Thanksgiving Ideas

How to Make a Ship Centerpiece for Thanksgiving

Kids will love helping to make this large sailing ship centerpiece, which is reminiscent of the vessels that brought colonists to the new world. It's a cinch to make and will definitely bring a boat-load of fun to any Thanksgiving table.

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Materials Needed:

  • long, deep rectangular or oval-shaped serving container
  • scissors
  • 2 large light-colored pieces of patterned paper
  • small piece of solid-colored paper that coordinates with the serving container
  • 3-foot-long 3/8" wooden dowel
  • 2-1/2" round wooden tread wheel with a center hole that fits a 3/8" wooden dowel
  • pencil or marker
  • hot glue and glue sticks
  • miter box and saw
  • tape measure
  • food to fill container (such as nuts, wrapped candies, or breadsticks and rolls)

Create Ship's Mast

Use a miter saw to cut wooden dowel so it measures 4 times taller than the height of the serving container (Image 1). Insert the dowel into the center hole of the wooden tread wheel (Image 2).

Measure Container's Width and Height

Place the tread wheel and dowel in the center of the serving container and measure the container's width (Image 1). Next, measure the distance from the top of the container to the top of the dowel (Image 2). Note: These measurements will be used to determine the size of the ship's sails.

Create Paper Sails

Use scissors to cut two rectangles out of light-colored patterned paper (Image 1). They should both be one inch wider than the width of the container, and two inches shorter than the distance from the container's rim to the top of the dowel. Use a marker to draw an arched line on each side of one of the paper pieces (Image 2). Align the two pieces of paper (both patterned sides facing out) and use painter's tape to secure the papers' tops and bottoms (Image 3). Cut along the arched lines with scissors, then remove tape and hot-glue the paper "sails" (patterned sides facing out) to the wooden dowel, leaving two inches of dowel visible above the sails (Image 4).

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