This is a guest counselor post from one of our readers from New Zealand! What a treat!

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Kia ora guys! My name’s Meags, and I’m from the awesome country that is New Zealand! Even though it’s currently winter over here, there isn’t much us kiwis like more than a day at the beach. Did you know that in New Zealand, you’re never more than 120km (just under 75 miles) from the sea?

Today I’m going to show you how you can make a stand-up paddle board for those beach or lake trips. The same techniques can also be adapted to make surfboards, bodyboards or kickboards, so you’ll be all set for any water adventure!

You will need:

• Foam core board
• Craft foam (textured if you can get it – I used some of my Big Person’s yoga mat)
• Wooden dowel
• Thin plastic (e.g. ice cream container lid or old clearfile cover)
• Insulation tape or duct tape
• Hot glue gun
• Elastic
• Sharp scissors or craft knife
• Small saw (or an adult to help you cut the dowel)
• Sandpaper
• (Optional) Paint or stickers

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Firstly, sketch out your design on scrap paper. A good size for 18-inch dolls like me is a board about 2 feet long and 7-8 inches wide. I needed to tape three pieces of paper together to draw this. (Hint: it’s easier to make your board symmetrical if you fold your paper in half lengthways, then draw one side with the middle on the fold. When you cut it out, both sides will match.) Also draw in the traction pad – for a stand-up board, this should cover about two-thirds of the deck.

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Once you’re happy with your design, cut it out and trace it onto your foam core board. Use a pencil so that you can rub off any extra marks.

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Cut out your design – a sharp craft knife works best for this. You may need to ask an adult for help.

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Unless you know some magic way of cutting foam core, you’re probably going to have some pretty messy edges, like mine. Don’t worry – we’re going to use the hot glue gun to run a bead of glue around the edges of your board. This not only makes a nice rounded shape like a real board, it hides any small cutting mistakes and helps to protect your board from future dings. The edge of your board should look like this:

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Now cut out the shape you drew for the traction pad earlier – mine is about 15 inches long and 6 inches wide.

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Trace this template onto your craft foam. Textured foam is more realistic, but normal foam is fine if that’s what you have.

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Cut out your traction pad and position it on the board. Now is the time to decorate your board! You can do this however you like, just remember where the traction pad is going to cover so you don’t end up hiding all your artwork.
Once you’ve got your board looking how you want it (I like to keep things simple, so I just added some stripes and a subtle edge with insulation tape), use your hot glue gun to attach the traction pad.

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Next, cut two pieces of black elastic about five inches long. Glue the ends of these to the board in an “X” shape. You can use these straps to hold a drink bottle or drybag while you’re paddling.

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If you want, you can sign your name at the front (where the company logo would usually go). Here is my finished board! Now I just need a paddle…

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To make a paddle, start by cutting a piece of thin wooden dowel so that it is about 15 inches long. Also cut a short piece, 1 ¼ inches. You may need to ask an adult for help for this.

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Use the sandpaper to shape one end of your long piece of dowel into a flat point as in the picture below:

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Then colour both pieces of dowel black. I just wrapped them in black tape, but you can use paint or whatever else you have.

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Cut a small length of thin elastic about three inches long. Glue the ends of this to one side of your short piece of dowel, then glue the middle of your short dowel to the end of the long one to form the t-grip. (I used jewellery elastic which is why it’s hard to see).

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Glue a second piece of elastic to form a loop about half-way down the paddle.

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To make the paddle blade, cut the blade shape from a piece of thin plastic – old clearfiles are great for this. If you are struggling to draw the shape for your paddle blade, there is a template sheet at the end of this post. Then sand the edges smooth.

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Glue the blade to the end of your paddle shaft. It should be on a slight angle from how you sanded the paddle shaft earlier – when you’re holding it, the blade points in front of you.

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Time to go catch some waves!

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You can also adapt these methods slightly to make other cool toys for the beach.

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My twin brother Eli loves to surf!

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To make Eli’s surfboard, use the same process we used for my paddleboard, but make it smaller (Eli’s is 16 inches long and five inches wide). You can make the tip a pointed shape if you like – this is common for the boards used by experienced surfers. The traction pad should only cover a small area at the tail of your board – there is a template for the surfboard traction pad at the end of this post. Finally, make a leash by gluing a length of black cord to the tail of the board. Glue the other end to a loop of elastic or Velcro sized to fit around your doll’s ankle.

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My best friend Taryn prefers sports that require less balance, so she rides a bodyboard or boogie board.

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Making Taryn’s bodyboard also uses the same process we used before, however her board is even smaller and does not have a traction pad. Instead, it has a plastic “slick” on the bottom to make it go faster – use a layer of duct tape on your board to achieve this.

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She also needs a leash – this is the same as for Eli’s surfboard, but uses a coiled plastic cord (hairties are good for this) and the cuff fits around her wrist (for beginners) or bicep (for experienced boarders).

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Taryn’s little sister Reece is still learning how to swim, so she uses a kickboard to help practice her technique.

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Reece’s kickboard was made by gluing together layers of craft foam, then cutting handles in the board (optional). Templates for Reece and Taryn’s boards are also included (though you may want to increase the size of the kickboard if you’re making it for an AG doll – Reece is only 15 inches tall!)

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Bring on that summer sun and fun!

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Templates we used are found here: Download surf templates

Just in case you’re interested, here is more about today’s post:

  • Meags – I’m a Magic Attic “Megan” doll. I like to wear my original shorts, shoes and socks with a DesignaFriend t-shirt. My bikini is from the Kidz’n’Cats beach set and my swim shorts are from Kidz’n’Cats Helen.
  • Eli is a rewigged, repainted Magic Attic “Alison” doll. His shorts are from the Kidz’n’Cats Harry set.
    Taryn is a Kidz’n’Cats “Stine” doll with an AG Nellie wig. Her swimsuit is from an outfit produced for the Magic Attic Rose doll. Her sarong is from a My Life As set.
  • Reece is a Global Friends “Marissa” doll. Her swimwear is from the Friends 2B Made line, originally produced by Build-A-Bear. Her shoes are from Corolle’s Kinra dolls.

Kia Kaha,

Meags