How to make an easy origami boat

Learn the quick and easy way to make an origami boat. Once you've mastered that, we'll show you how to make your own boat and cloud mobile, perfect for the little one's room.

How to make an easy origami sailboat mobile with photo step by step

An origami boat is a very well-known form of this Japanese paper folding. In our tutorial, you’ll find out exactly how to make a simple origami boat, and it will even float in water.

Once you’ve discovered the joy of making a fleet of ships, you can apply your knowledge to create a beautiful mobile. It’ll be the ideal addition to a child’s bedroom to spark their imaginations!

Origami boats and paper clouds make for a beautiful and eye-catching hanging mobile. This project was created by Carolyne Knott. If you don’t have any patterned papers, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with our gorgeous free nautical patterned papers which are ideal for this project!

Read on to learn how to make your very own origami boat with sails, in our detailed instructions with photographs.

How to make a paper boat video tutorial


You Will Need

  • Patterned paper (One piece 14.8cm x 21cm), for the large boat
  • Patterned paper (Two pieces 10cm x 14cm), for the two smaller boats
  • Patterned paper, for the sails
  • Card
  • String
  • PVA glue

Total time:

Step 1

Cut your pieces of paper

To make the origami boats, cut one 14.8 x 21cm and two 10 x 14cm pieces of patterned paper. Use lightweight paper (100gsm or less) as this will be easier to fold.

Fold your origami boat

Turn each piece of paper so that it is in portrait, and fold each in half along the horizontal with the pattern on the inside. With the fold at the top, bring the top corners down so that they meet in the centre.

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Step 2

Fold the bottom corners of each edge up to meet the bottom of the two triangles (as shown). Then, fold this flap up around the triangles. Repeat on the other side to create a ‘hat’ shape.

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Step 3

Pulling out both the front and back sections, open the triangle out along the longest edge and then flatten it into a square as shown. Use a bone folder to flatten the folds and create a crisp edge.

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Step 4

Fold the patterned edge of the square all the way up, and align with the top corner. Repeat on the other side to form a smaller, patterned triangle.

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Step 5

Repeating the motion from step 3, take both sides of the triangle’s base, and open it up along the longest edge. Flatten into a square.

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Step 6

Gently pull the two flaps on either side of the square outwards from the top and flatten them into a boat shape.

Optional step: If you are making the mobile:

Attach a 30cm piece of string to the white peak using tape or glue (don’t worry, this will be hidden in the next step).

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Step 7

Make the boat sail

Fold two pieces of patterned paper in half and cut two triangles of slightly different sizes. Attach to create the boat’s sail and hide the string. 

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Step 8

Create the clouds

Draw and cut out six large cloud shapes from a sturdy white card. Fold each of these in half and put adhesive on one side of the clouds only, and start sticking the clouds together. Stop before you add the final one.

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Step 9

Add your string

Before sticking together the final two halves of the last clouds, add a piece of string (tie a loop at the top) down the centre of the clouds. Add the string attached to the largest boat to secure the boats to the cloud. Trim the string and tie into a knot at the bottom.

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Step 10

Create the smaller clouds

Draw and cut out 18 small cloud shapes and repeat the same process as for the larger cloud to make three small clouds. Attach 15cm of string down the centre of each cloud.

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Step 11

Create two seagulls

Cut out two white seagull shapes from the white card. Score down the centre of each, add a piece of string and stick the bodies together. Fold the wings down 1cm from their base for a cool 3D effect.

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Step 12

Add your twine to finish the mobile

Punch seven holes into the large cloud, one at the bottom of each cloud face and one in the centre.

Thread twine through each of the punched holes, then attach the small boats, clouds and seagulls to the large cloud to finish.

Hang up and admire your handywork!

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Mastering the origami boat

The origami boat is the classic project for those new to origami, it’s quick, easy and kids love it! They can also float on water (they won’t last too long though).

What’s next on your origami journey?

Looking for more simple yet fun origami projects to take on? Try these easy origami tutorials for kids it’s a fun way to help them to learn this fun and rich craft.