Reed Boat

Reed boats designed for fishing have been built around the world for thousands of years, including in Peru and other pre-Columbian civilisations. Some traditional red boats
are still used in Peru today. Make a scene with a model boat to re-create this traditional way of life.

Reed Boat

Skill Level

Beginner. Adult supervision needed

Time to Make

2 hours including drying time for glue

Adult Supervision Needed


How to Make

  1. Cut out a 30cm x 30cm piece of corrugated card from a box for the base.
    Brush glue over the card then stick down a crinkled sheet of green tissue paper on top. Press the tissue down into a textured surface. Leave to dry.
  2. Paint a wooden person and leave to dry. Make the hair by gluing wool or dark tissue paper on the head and leave to dry. Paint a face using a thin brush or use a thin permanent pen.
  3. Make the boat from a cardboard tube, 20-22cm in length, a kitchen roll tube is ideal. Squash the tube flat then draw a straight line along the tube, about 5cm from the edge with curves at the ends for the boat shape. Keeping the tube flattened, cut the tube into the boat shape so both sides are the same. Cut out 2 curved pieces at the bottom of the boat to shape the ends. Open out the boat and flatten out the bottom so it stands up. Stick masking tape over the ends to cover the gaps around the curves.
  4. Pull out some raffia from the pack making 8-10 small bunches, with each bunch roughly a 5-6cm ball as a loose handful. Pull out the ends of the raffia to straighten each bunch then twist along the length to make strands like rope. Brush glue over the boat then stick down the raffia along the length of the boat, starting with the outside then covering the inside. Try to follow the shape of the boat with the raffia, trim the ends if the pieces are too long. Twist more raffia pieces to fill any gaps. Press down each piece until the boat is covered. Leave the glue to dry.
  5. To make the fish, paint some metallic colours onto white card. Leave to dry, draw some small fish outlines then cut them out. Add details to the fish with a thin pen and add wiggle eyes.
  6. Very lightly brush white paint over the base to highlight the water texture, add another coat of PVA and leave to dry.
  7. Place the wooden person inside the boat with a painted wooden stick glued for the oar. Glue the boat onto the base, or leave it unstuck if you prefer. Glue the fish onto the base.
Reed Boat Reed Boat Reed Boat

Top Tip

For a bigger scene with more boats, cut a bigger piece of card to use as the base. You could add other details like vegetation, animals or scenery as a group project.