Paddlewheel Craft

(Make your own cereal-boat)

Recommended Ages 8-14

Arts and Culture Disciplines:

  • Design
  • Historic Buildings, Landmarks
  • Museum


  • 1 cereal box
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Tape
  • Paddlewheel Craft Belle of Louisville Video

Set up:

  • Breakdown the cereal box into large sections. (See video)
  • Making the hull
    • Decide on a hull size. (In the video I chose 4 ½ inches by 9 inches. Cut out a piece from the cereal box matching your hull size.
    • Using tape attach 1 inch “walls” to the front (bow) and sides of your hull.
    • Important: do NOT attach the wall for the back (stern). You will need to attach the wheel first.
  • Making the wheel
    • Cut out 2 cardboard circles that are the same size. (The circles in the video are around 2 inches in diameter.)
    • Cut out 6 “bucket” planks. (About ½ an inch tall and 3 ½ inches wide.)
    • Cut 6 shallow grooves along the edges of each circle piece. Important: make sure the grooves are evenly spaces and they match for each circle. (You can lightly tape the circles together to make sure the cuts match.)
    • Attach the buckets to your circles. (You can use tape to hold the bucket in the grooves if needed.)
    • Cut out 2 “arms” about ½ inch tall and 3 inches long. (You may need to make them larger or smaller depending on the size of your wheel.)
    • Using Tape attach the arms to the wheel. (One arm attaches to each circle.)
  • Attaching the wheel
    • Using tape, attach your wheel to the stern of the hull.
    • Attach the last wall section to the stern of your hull.
    • Important: check all walls for possible leaks. Make sure to tape every edge or possible gap.
  • Making the pilot house
    • Cut out 3 wall pieces and 1 roof piece. (Try to make sure they are roughly the same size)
    • Tape the 3 walls together.
    • Tape the roof to your walls.
    • Attach the walls to your hull.

Your Cereal-Boat is now complete! You can test her out in a sink or bucket of water to see how long she floats. Have fun!

Fund for the Arts Cultural Lou Recovery