ReadCreations Pattern Hack: Polynesian Raft

Follow along as Tanja of ReadCreations shows us how to turn her Catamaran into a Polynesian Catamaran!








(Click on the cover image to find the pattern on Pixie Faire.)

Let's get started...

First, you're going to need some supplies:

Follow the Catamaran's supply list for the sew or no-sew seat and the Catamaran frame.

 Additionally you will need:

  • 1/2 yard of beige heavy cotton or canvas (duck) fabric for the sail
  • Freezer paper (optional for sail decoration)
  • Acrylic paint for sail decoration and fabric painting medium for acrylic paints (e.g. at JoAnn Fabrics)
  • Thin hemp string or similar
  • Awl or sharp nail to create holes
  • (12)  1 3/8" x 15 1/2" x 1/8" wooden strips
    like heavy duty paint stirrers (from e.g. Menards) or (4) 48" long wood lath (HomeDepot, Menards,..) or similar wooden strips.
  • Dark wood stain
  • (4) jumbo craft sticks
  • Spray paint primer for plastics and brown spray paint for plastics
  • Acrylic paints (black, beige,..) to create the wood texture and a brush or sponge to apply paint
  • Optional acrylic sealer
  • Rough sand paper
  • Small piece of paper towel
  • (4) 3/4" long small flat-head screws
  • Optional, (2) 1/2" thick branches (one about 28" long, the other about 20" long) for the mast if you are not using the listed CPVC for the mast and boom

Modify framing instructions

1.  First create the seating (sew or no-sew version, I recommend no-sew). I used black Olyfun since it won't be visible anyway and is cheap.

2.  Now to the PVC: cut 2" PVC according to pattern instructions, then slide rough sand paper along the length to create grooves as would be found in wood.

3.  Continue Catamaran frame assembly instructions for the 2" PVC pieces (steps 1 and 2).

4.  You will need to decide if your mast and boom are going to be made of CPVC or real branches. If you decide on CPVC, cut mast and boom CPVC pieces according to pattern. If using real branches, replace mast and boom CPVC pieces from pattern with branches.

5.  Cut all CPVC pieces according to pattern instructions.

6.  If you are using CPVC for the mast and boom, take one end of the mast and stuff a little bit of paper towel in the end and push in about 1/2". Fill with hot glue until it is level with the mast end. Repeat for one boom end.

7.  Prime and paint all PVC and CPVC pieces. Use a brush or sponge to draw the tree pattern onto the (C)PVC with acrylic paint. Seal with acrylic sealer if desired.

8.  For the traditional Catamaran we have the boom piece not at 90° to the mast but about 45° to the mast. For that we need to modify step 3 for boom piece (CPVC or branch) by using the Dremel not at 90° but at 45°. You will still be 90° to the Kebab stick but tilt it 45° towards the boom. Do this on the end which does NOT contain the hot glue!

9.  Continue with the remainder of the instructions (steps 4 - 13) omitting all steps related to the rudder and the line feeder eyelet. Don't drill holes in step 6!

10.  Now we are going to assemble the seating area with all of its assembled CPVC pieces (pieces K, (2) L and J.

11. Cut (12) wood strips to 15 1/2" length and stain.

12.  After the wood strips (boards) have dried, align 11 of them on top of the seating area frame.

Try to center the middle board where the T connector is. This one wooden board needs to be shortened to about 14 3/8".

13. Take masking tape and tape across the top and bottom of the boards to keep them from moving.

14. Carefully remove connected boards from seating area and flip over so that the underside is facing you and set down separately.

15.   Take two of the craft sticks and glue on top of each other, repeat for the other two. Cut to 4" in length.

16.  Take one of the glued craft sticks and glue onto wrong side across the short board, supporting it with the adjacent boards. Then glue the second one right underneath it.
I have masking tape on both sides, you should not see your masking tape.

17.   After glue of support strips has dried, cover the wrong side of all boards with E6000 glue, not gluing the last 1" of all ends.

18.  To make the following step easier, I would recommend moving the wood boards onto a stair with the short board overhanging the stair.

Take assembled seating and align on top of boards (right side of seating goes onto wrong side of boards) making sure your protruding T connector goes into the hole created by the shortened board. Press down on fabric to attach well to boards. Let glue dry.

19.  You can take a little bit of acrylic paint matching your seating color and paint the visible parts of the support strips. This will make the support strips nearly invisible.

20. Take (4) 3/4" long small screws and attach the first and last board to the elbow connector (pre-drill holes with a small drill bit first).


21.  Measure 4" from front of seating and pre-drill two tiny holes with a 1/16 drill bit on each outer board, then insert eyelets into holes. These eyelets are set into the wood rather than into the CPVC seat framing as was done in step 14 in the instructions.

Your modified seating is now finished.

22. Remove CPVC parts J and K from assembled seating and follow setup instructions until step 6.

Create New Sail

1.  Take your boom piece and slide onto mast piece. Tape it in place where you want it.

2.  Take your canvas fabric and lay your mast/boom piece onto it. Trace with a pencil along the inside of the mast and boom pieces then connecting the ends with a straight line creating a triangle.

3.  Add either a 1/2" or 1" seam allowance depending on whether you want to do a single hem (with the rough edge exposed, which is more realistic) or a double hem (with the raw edge hidden). 
After you have added your seam allowance, cut fabric.

4.  Sew your hem (single or double hem) either by hand or with a sewing machine. I hand-sewed with a running stitch to give it a more realistic look. Hem all three sides.

5.  If you want to decorate your sail you can mix acrylic paint with acrylic paint medium according to manufacturer’s directions and either directly paint on your sail or you can create a stencil with your freezer paper, iron it on the sail and then paint.
I used the stencil method and did not cover it completely with paint to give it an aged look.

Remove freezer paper if used and iron acrylic paint to set colors.

6.  Take awl and create holes in roughly 1" intervals along the boom and mast sides within hem.

Align sail within mast and boom. Take hemp string and attach sail by going through each hole and wrapping around the mast/boom. Don't tie off strings yet!

8.  Drill a tiny hole into the ends of the mast and boom where the sail ends and secure sail through these holes with string from previous step. This will prevent the sail from sliding down. Tie a knot and add a dab of glue to knot to prevent it from coming undone.

9.  Drill one slightly larger hole through the top of the mast (about 1/2" from end).

10.  Take two 78" long hemp strings and tie a knot at 36" then thread both longer ends through the hole then tie another knot right after the hole to secure strings in place.

11. Take the longer ends and tie another knot after 24" and tie each end through one of the eyelets on the front of the Catamaran.

12.  Take the shorter ends and tie each end through one of the eyelets in the seat area of the Catamaran.

I had my mast sloping slightly to the back of the Catamaran.

Your Catamaran is complete.

Create the Paddle

Use your last board (board number 12), which was not used before, to create the paddle.

1. Cut it accordingly.


2.  Sand all edges and re-stain.

 Your oar is complete!  

We hope your doll enjoys her new raft!






1 Comment

Donna Ory
Donna Ory

July 28, 2017

I could make this and put it in our travel camper! My husband LOVES sailing, and this would make a perfect touch to the decor!

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