Walnut Ships

This is a wonderful project for Autumn.  Traditionally, you use melted wax to attach the mast and sails to the walnut shell but I have found another method that allows children to build their own.
Supplies:  walnuts in the shell, toothpicks, paper and wax crayons for decorating, modeling clay, heavy gel medium (this is my secret to giving children freedom to create – the gel medium acts like a
hot glue gun – it holds objects while drying!).  You will need basic tools for opening the shells.
Step One: Put a small screwdriver into the little space between the two halves of the shell.
Step Two: Tap lightly with a small hammer or tool. Pry shell apart.
Step Three:  Clean out nutmeat so that the shells are empty.
Step Four:  Let your child create the sail.  Put the toothpick through the sail.
Step Five:  Put a little dollop of gel medium in shell.  If your child would
like to do this, use a popsicle stick to apply gel medium.
Step Six: Use just tad of modeling clay (too much and your ship will not float!). Squeeze clay around base of mast. (It is okay if your sail is on the mast at this stage.)
Step Seven:  Push mast into glue.  Let dry. (Slip on sail if you haven’t done this yet.)
 Then set sail!

Did you enjoy this post?
Then stick around!

Join the Fairy Dust community and get email updates, tips, tutorials, and instant access to the Fairy Dust Teaching Library - FREE!


  1. Lysalys says:

    I like it !

  2. soaking the walnuts first can help to halve them,or I’ve heard putting them on low heat in the oven for a while can also work.
    We use modelling beeswax instead of melted beeswax as a great alternative too. Have you tried adding thin cotton attached to a button (to hold) to pull the boats along? My kids and I love these boats in all their variations. Thanks for reminding me!

Please Leave a Comment