Sparkle Crafts
Sparkle Craft: Soap Boat Races

Sparkle Craft: Soap Boat Races

In the At Home With Martin & Sylvia story, “Many Hands,” Martin and Sylvia get a joyful lesson in the importance of working together one summer day when they get to sail on a big sailboat with their friends, the Webers. They see how everyone has an important job, and the boat won’t sail properly without everyone’s help. The biggest lesson of all is that working together is not only important—but lots of fun.

At the beginning of the story, Martin and Sylvia are sitting in their camp chairs watching sailboats go by. Martin enjoys studying the boats to see which go fast and which go slow, while Sylvia loves to look at the beautiful colors and shapes of the sails.

soap boat race 9 || at home with martin & sylvia

Even if you don't live close enough to a river or lake to sail a real boat, you can experience a bit of the marvel of sailing in your own backyard with these carved soap racing boats.

Soap is soft enough that it can be carved into the shape of a boat with common kitchen utensils, like spoons and butter knives. Head to the hardware store for an inexpensive piece of guttering—that's your river—aim it at some plants that need watering, and you've got a sailboat race!

soap boat race 6 || at home with martin & sylvia

While you can find instructions to make the “river” with a long piece of aluminum foil, I highly recommend using guttering instead. You can only use the foil once, but the guttering—which doesn't take up too much room to store in a garage—can be pulled out over and over again for many afternoons of fun.

Happy sailing!

Soap Boat Racing

soap boat race 11 || at home with martin & sylvia


Several bars of Ivory soap (one for each boat you want to make)

Several spoons and butter knives

Cupcake flags (or toothpicks, washi tape, and scissors to make your own flags)

Long piece of guttering

Garden hose and water


soap boat race 8 || at home with martin & sylvia
soap boat race 4 || at home with martin & sylvia

Use a spoon to carve a bowl shape into the center of a bar of soap, then use a butter knife and your fingers to smooth the outside edges into a boat-like shape.

soap boat race 5 || at home with martin & sylvia

Stick a cupcake flag or two into your boat to make a sail, or, if you'd rather, make your own flags by wrapping washi tape around toothpicks.

Once you're happy with your boat's appearance, you're ready to make your river.

soap boat race 13 || at home with martin & sylvia

To do so, prop one end of the gutter up slightly, and position your garden hose to flow into it. You're going to be using a lot of water for this, so I recommend pointing the other end of the gutter into a garden bed, if you can, so that the run-off goes to nourish your plants.

soap boat race 12 || at home with martin & sylvia

Now, turn the hose on and let the races begin!

soap boat race 7 || at home with martin & sylvia

Younger kids will probably be happy to just watch the boats slip down the river. Older kids might enjoy crashing the boats together or timing the boats to see which one is fastest. Either way, it's all hands on deck for cool, soapy fun.

If you liked this tutorial, here are others you might enjoy:

Not yet a subscriber? Try a free trial HERE.

About the Author

Meryl Carver-Allmond

Sparkle Kitchen & Craft Blogger

The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.

Meryl lives in a hundred-year-old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two preschoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion — showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun — in her Sparkle Kitchen posts.

Get our Newsletter

Sign up to receive weekly email updates with new stories, Sparkle news, and seasonal activities!

Stay Connected

Download on the Apple App StoreDownload on the Google Play
©2023 Sparkle Stories. All rights reserved.