Adorn your Thanksgiving table with a paper Mayflower Ship. Fill the origami Mayflower with a sweet treat and set one at each place setting for a special favor. Thanksgiving is a time to come together with friends and family and celebrate all that we are grateful for.

This year, why not add a little extra fun to your celebration by making your own paper Mayflower Ship? Not only is this a festive way to decorate, but it’s also a great craft project for kids of all ages.

paper origami mayflower ship on white plate

RELATED: Your guests might also like this Thanksgiving Trivia and Conversation Starters. The kids will love these Thanksgiving coloring pages. Have a beautiful table with these centerpieces.

How to make an Origami Mayflower Ship

  • This paper Mayflower Ship is really easy to make when using the free printable papers and folding instructions.
  • First, download the printable boat and sail papers.
  • Print in color on regular copy paper.
  • You can always use brown construction paper for the boat if you would rather.
printable brown paper with anchor

For the top flag, there are some options for you to choose.  You might even consider adding a name to the plain ones.

printable mayflower ship sails

Boat Origami Instructions

Follow the instructions below to fold the brown paper.

paper boat folding instructions

How to fold a paper Mayflower Ship

  1. With printed side up fold the printable Mayflower Ship paper in half width-wise, with the folded edge away from you.
  2. Fold in two top corners of the folded edge to meet at the middle, forming a triangle with a double-layer flap sticking out underneath.
  3. Fold the front layer of the flap up to the front; fold the back layer flap up to the back.
  4. Fold the end of the front flaps to the back.
  5. Fold the end of the back sides around to the front.
  6. Take hold of the center front and back of the triangle and pull apart, pushing in opposite corners so they lie flat against each other, creating a diamond shape.
  7. Fold the front and back bottom corners of the diamond up front and back, respectively, to meet at the top corner.
  8. You should now have an open-bottomed triangle.
  9. Pull wings at the top gently apart, forming half of the ship. You may need to pop up the center and smooth the sides to form the boat.
  10. Finished

Watch Video

Needing a bit extra help folding the origami Mayflower ship? No worries just watch the video.

Once you have folded the brown paper into a boat, cut out the sails.  Use a wooden skewer to attach the sails to the boat. Use a glue stick to attach the give thanks flag to the top.

paper mayflower ship sitting on white plate

A few fun facts about the Mayflower Ship

  • What year did the Mayflower set sail? August 15, 1620.
  • What type of ship was the Mayflower? Cargo ship
  • From what port did the Mayflower depart? Southampton, England
  • Where did the Mayflower land? Plymouth, which is in modern day Massachusetts.
  • How long did it take for the Mayflower to cross the Atlantic Ocean? 66 days
  • How many babies were born on the Mayflower? Oceanus Hopkins (1620—1626) was the only child born on the Mayflower during its voyage. His mother’s name is Elizabeth Hopkins. Oceanus was certainly an appropriate name for that baby boy!
  • Who was the captain of the Mayflower? Christopher Jones
  • What did the people on the Mayflower eat? The passengers brought dried meat and fish, grains and flour, dried fruit, cheese, hard biscuits, and other foods with them. They had to eat the food they brought until they could plant and harvest food.
  • The Mayflower Ship carried how many passengers? 102 passengers and 30 crew members
  • Where did all the passengers sleep onboard the Mayflower? Since the Mayflower was a cargo ship, the passengers slept between decks or in an area called the gun deck.

More Facts about Pilgrims

  • The Mayflower was not attacked by pirates due to the northern route taken by Captain Jones, but the passengers had to weather some storms about halfway across the Atlantic. The storm cracked a beam that had to be repaired during the voyage.
  • The passengers of the Mayflower were by and large Separatists. These Puritans separated from the Church of England and received permission from the King of England to start a new life and become colonists in the New World. William Bradford was the leader of these Puritans.
  • In addition to English passengers, the Mayflower carried Protestant Separatists from the city of Leiden in Nottinghamshire, Holland. These pilgrims started their journey on a ship named the Speedwell. The Speedwell needed too many repairs in order to make the voyage to North America, so its passengers boarded the Mayflower.
  • According to Edward Winslow, the first Thanksgiving feast was shared in late September of 1621 instead of the 4th Thursday in November.
  • The residents of the Plymouth Colony referred to themselves as Saints and it is believed that there are millions of Americans who are Mayflower descendants living today.

Paper folding is a fun activity! Have you ever tried making an origami crane? It would be another way to keep hands busy after a family dinner.

More OriGami

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About Cindy Hopper

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  1. I had my Grandson and a friend of his make this probably 5-6 yrs ago . It shows up somewhere every Thanksgiving and is always a reminder of history and fun. Thanks for the repost.

  2. Hi! Loved your idea, I’m trying to do it but I can’t find the video as much as I look for it! Could you help me out?

    Btw I’m using the ship with a new concept, an Erasmus ship for an invisible friend game.

  3. Hi Kris, the video is the second to last picture (click on the hands). Let me know if you don’t see it.

  4. Adding the names of guests on the sail as you mentioned it a great idea and use them as placecards at the dinner table! Those are fun!

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