SHIPS in BOTTLES by Michel Bardet            


Michel Bardet working on a model

I live in the town of Saint-Nazaire,the capital of the shipbuilding (France).
I'm practicing this leisure for 40 years ,an hobby called "Navi-botellisme" in french.
Up to now, I have realized more than 80 models in bottles.
For the last 25 years, I have specialized in two main collections.

The most famous Traditional Boats of Brittany:
I did those : Belem, Etoile, Belle Poule, Recouvrance, Renard, Pen Duick, Kurun, and I have got plenty more others to achieve.

Winners of the "Route du Rhum" race in multihulls:
When I show this collection during my exhibitions, the public likes it a lot, specially children who are very interested in it

Apart from these two collections, I have fun by producing planes, steamers, windsurfs, and ships sailing in full silk spinnakers with their crew operating on board.

I personally use two techniques, according to the model to make:

  • a/ - The basic technique

  • This technique is the one used by former Cape Horn sailors and lighthouse keepers. Those models are rudimentary, even a little naive, without too many details. They have big colored pearls (white, black, green or brown), to represent pulleys, have relatively thick ropes and sails made of paper.

    To bottle the ship it is necessary to fold the whole set of the masts on the hull of the boat, then to make it penetrate through the neck of the bottle. Afterwards, it is necessary to straighten the masts up again by pulling the end threads of the rig.
    I used this technique on a demonstration model during the Brest 2000 exhibition. (the most famous international festival of sailors and marine shows and exhibitions in Europe).

  • b/ - My personal technique

  • This technique requires a special kinematics for each boat. It is necessary to put one by one the part of the model inside the bottle. The setting inside the bottle is a little more difficult.
    However, this allows you to set larger ships in the bottle, occupying a bigger inner space . This way, you are less penalized by the diameter of the neck of the bottle.

    Thanks to this technique, I have produced the multihulls of the "Route du Rhum" race. This method makes it possible to bring more finishing touches and details to the models. It generates also more work inside the bottle, using special tools.

    If you have been interested in this short presentation, then do not hesitate to see and read the various chapters of this document.

    To get more information about this specific art, you can contact me: bardetmbd @

  • Return to the main page

  • Basic technique to put a ship in a bottle

  • My personal technique

  • The know-how

  • Exhibitions and demonstrations

  • Restoration of boats in bottles

  • Traditional sailing boats

  • Winners of the "Route du Rhum " race in multihulls

  • Other models in bottles, bulbs and flasks

  • Model under construction

  • Copyright MBD 2002
    Photographs restricted rights