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Make the Mayflower In Miniature with a Walnut Shell Hull

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Make a Miniature Mayflower With Printable Sails and a Walnut Shell Hull
Walnut shell model of the Mayflower.

Simplified miniature model of the Mayflower with printable sails and a walnut shell hull.

Photo © 2012 Lesley Shepherd

This tiny version of the Mayflower, is the third ship in the "Walnut Navy". The Mayflower was likely a "fluyt", a type of Dutch cargo ship, which is very similar to the "carrack" build of the Santa Maria. Other ships in this series include The Santa Maria and The Bermuda Sloop "William" which can also be made as "Calico Jack" Rackham's pirate ship. Made with hulls of half walnut shells, these little ships can be hung as decorations for Christmas trees, on gently moving mobiles, or used for school projects. If you don't have access to walnut shells, you can use the printable sails on an origami boat hull, following instructions to fold origami boats. A 3 inch by 4 inch rectangle (7.5 x 10cm) will give you a suitable sized boat for the printable sails.

The sails for the Mayflower are made from paper printables. If you wish to use the boats as placecards for a Thanksgiving dinner, you can sand or file the base of the walnut shell hulls to make the boats sit upright on a table, and print each person's name on a set of mainsails before you glue them to the yards and masts.

If you wish to view photos of the MayflowerII, a reproduction built in 1957, there are good images on the Plimoth Plantation Website.

If you wish, you can make the tiny ships slightly more realistic by carving shaped decks from balsa wood to rise above the walnut hull. Printable deck sections are also provide to make paper decks if yo wish.

I've set up this tutorial to show every stage of making the simple version. The printable sails you will need are linked to the materials list on page two of the instructions.

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