How to Make Miniature Buoys for Craft Projects or Models

Updated on September 6, 2019
purl3agony profile image

Donna enjoys using her arts background to create fun craft projects with a special focus on using repurposed or handy household materials.

How to Make Miniature Buoys for Craft Projects or Models
How to Make Miniature Buoys for Craft Projects or Models | Source

My father had carved a wooden sea captain figure standing on a dock in front of a small building. He wanted to add some small buoys to the front of the building but didn't know how to make them. So I created some buoys for him from foam ear plugs and small dowels. The finished buoys are about half an inch at their widest point (though this depends on the shape of the ear plug) and about one and 5/8 inches long (though the length is adjustable). Although there are a number of steps in making these tiny buoys, you can make a number of them at one time.



These are the supplies I used to make my buoys. You may try other items depending on what you have on hand or to adjust the finished size of your buoys.

  • Foam ear plugs - these usually come in a box and are available in the pharmacy section at most grocery and big box stores.
  • Small thin dowels or round toothpicks for wooden stick handle
  • (Optional, but suggested) acrylic medium, Modge Podge, or white craft glue to coat ear plug.
  • Super glue - I used the gel type which is easy to handle and control.
  • Small paint brush and acrylic paint in your choice of colors
  • (Optional) large embroidery needle and thin macramé string or embroidery floss - used only if you want to add a rope to your buoy
  • Scissors or utility knife
  • Sharp pointed tool like an awl


1. Using sharp scissors or a utility knife, cut your foam ear plug roughly in half. The rounded end of your ear plug will become your buoy. The float ends of buoys come in a variety of sizes, so it's fine if you don't get your cut exactly in the middle. Try to make an even, clean cut but you can trim it later if needed.


2. (Optional) Using a paint brush, coat the sides and rounded end of your ear plug with clear acrylic medium or Modge Podge. You can probably also use white craft glue that dries clear. This step is optional but I think this coating makes the ear plug a little firmer to hold up to the cutting and piercing, and to accept the paint later.

Let your clear coat dry completely.


Adding a Stick Handle

3. Holding the rounded end of your ear plug, take your pointed tool and drill it into the flat end of your cut ear plug. You want to make a deep hole in your buoy, but do not push your tool all the way through your ear plug.


4. Check that your dowel or toothpick will fit into the hole you created in the bottom of your cut ear plug. I was able to find this package of small dowels at the craft store, but a round toothpick would also work just as well.

5. Working quickly, put a drop of super glue into the hole.

6. Insert your dowel or toothpick into the hole, pushing it as deep as you can. Make sure your stick is straight into your ear plug and let dry completely.

7. Once your buoy is dry, you can shorten the length of the stick handle with a pair of scissors, clippers, or utility knife. You can also trim your float using scissors to get rid of any rough edges on the flat end.


Painting Your Buoy

Buoys come in a variety of color combinations. Most have stripes that are assigned to the owner of the buoys. You can look online for ideas for painting your buoys.

8. Painting these tiny buoys takes some patience and a steady hand. If you prefer, you can paint the float end a solid color, and the stick end another color.


9. If you want to add stripes, be sure to use a small paint brush that has a fine point. Paint the float end first, let dry, then paint the handle.

10. Paint your buoy completely with your lighter color first. Then add your stripe by making a series of small dashes while you turn your buoy.

11. To let dry, place the stick end between the wraps on a roll of toilet paper or paper towels (see photo above).


12. Once the float end is dry, you can paint the stick end using the same method. Then let dry completely.


Adding Rope to Your Buoy

Adding rope to your buoy is optional, depending on how you plan to use or display your buoy.

13. To add rope, use an embroidery needle with a sharp point and an eye large enough to accept your thread. Then thread thin macramé string or embroidery floss through your embroidery needle.


14. Carefully push your needle through the foam end of your buoy from side to side. Do not pierce your buoy too close to the rounded end. When your needle is through the float, gently pull your thread or string through. Be careful not to crack the paint on your buoy.

15. You can either attach your buoy to your project, or tie the two ends of your thread in a knot for hanging. You can secure your knot with a drop of super glue.


© 2019 Donna Herron


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • purl3agony profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Herron 

      9 months ago from USA

      Hi Dianna - I love your suggestion of using these little buoys to decorate a gift basket. They could also be used to embellish a card. Thanks so much for commenting!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      9 months ago

      Very creative! I love the idea and would use these to decorate a summer gift basket.

    • purl3agony profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Herron 

      9 months ago from USA

      Thanks, Besarien! Yes, you could tape off the sections and paint them, but it would take just as much patience to tape off the float. It seems easier to carefully paint the stripes by hand. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Besarien profile image


      9 months ago from South Florida

      You are so clever! I bet these float! They are painted as well as any I've seen in real life which is a testament to your steady hand and patience. I do wonder if it wouldn't be easier to tape off the sections and spray them?

    • purl3agony profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Herron 

      10 months ago from USA

      Hi Heidi - Thanks for your kind comments and your Instagram suggestion. I'll have to check out these photos. Thanks again for reading and commenting!

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      10 months ago from Chicago Area

      These are perfect for models and such for our friends in the Northeast US! Love using the toilet paper roll as a holder. I would have never thought of that!

      BTW, I'm following some mini makers on Instagram who share pics of their incredible projects. If you're on Instagram, check them out. Super inspirational (and some are just fun people to follow).

      Hope you're having a great early autumn. Cheers!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)