Easy Kids Pirate Costume, Made from Cardboard!

This easy kids pirate costume took an hour to make and was a HUGE hit when we went trick or treating for Halloween.

My older sons pirate ship costume was more elaborate then the one in this tutorial. You can check it out HERE.

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Since my younger son is so much smaller I needed to make a cardboard ship that was light enough to wear.

This one looks like the life boat that a pirate ship would have.

Want to build this easy kids pirate costume?

This DIY kids halloween costume is cheap and shouldn’t take more then an hour of your time.

Looking for the Pirate Costumes to wear with this ship? Click HERE!

Easy Kids Pirate Costume Tutorial:

Step One:

Find a shallow box and cut out the bottom leaving a small area behind for later. The shelf you leave behind is for the back of the boat.

Step Two:

Cut down the center of the flap that will be the front of your pirate ship.

Step Three:

Fold the front flap together to form a diamond shape.

Cut a portion off so you are leaving behind the shape of a triangle.

Glue or tape this piece together.

Step Four:

Cut both side flaps off the box but leave the back flap.

Step Five:

Fold the back flap down and attach it to the boat.

Step Six:

Cut an angle out of this flap so it will be more comfortable to wear.

Step Seven:

This is really a run to the dollar store to buy:

  1. Plastic swords or anything else to use for posts for the flags
  2. White poster board, I bought black as well but never used it
  3. One plastic table cloth in the color blue
  4. Wooden dowels to be used as the oars

Step Eight:

For straps I used the handles of reusable grocery store bags. You could also just use strips of fabric. I attached these with hot glue and reinforced it with another piece of cardboard.

To make it comfortable I crisscross the straps at the back so it fits nice and snug when this DIY cardboard pirate ship is worn.

Step Nine:

It’s now time to attach the posts through the top cardboard and glue to the bottom “shelf” you left behind.

It is also time to take a sharpie and start drawing rectangles to look like boards.

Step Ten:

Make the oars! I glued two dowels together and cut out the rest from cardboard.

These oars were attached with scrap fabric I had from a purse that fell apart. You could easily just use random fabric as it is all hot glued together to hold the oars so they don’t fall when this kids costume is worn while trick or treating.

All the skull clipart you see on the ship was found and printed out by googling skull clip art.

I also attached this piece to the front of the ship. It is just a piece from a champagne bottle I found in our recycle bin.

Step Eleven:

Take that plastic blue table cloth and cut it up leaving the top two inches uncut. Then glue to the base of your DIY Cardboard Pirate Ship Costume. This is of course the water!

Step Twelve, It’s the last step I promise!

Make the sail out of the poster board

Find clipart on google or pinterest of a skull, print it out and attach to your sail before attaching it to the poll.

Once the ship is made add a bandanna and some face paint to make the look official!

So what do you think of this Cardboard Pirate Ship?

Is this a halloween costume you will attempt to make? If you do let me know how it goes in the comment section!

PS. Our boys LOVED their Pirate Costumes with the addition of these Pirate Ships!

We took them trick or treating and the boys looked ADORABLE!

To make the larger Pirate Ship Costume Follow this TUTORIAL HERE.

Please Pin the below photo to share the love!

Learn to make a pirate ship costume out of cardboard


Welcome! I am Tamara and I love teaching beginner sewing projects.

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  1. geraldine reynolds wrote:

    Oh, Tamara, you are terrific!!! I will be making your diy Cardboard Pirate Ship for my daughter’s class of 2 year olds. For the past 2 years, she has had “Pirate Day”. She and I have been collecting pirate decorations. The kids love it and so does she. Nobody cries on Pirate Day. This pirate ship will be used to take memento photos of the babies, er, excuse me, wee pirates. You are wonderful for sharing this. Many thanks.

    Posted 2.4.24 Reply
    • Tamara wrote:

      I LOVE THIS SO MUCH!!!! My boys are much older since I posted this tutorial and the thought of a whole new generation of happy little pirates makes my heart sing. Happy Crafting!

      Posted 2.5.24 Reply