My thoughts keep turning to Christmas;  I can’t help it.  The stuff I always love to plan are the times when we’ll all come together around the table, feasting and celebrating.  This year we’ll have multiple family and friends over, so I’ll make a flotilla of paper boats as placeholders to float on plates along the table…

Pilgrim paper boats

Bedecked with festive mice transporting a forest of Christmas trees and topped with tiny, woven-thyme wreaths, they become even more special;Festive holiday placeholder paper boats

Whether you make these for Christmas or Thanksgiving, they are so simple to construct, and you can then make them as elaborate as you like.  Here’s what you’ll need;

  • Kraft paper sheets (A4 in the UK or letter paper in the US)
  • Rubber stamping kit and ink pad
  • Long wooden skewers and cocktail sticks
  • Pack of thyme stems, thin florists wire, edible silver balls (or beads – you’re not going to eat them so it doesn’t matter!)
  • Glue (ideally a hot glue gun, but not crucial)
  • Decorative items to place in the boats – I used hanging tree decorations and mini bottle-brush trees
  1. Firstly, fold your boats.  I used this tutorial as a reminder (what did we do before videos?!).
  2. When you have them constructed, stamp names along the side of each boat.  I found it easiest to start with the last letter at the mast and work backwards, so that I didn’t run out of space.  Here’s a tip; don’t do this after a glass of wine, and if you have any complicated names in the family write them out first; it’s surprisingly easy to make mistakes when you’re spelling backwards 🙂
  3. Take a long skewer and push it up through the peak of the boat, pointy-end first.  Once you have it in place, use the glue-gun to secure a cocktail stick in place to make your mast.  (The order here is important; if you build the mast first you have to push it down through the boat and that’s harder, and creates a bigger/looser hole for the mast to rattle around in).  They should be looking a little like this:


(If you’re wondering about the tiny boat; we have a new baby due to arrive in the family between now and Christmas, so this yet-to-be-named, mini trawler will be safely roped to it’s new mum’s ship and will take pride of place!)

To make the wreaths, take a stem of thyme and wrap it around a length of thin wire, before bending the wire into a wreath shape as shown (it’s easier than it sounds..)  You can bunch together strands for thickness.  Then glue silver balls at intervals around the wreath if you want added decoration (I ALWAYS want added decoration!)


Drape your wreaths over the mast of the boats and fill them with whatever you choose!  I opted for a small flotilla of felted woodland creatures, bringing Christmas trees as their precious seasonal cargo – but the possibilities are endless.

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I hope your week has got off to a good start; I’m just home from work and have a local pub quiz to go to with friends tonight; it feels deliciously decadent to be out on a school night so early in the week, once we brave the cold and dark!

Have a good one, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.

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