How to Make a Canoe for a School Project


Whether you're testing out miniature boats for a science fair project or creating a diorama about the life of Native Americans, you'll want to make an authentic-looking canoe. You can easily make a miniature canoe out of birch bark for your school project. If you need the canoe to be waterproof, you can accomplish that as well.

Things You'll Need

  • Bucket of water
  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Sturdy scissors
  • Birch bark
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Waterproof glue
  • Soak the birch bark in a bucket of water overnight to make it more pliable.

  • Draw the shape of a canoe on the piece of paper, leaving the bottom relatively flat. Then draw its mirror image directly beneath it so that the entire pattern looks like a right-side-up canoe atop an upside-down canoe. Draw a straight line down the rightmost and leftmost edges of the image.

  • Cut out the image, leaving the area between the leftmost edges of the two canoes, and the area between the rightmost edges of the two canoes, completely intact.

  • Use the pattern to cut out an identical shape from the flexible birch bark.

  • Make a cut along each of the four bottom edges of the canoe, making sure that the cuts do not meet. This should create two side tabs between the two canoes.

  • Gently bend the birch bark along the center line that divides the two canoes. Pinch the two tabs along their center lines and fold them up as well.

  • Thread the needle, and insert it behind one of the tabs before poking it through the tab. Then carefully stitch up that side of the canoe. Repeat with the opposite side.

  • Gently flatten the bottom of the canoe and fill in any holes or cracks with waterproof glue.

Tips & Warnings

  • You may need to use a flat metal object (such as a spoon) to scrape any excess wood from the inside of the bark after soaking it.
  • You can use a whip-stitch in order to make the canoe look more authentic. (See the Resources section.)
  • You can use pitch instead of waterproof glue to make the canoe more authentic.
  • Do not crease the wood when bending. Doing so can lead to cracking or breaking.

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  • Photo Credit beached canoe image by Tanya McConnell from
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