Pirates of the Caribbean

The Captain's Compass

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The Captain's Compass
Total Time 1 hour Ages school-age

Considered one of the most treasured items on the Seven Seas, Captain Jack Sparrow's Compass will do you no good when it comes to finding true north. Given to the infamous captain as a gift from Tia Dalma, it's designed, instead, to lead to what your heart wants most. This palm-size replica is fitted with a spinnable compass needle that a young pirate can point toward the object of his own heart's desire.

Download The Captain's Compass Template

What you'll need

  • 2 miniature square jewelry or craft boxes with covers (sold in large craft supply stores)*
  • Craft knife
  • Black acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Compass templates
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • White cardstock or heavy weight paper
  • Red marker
  • Ruler
  • Non-toxic gold leaf pen
  • Glue stick
  • Paper hole punch
  • Brass paper fastener
Helpful Tip:

The box shown here measures 3 inches diagonally from corner to corner

How to make it

  1. Step 1

    Remove the covers from the boxes and set them aside to use for the compass case. Discard one of the boxes and use the other to make the inner face of the compass by trimming the sides so they are the same height as the box lids. An easy way to do this is to set the bottom of the box inside the cover, as shown. Then trace along the edge of the lid and cut the box along the pencil line.

  2. Paint the outsides of the trimmed box and one of the covers black. Paint the second cover inside and out to serve as the top of the compass case.

  3. While the paint dries, print out the compass templates and cut out the pieces. Trace the larger circle, the compass needle, and the hinge onto white cardstock. Cut out the tracings.

  4. Step 4a

    Center the smaller template circle atop the cardstock circle and trace around it with red marker.

  5. Step 4b

    Next, use the ruler and marker to divide the cardstock circle into eight wedges. Draw additional marks to divide the border of the circle into sixteenths.

  6. Use the gold leaf pen to color the compass needle and the hinge, and to outline the edges and tops of the compass face and case, as pictured.

  7. Glue the circle onto the compass face. Then use the craft knife to make a small slit through the center of the circle and the underlying cardboard.

  8. Step 7a

    Punch a hole through the center of the compass needle and insert the paper fastener through it and then down through the slit in the compass face.

  9. Step 7b

    Spread the fastener ends on the underside of the cardboard keeping them loose enough for the needle to spin.

  10. Step 8

    Insert the compass face into the case bottom and then set the case top in place. Glue the paper hinge to the back of the case, as shown.

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