily lifted off to work on and for transporting.  Here is a list of the supplies we used to make ONE pirate ship:
  • Radio Flyer Excursion Wagon (this wagon has an small storage compartment attached to the back, which we used to set one of support 2'x4's on)
  • 1 quarter inch 4'x8' plywood sheet.  We had someone at Home Depot cut it in half, to make 2 4'x4' sheets, so we could fit in the mini-van.  You may want to use slightly thicker plywood to ensure the cannon hatch hinge screws don't poke through (we covered the exposed screw tips with card board and duct tape).
  • 1 can dark brown spray paint
  • brown duct tape
  • black paint
  • small paint brush
  • 1 8' 2'x4' (various shorter scraps would work fine)
  • Rope
  • 1 4' long dowel, one inch in diameter
  • 1 2' long dowel,  half inch in diameter
  • scrap white fabric (my wife picked some up from Scrap, in Portland)
  • 6 small hinges
  • several card board boxes
  • 1 3' long PVC pipe
  • super glue
  • beer
  • wood screws
Instructions to build your own wagon pirate ship
1. Sketch a ship outline on one of the 4'x4' plywood sheets and then use a jig saw to cut it.  We used the entire length of the plywood, and only cut off the top and bottom.  It helps a lot to have one person hold the plywood while the other is cutting.

2. Trace the ship outline on the other sheet and cut it with the jig saw to make a second identical piece.  These two pieces will be the sides of your ship.
3. Spray dark brown paint on the outside of each piece.
4. Set the pieces on each side of the wagon, and measure width in between.
5. Cut two 2'x4' boards to the measured width.  These will be your support boards which rest on top of the wagon.
6. Place the support boards on the wagon.  Place one board on the storage compartment immediately behind the back rest, and the other closer to the front.  Be sure to leave space for someone to sit in the front seat.
7. With two people, hold one of the sides against the support boards, to determine the desired height and alignment with the front and the back of the wagon.  Trace both ends of 2'x4' where it meets the inside of the ship side.  (This was a tricky step.)  
8. Attach the 2'x4's pieces to the side of the ship using wood screws.
9. Attach the other side to the the 2'x4's.

10. Paint 3 black identical squares on each side of the wagon.  These will be your cannon port holes.
11. Using the leftover scrap plywood, cut 6 square pieces which match the dimensions of the port holes, and spray paint them brown.  These pieces are the cannon port hole covers.
12. Attach the port hole covers to both sides using a single small hinge for each cover.  The hinges will hold the covers open.

13. Fashion a front and back using card board.  For the front of the ship, use a staple gun to attach an oversize piece of card board to the insides of the ship and then cut it to match the rough shape of a ship bow.  Make sure to cut a hole in the front for the wagon handle.
14. Use brown duct tape to attach the top pieces and to cover the seams.

15. Spray brown paint on the card board to match the ship sides.
16. Paint both dowels black.
17. Drill a 1/2" hole in the 1" diameter dowel, 7 or 8 inches from the top, and insert the 1/2" dowel.
18. Drill a 1" hole in the center of the front support 2'x4' and insert the 1" dowel until it rests on the floor of the wagon.  This is the sail mast.
19. Attach bunched scrap fabric to the mast, using string.

20. Create a couple of mast nets using some rope.

21. Cut 6 pieces of PVC pipe about 3" long and super glue them to the cannon port holes.
22. Paint black trim around edges, add black texture strokes, and skull and cross bones.
23. Create a pirate flag, using card board and black paint.  Attach flag to top of mast.
24. Remove mast for transporting.
25. Attach mast netting with a staple gun while staging for the parade.
26. Assemble pirates and cast off.

1 comment:

  1. I am interested in any measurements that you have...Thanks