A porthole is a round window on a ship. Sailors often spent many months at sea, away from their homes and families.

This photograph shows a group of sailors relaxing in hammocks on the Parma ship in 1902, in fine weather. All they can see is ocean all the way to the horizon.

Crew relaxing in hammocks on the Parma in 1902
  • Can you imagine looking out of the porthole from your bunk and seeing land for the first time in weeks?
  • How do you think it would feel?
  • What would you be excited to see?
How to make a ships porthole

You will need:

  • 2 x paper plates
  • Scissors
  • Pritt stick
  • Colours
  • Collage materials
  • Stapler
Step 1

Fold one paper plate lightly in half and make a small cut with the scissors. Put one side of your scissors in to the slit to cut out the middle of the paper plate. 

An image for 'Step 1'
Step 2

Colour in the back of the plate rim – this is your porthole frame.

An image for 'Step 2'
Step 3

On the font of the second plate you can draw, collage and colour in the scene that you can see through the window – is it a first sighting of land? Is it your favourite place? Is it someone you imagine you would miss? Is it a belonging you wish you’d packed?

An image for 'Step 3'
Step 4

Put the porthole frame on top of your view and staple into place.

An image for 'Step 4'