Before: Unused SpaceThe Donovan family has a beautiful backyard, but the area by the back door is hardly used. Mom and Dad would like to create an extra play space for their two kids Jack and Cecily. Both are crazy for pirates, so their wish list for their new backyard is simple. They want a pirate ship with all trimmings – a plank, lower deck, treasure, treasure maps and Jolly Roger flag.
After: Landlubbers No MoreJack and Cecily’s pirate ship is ready to set sail. Carpenter Matt Cosgrove and designer Val Thwing built a sturdy vessel the kids will enjoy for years to come. Construction starts by building a freestanding, 17-foot-long deck off the house. The bow and outrigger are then built to provide the ship’s structure. The ship is covered in wood-looking composite siding, which is perfect for this application because it is flexible enough to bend around the ship’s bow.
Both sides of the ship are adorned with swords, crests and a foam anchor hangs from the bow. The Jolly Roger flag hangs prominently from the 14-foot-tall mast to scare away any enemy pirates that may be lurking in the yard.
lumber, paint, hardware, bars for brig: The Home Depot
lumber and hardware: TW Perry
pirate items: Century Novelty
water guns and swords: KB Toys
beards, eye patches, pirate costume: Genes Costumes
sail for ship: Overstock
telescope: Ranger Surplus
treasure chest: Sturgis Antiques
silly string and water guns: Target
beads, squirt rings and pirate goodies: Party Mania
anchor for ship: Nautical Supply Shop
After: Treasure!The kids’s treasure is securely stored below deck in the brig. The ground-level brig is covered in plastic then topped with mulch to keep the area weed-free. In the middle of the upper deck is a trap door with a ladder leading down to this lower level.
After: Swashbuckling FunThe fun can go in any direction thanks to an authentic ship’s wheel that designer Val Thwing found at a flea market for just $60. The rope ladder is crafted from one-inch rope then fastened to the house and to the deck so it is very secure.
Kid's Project: Pirate FlagsMaterials and Tools
2-foot x 1-foot piece of fabric – plain color
acrylic paints (use waterproof paints if flags will be outside)
1. Choose a fabric that has a plain color and will hold up in the wind.
2. Fold one edge of the fabric over one inch. Fold it over again, so that it is doubled up. Pin the edge to keep it folded.
3. Sew a straight line down the edge to create a seam. Repeat with the other three sides of the fabric.
4. Have the kids paint a scary image on the flag so that other ships will know they are a pirate ship.
5. Let the fabric dry and then proudly hang the flag!