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Make a Miniature Model of the Santa Maria with a Walnut Shell Hull

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Materials Needed to Make a Miniature Walnut Hull Santa Maria
Basic materials used to make a miniature of the Santa Maria with a walnut shell hull.

A half walnut shell, glue, thread, toothpicks, sandpaper, and printed sails are the main materials used to make a miniature model of the Santa Maria used by Columbus.

Photo © 2012 Lesley Shepherd

To Make the Miniature Santa Maria Sailing Ship You Will Need:

  • Half Walnut Shell - Use the instructions for cracking walnut shells in half for ornaments. Fresh walnuts are easier to crack than very old ones.
  • Round Toothpicks - you will need three or four for each ship.
  • Fine Dried Grass Stems - or quilting thread stiffened with glue, or fine paper covered wire for the "yards"- the cross pieces which hold the sails on the masts.
  • Printable Sail Sheet - the sails for this project are printed on a letter size or A4 piece of paper or printable cotton lawn. The sail printable is in pdf format (acrobat reader or similar required). If you are not used to working with printable miniatures check:
  • Sandpaper - to thin the toothpicks if you wish, I used 80 and 120 grit.
  • PVA (white) glue or wood glue
  • Fine Black Thread - in my example I used quilting thread to make the lines easier to see in the photos, regular thread would be better.
  • Dry Floral Arrangement Foam - or modelling clay, to hold the masts in the walnut shell hull. I painted mine dark brown to make the foam less obvious. Adults could secure masts in the shell with hot melt glue.
  • Flat Acrylic Varnish or Clear Coat - Using a clear coating on the sails will help keep the curve set.

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