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How to Make a Ship in a Bottle

 

This is a small ship in a bottle project. I purchased this as a kit from a hobby store. I show you the basic techniques of how something like this is made. The big thing, and the uniqueness about this kind of project, is how to get the ship inside the bottle. I also have a video that goes along with this tutorial.

The illusion is that the ship is too big to fit through the mouth of the bottle so what you do is build it outside the bottle with the sails and masts collapsed and then once the ship is placed inside the bottle you raise them all.

This building a ship inside a bottle is a very old and very traditional art that was started by sailors in the late 18th and early 19th century. They would build these on long voyages as gifts for loved ones back home. And one of the amazing things about this kind of project is that you can actually learn a lot about sailing ships by building one. You learn what all the various types of masts are, the rigging and the parts of a sailing ship. Kind of neat if you ask me.

Tip if you are planning on buying a kit like this. There are lots of ships in bottles that you can buy but they are not kits - they are already assembled so if you want to buy a kit make sure it is actually a kit and not an already completed product!

 

Also: A web visitor submitted a terrific little paper ship in a bottle project. If you don't have many resources you can print up and make this little ship to put in your bottle! Take a look here: Paper Ship in a bottle

 

Here is a picture of the completed project that I make in this overview tutorial

The completed ship

 

 

 

The collapsed masts of the ship

This picture shows the major concept of building the ship with all the masts collapsed (they are hinged by small pieces of wire). This way you can get it into the bottle.

The masts are all hinged by small circles of wire.

 

 

 

 

Pull string

Once you have it glued into the bottle you pull the string or strings and this raises the masts to their final upright position.

 

 

 

 

end of the string is tied

Here is an important concept to know when it comes to rigging your ship. You wrap each mast with the thread and put a dab of glue to hold it in place on each mast. But before you glue each mast you test it in up right position and it the folded down position. Pulling the string brings it taut into the upright. The last tie down (shown by arrow) is kind of like the anchor that holds it all into position. You need this last one secured to the boat.

 

 

The Rigging

It is a bit difficult to see in this picture but you also have to stabilize the masts so they don't fall over to the side of the ship. And you do this by running a new thread on each mast. It starts on the side runs up to the top of the mast then runs back down to the other side of the ship. Test these as you place them so they are ok both in vertical position and folded position.

Trick to these is that you anchor the string to the ship slightly behind the mast. This way the mast can fold down.

 

 

the hinged mast

This hinging of the masts is done with little pieces of wire that you bend into circles. It can be difficult to drill the holes necessary for this because they are toothpicks! but a #60 drill works well.

 

 

 

paint the bottom of the bottle

Paint the bottom of the bottle sea colored. Use mostly blue and accentuate it with small amounts of white and green.

 

 

 

 

 

RESOURCES, books and Kits

Build a ship in a bottle book

Build a Ship in a Bottle: The complete how to guide to mastering the ancient mariners art of ship in a bottle building.

The complete how to guide to mastering the ancient mariners art of ship in a bottle building. This exciting new text details all the tricks of the trade and secretes involved in building these unique miniature sailing vessels. Capt. Dan teaches builders to understand the basic principals involved in building these tall ship replicas. After reading this heavily illustrated text, readers should have a good understanding of how to design rig and build both square sailed as well as fore and aft rigged vessels. They will then be able to apply these basic principles and techniques to build any type of sailing ship they choose. Please note that there are many different techniques used by different builders in creating their ship models. Some use elaborate mast hinges while others contend with a maze of rigging lines which all run through and under the hull. This book teaches Capt. Dan's basic and the straight forward simple techniques that the authors uses on all of his ship in a bottle models. These basics can be enhanced and modified as model builders become more proficient. Capt. Dan has included a showcase of ship in bottle images from some of the best master model builders in the world. Anyone that is interested in maritime history, sailing or just loves the sea, will enjoy crafting and then displaying their own nautical ship in a bottle.

 

Boat in a bottle Kit

Boat in a Bottle Kit

All the tools and materials needed to make your very own ship in a bottle.

 

 

This is the kit that I use in this tutorial and video:

Constitution Backyard and Beyond Ship/Bottle - Constitution

  • Kit is suitable for kids ages 10 to 99
  • Kit contains small parts and is not appropriate for children under 10
  • Detailed instructions included

 

 

Ships In bottles - Built and Ready to Display

Pirate Ship in Bottle Nautical Maritime Boat Decor New

The bottle is approximately 4" high and 8" long. Hard to get a good photo but the ship is flying a pirate flag on top. New in the box. Comes fully assembled.

 

Cutty SarkCutty Sark Ship in a Bottle 11

Perfect gift for family, friends or colleagues! Overall dimensions: 11" long x 4" wide x 5" high Amazing replica of Cutty Sark in a glass bottle (not plastic). Accurate number of sails, masts, gun ports and flags per the actual Cutty Sark. This ship in a bottle rests on a sturdy wood stand with a metal nameplate where Cutty Sark is clearly displayed. Shipped double boxed with memory foam and styrofoam to ensure no damage to this ship in a bottle during shipping. Other ships in a bottle we offer include: USS Constitution, Caribbean Pirate Ship, HMS Surprise, HMS Victory, and Flying Cloud.

HMS Surprise Ship in a Bottle 11 Wood Replica in Glass Bottle Not a Model Kit

Overall dimensions: 11" long x 4" wide x 5" high Amazing replica of HMS Surprise in a glass bottle (not plastic). Accurate number of sails, masts, gun ports and flags per the actual HMS Surprise. This ship in a bottle rests on a sturdy wood stand with a metal nameplate where HMS Surprise is clearly displayed. Shipped double boxed with memory foam and styrofoam to ensure no damage to this ship in a bottle during shipping.

 

Revell Constitution Revell 1:96 USS Constitution

Old Ironsides" earned her reputation in the War of 1812 as a formidable foe to the British fleet. This model ship showcases incredible detail and makes a handsome display piece in any room. The perfect gifts for collectors. Model features double decks of cannons and steerable rudder. Comes in 1:96 scale.

 

 

 

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