Introduction: Cardboard Boats

Picture of Cardboard Boats

Cardboard boats!  Fun for big and little ones alike.  Plus, if one of your nautical vessels should crash, sink, or float away to broader horizons, it isn’t a great loss (more of an opportunity to make some new ones).

Step 1: Supplies/Tools

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  • ·         Scrap cardboard
  • ·         Scrap wax/candles (white is the most see-through)
  • ·         Double boiler
  • ·         Tape
  • ·         Low-temp glue gun
  • ·         Scissors
  • ·         Xacto knife
  • ·         Quarter (not pictured)
Tape and hot glue are interchangeable in this instructable, so I made both kinds of boats.

Step 2: Planning the Design

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First, it was worth the extra effort of making a paper version to flesh out what I had in mind.  I taped the pieces together to get the general shape, then took it apart and edited my design.

Step 3: Cutting!

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Using the paper boat as a template, I cut the parts out from the scrap cardboard.  You can use either the scissors or knife, but the knife is definitely not kid friendly.

Step 4: Prep the Pieces - Bending

Picture of Prep the Pieces - Bending

Pre-bend the boat into shape before assembling!

Step 5: Assembly

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Starting at the stern (the back of the boat) start to attach the pieces using tape or glue.  It helps having more than one set of hands at this stage, so make sure you enlist your mini-sailors at this point.

If you are using tape, you have to slit the tape into several “tags” so that it wraps around curved surfaces.  [What a great teaching opportunity to discuss geometry]

Don’t forget the rudder!  I did and had to cut through the back of the keel to insert it.  Using a quarter, insert it between the two hull pieces; secure with tape or glue.  The rudder is heavy enough to keep the boat sitting in the water properly (otherwise, it immediately tips to the side – teaching opportunity to discuss water displacement)

Step 6: Making the Wax Bath

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This part will keep your cardboard boat from getting soggy.

Cut the wax into chunks, then melt in a double boiler – grown-ups only.  Warm the wax in your double boiler under low heat with constant supervision.  If it is too low to melt the wax, slowly raise the temperature.  I ended up going to medium high (but my stove top may be different, it seems to be possessed anyway).  I used a plastic spoon to stir it as it melted. 

When the wax is ready, take it off the heat and place it on a drip-friendly surface (I used a trivet placed on my kitchen floor).  If your short companion is helping, be very careful about burns!!!  They might be able to dip some of the boat, but an adult should do the rest as it starts to get coated in hot wax.

Step 7: Wax Bath

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Carefully dip the exterior of the boat in the melted wax and leave to cool.

Step 8: Finished!

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Do whatever floats your boat!!!

[Leggo man optional]


roboboy__ (author)2016-02-27

dude, you know instead of wax you could just tape all over it, water slips right off tape

bobsquared (author)2013-12-30

I'm thinking about making a
version that could hold me...

glemoh (author)2011-10-28

I try to download this page many times as pdf but i can't .31 day fat loss cure

splazem (author)2011-07-16

Cool beans!

randofo (author)2011-07-15

At what temperature do you double-boil the wax roughly?

Lissastrata (author)randofo2011-07-15

Thanks for bringing that up!

Under constant supervision, put your double boiler on low heat. You can always raise the temperature slowly, if need be.

@MrCantThinkOfAName: you really don't need to keep it melted for long. When I was dipping the boats, I had it sitting on a trivet completely off the heat (you can actually see it in step 7 - the trivet is sitting on my ruddy kitchen tiles).

Thanks for the comments! I think I will edit the appropriate steps. :)

I'd probably guess medium to high temp to melt it, and then a low-medium to keep it melted.

About This Instructable




Bio: I am a recovering Cub Scout Den Leader. I spent five years in that role and have learned how to do more with less and ... More »
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