How to Build an Ark

The beloved story of Noah's ark offers endless opportunities for kids to learn, and building an ark doesn't have to be a complicated project. You can start with two oval baskets – cut out windows and doors, and add sheet foam floors and walls. In just one afternoon, you can create places for all the animals, two by two.

Building a Noah's ark can be fun. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Things You'll Need

  • Two baskets or cardboard boxes, one smaller than the other

  • Utility knife

  • Duct tape or masking tape (optional)

  • Black or brown felt

  • Sheet of black foam board

  • Plastic animals

  • Hot glue

Step 1

Baskets work well as a starting point. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Locate two containers that are similar in shape with one smaller than the other. Using baskets adds a rustic look to the ark, but cardboard boxes would work just as well. As the Bible describes the ark, it is actually more like a barge in shape than the traditional boat shape we think of.

Step 2

Use a utility knife to make the cuts. (Image: debbie Williams)

Lay the basket on its side and cut out the door as large as possible with a utility knife. Keep the pieces together. It may help to place a strip of duct tape or masking tape along the cutting line.

Step 3

Keep the door pieces intact. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Cut out windows on one side of the smaller basket and double doors on the other side, using the same method. Trim down the door for the large basket by 1/4 inch on top and bottom. This will allow space for the felt trim. Do the same for the doors in the smaller basket.

Step 4

Trim all cut edges with felt. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Cut strips of felt 1 inch wide and the length of the cut opening. Use hot glue to adhere strips to the outside 1/4 Inch of each cut surface. Wrap it around to the inside and glue in place. Frame all the doors with felt in the same manner. Test them to make sure they fit into the openings.

Step 5

Use a pencil to draw a cutting template. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Set the main basket or box on a piece of black foam board and trace the outline. If the basket has tapered sides, add 1/4 inch all around the perimeter when you cut it out using a utility knife. Cut two pieces that will fit inside the basket as two decks. Cut a notch about 1 inch wide and half the length of the door from the side of each piece to allow space for a ramp.

Step 6

Glue the felt over a large section to provide stability. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Cut a large piece of felt that will cover the back of the door and the bottom of the basket. Check the fit of the door both up and down. Be sure to allow enough extra felt for the door to lay out flat. Glue in place to use as a hinge.

Step 7

The animal pens can be any size. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Cut strips of foam board a little less than half the depth of the basket. Cut these strips into sections the width of the basket. Also cut two 1/2-inch blocks for each section. Glue the 1/2-inch blocks to the basket with hot melt glue. Leave a 1/4-inch space and glue another 1/2-inch block to the basket. Slide the section dividers into place between the 1/2-inch blocks.

Step 8

Add the second deck. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Place the piece of foam board previously cut for the deck into the basket. Make section dividers as before for this level and position the second piece of foam board as the top deck.

Step 9

Keep the angle low for the roof line. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Cut a rectangle from the foam board about 2 inches longer and wider than the smaller basket. Score down the center lengthwise. Cut two triangles to be the gable ends of the roof.

Step 10

Glue the roof in place. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Using the same method as for the deck sections, attach the gables to the ends of the basket. Use hot melt glue along the ridge lines of the gables and attach the roof piece.

Step 11

The upper cabin has double doors for easy access. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Decide which side of the upper section you want to face the open side of the main ark and glue in place.

Step 12

Animals can travel between decks. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Use a piece of foam board or balsa wood 1 inch wide to make a ramp for the animals to travel between decks. Run beads of hot glue across the ramp and paint them brown.

Step 13

The ark is ready for the storm. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Close the door to the ark so that you have a place to keep all the animals safe.

Tip

Some baskets are reinforced with a wire frame, making a stronger basket and a desirable feature. The wire may need to be cut with a small hacksaw. Wire cutters might also work depending on the thickness of the wire.

Warning

Be very careful with the hot glue. The felt is porous and the glue will bleed through. Let it cool a moment before you press into place.