Minecraft allows you to build lots of things. Castles and houses and farms and so much more. But one of the more interesting ways to build in Minecraft is not on land but at sea. And what better way to begin your voyage into nautical building than to build your vessel that will cut through the waters! It's time to earn your sea legs and learn how to build a ship.
Building the Skeleton
Before we begin any construction, we need to pick a location.
Obviously it must be in water so beaches are good to search around. I found this location beside a Jungle biome which gave me a particularly striking canvas to begin with.
First, like any build, we need a block palette. For this it's mostly wood, so I chose some nice deep dark red colors with Dark Oak Wood, Dark Oak and Spruce Wood Planks, and their slab, stair, and fence variants. If you want a lighter colored ship use Oak or Birch or even use Acacia if you want it to be a burning red vessel! Just make sure to have at least two wood types, this is important for detail and breaking up colors in the build.
Now that we can get to the building we have to construct the skeleton. The skeleton of a build is the very basic shape that the build will be sculpted from. It's useful to have this base so additions feel less aimless and the build keeps its shape as you complete it. Begin with a flattened rendition of the boat, like a silhouette as if you were looking down on it from above. And remember: the front of a ship is curved inward and pointy and the back is curved outward and round.
Next build up a few blocks, this will give us our full skeleton to begin sculpting the detailed shapes of the build upon.
Shaping your Ship
First make the shape of the front of the ship, also called the forepeak or beak of the ship. This is the main part of the ship that cuts through waves as the ship moves.
As you go along, add slabs and stairs to make your shapes smoother and add a little more detail.
Now the bottom of the ship is still flat so give that some shape as well as adding a few layers beneath the water. Keep the flat floor inside though as ships don’t usually keep all of their insides open to be walked around in. There is an area beneath the inside floor which is hollow and helps with buoyancy.
Back up to the top, it's time to make the quarterdeck, which is the raised area on the back of the ship where the rudder controls are. Inside this structure is also where we will be placing the captain’s cabin.
Now add your masts, we won't be adding sails to them yet to keep changes on the deck easier to make.
Detail on Deck
Next we have to improve the deck. First, add some rails and a way to get on. We need to get onto the ship somehow! This is the first example of lighter shaded fences being used as rope. Since there isn’t rope in Minecraft, I use these lighter fences as a form of rope throughout the build to imply the ship's structure.
Now add rails to the quarterdeck. Wouldn’t want the quartermaster falling into the ocean now, they would be livid!
Finally add that iconic big steering wheel. And of course, every good ship needs a compass to guide the way.
Now you may be getting impatient to put those big sails on, and good timing. Next step is sails, but I won’t be putting just any sails on my ship...
That's right, I’m sailing under the Black Flag! With some Black and White Wool I can signal to my enemies that I’m a real and proper pirate!
You don’t have to make these intimidating sails however there are a few things to keep in mind when making them. Sails don't just bend one way, they actually form a sort of partial dome with all sides curling back. Also, place large struts out sideways as supports for your sails first. They will help in beginning to place your sails as well as help gauge how big they will be.
Now with all these details in the sails the rest of the deck is looking a little bare.
Time to fix that! First with some barrels for storing supplies for those long sea journeys as well as a large wheel to turn when it's time to raise anchor.
Don’t forget the sides of your ship either. The sides can be made a bit more interesting by adding trapdoors for little details. Don't be afraid of overusing these, ships are big bundles of sticks held together by as many nails that fit, they naturally look a bit cluttered.
Making the Interior
The Captain’s Cabin
Once you’re satisfied with the look of the exterior it's time to do the inside. First, the more opulent area, the captain’s quarters right below the quarterdeck.
It’ll be a little dark in here so bring some lighting of your choosing. For this I’ve chosen Lamps but Torches would do well also.
In the back of the captain’s cabin there must be a big window. Our captain needs something to solemnly stare out of into the rain after running into a difficult hardship!
Next, fill it with a few tables and, of course, a big treasure map unfurled in the center! Again using trapdoors on the sides of blocks is great for details like shelves or cupboards.
The Bowls Below Deck
Now it's time to go beneath deck. Punch a hole in a more open area of the deck and place trapdoors on top of it to allow entry. No need for the nice doors the captain gets, this is the crew’s quarters.
Of course, make sure there’s some light, but not too much, as well as a way to get in. Down here is a good place to use a lot of your second wood color as every wall and floor will be that of your first wood and that big blob of one color needs to be broken up.
Just beside the entrance make a nice little side room. This small nook is the vault, home to all the treasure of the ship.
Fill it with riches beyond your wildest dreams and make sure no one sinks your ship without grabbing it up in your escape.
The crew needs somewhere to sleep though and ships require a lot of crew. This space is going to be cramped but that's good. Take that clutter from above deck and turn it way up to make this space feel as small as possible.
Pack beds in tight on top of each other and use slabs to make shelves that support the beds beside them. Make sure there’s ladders so the crew who get the best spots, the top bunk, can make it to their beds.
Finally, we need a place for our artillery. Punch some holes through the wall of your ship, and make sure they’re high up. Don’t want any seawater coming in!
Then add your ammo. Big cannonballs can be represented with a few things but I went with some big heavy Netherite cannonballs. That's sure to blast open the hull of whoever dares cross my blocky vessel!
The Finished Build
And there she is, the Creeper of the Seas! A menacing ship sure to send you straight to Davy Jeb’s Locker. You might have a ship just as intimidating, or perhaps a colorful one or a fancy modern one. By just mixing up which blocks you use, this build can take so many different forms and is sure to lead you on the path of aquatic buildng in great strides across the blocky waves of Minecraft.