Introduction: Duct Tape Boat V2.0

Picture of Duct Tape Boat V2.0

Duct tape is a "magical" item because you can build some of the coolest things with it.

This is the second boat in our duct tape boat series. We designed and built this in our engineering club, HEAT, to race in a local duct tape boat competition.

note: we are a non profit organization dedicated to engage our students in S.T.E.M. and raise awareness of engineering and technology in our community.

The majority of this boat is made up of duct tape and PVC.

Duct Tape Boat v2.0


v2.0 Polaris was designed for speed and cutting though water.
It can hold 2 people.

Length- 4.5 meters

Max Width- 3.9 ft

I hope you enjoy this instructables!

Step 1: Watch V2.0 Polaris in Action

Step 2: Terminology

Duct tape boat related terminology

Hull-A hull is the watertight body of a ship or boat

Bow- The bow is the forward part of the hull of a ship or boat, the point that is usually most forward when the vessel is underway

Stern- The stern is the back or aft-most part of a ship

Keel- A structural keel is a beam around which the hull of a ship is built. The keel runs in the middle of the ship, from the bow to the stern, and serves as a basic foundation or spine of the structure, providing the major source of structural strength of the hull.

Waterline-The line where the hull meets the water surface is called the waterline.

Refer to this page for a illustration of where the parts are located usually.

Step 3: Design

Picture of Design

We designed our boat with whatever we found layer around and then tested in a bucket of water. After that we went on to CADing a cool looking boat in Autodesk Inventor. This design was just so we could get a basic shape of what we wanted to build. The 3D design was helpful during the building session.

    Step 4: Materials

    Picture of Materials


    Pvc pipes- 3/4 in

    Fitting- 90° piece, 45° piece, 4 way cross, T-Joint

    Pvc adhesive- Pvc cement

    Duct Tape- 50 yard duct tape x 12

    Estimated total cost: $90-$140 (depends on where you buy your duct tape and pvc)

    Over all, the duct tape costed us more than the pvc.



    To save time: use a scroll saw/ or any other motorized cutting tool

    Step 5: Build the Keel

    Picture of Build the Keel

    Assemble the keel as shown in the picture.

    Dry fit the keel. Do not glue until you have the basic frame complete.

    Step 6: Build the Stern and the Bow

    Picture of Build the Stern and the Bow

    Dry fit and assemble as shown in the picture.

    First try to dry fit all of the pieces to make sure you have the measurements right.

    You can use clamps or tape to hold the dry fitting together if they are falling apart.

    After your dry fitted boat looks good, you can start gluing from bottom to the top.

    Here is a great video on how to glue together PVC pieces with PVC primer and cement.

    After you have glued all your pieces, you can start planning on how you are going to apply duct tape.

    Step 7: Foot Brace & Duct Tape

    Picture of Foot Brace & Duct Tape

    The foot brace helps you get more control of the boat. It is similar to a pedal brace, which is seen in kayaks. It helps you be "one with the boat."

    orverlap by 1/4 or 1/2 (less chances of leakage)


    1. Start duct taping vetically from the foot brace (sticky side outside)
    2. Then do it horizontally ( sticky side outside)
    3. Take a long stip and attach it to the bow(front) of the boat to the stern (back end), wrap in a horziontal motion (sticky side inside)
    4. Do the same on the other side ( this serves as a guide for the diagonal layer)
    5. Attach duct tape in a diagonal form until they meet in the middle
    6. Wrap slowly and nicely
    7. Do the same on the other side
    8. Apply another layer for better protection against leakage
    9. For the top: Apply tape horizontally ( one layer only) 1/4 overlap
    10. Go over and press firmly on the overlaps to ensure a good seal

    Step 8: Joints

    Picture of Joints

    These are some pictures of the joints inside the boat

    Step 9: Seat

    Picture of Seat

    Blue marks where the PVC is laying underneath. This helps you know where to step whenever you are entering the boat.

    Step 10: Build Paddles

    Picture of Build Paddles

    Dry fit the paddle and then if you are satisfied, you can start gluing and duct taping it.

    Items needed:

    left over pvc pipes

    90° fitting x8

    4 way cross x2

    T-Fitting x2

    Step 11: Test

    Picture of Test

    Go test your boat!

    We tested our boat at Lake Norma. I highly recommend you were life jackets, especially if you are not familiar with the waters. Safety is always the number one priority.

    During testing

    Try to see if you can see if the water is seeping in.

    Enjoy your hard-work.

    After testing

    See inside the boat for any water leakage.

    If there is any leakage, try to mark the location for repair and drain out the water by flipping and shaking the boat.

    Step 12: Final Touches

    Picture of Final Touches

    We cut out letters and the skunk from duct tape with a exacto knife.

    Simply apply it wherever you prefer. (do not place below the water line because over time and usage, it comes off )

    We named our boat Polaris. Polaris is is the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor, and the 45th brightest star in the night sky. Polaris sounds sophisticated and pretty cool.

    Write your motto on it, ours is "make it happen"

    Put stripes along the boat to make it looks modern and sleek.

    If you had any leakages during the testing phase, you need to locate the leakage point you marked and repair it by applying duct tape to the area.

    Step 13: Optional: Build a Camera Jib

    Picture of Optional: Build a Camera Jib

    We made a jib for our GoPro to get some really nice footage of Mamba and Polaris in action.

    We were pleased with the results. All you need to do is cut a four way piece in half and then attach random a couple of angled fittings together with pvc.

    Make sure that the jib can see the pilot and the boat in the shot.

    So dry fit a couple of fittings and pvc before gluing.

    Go over with left over duct tape to make it look artsy.

    Tip: To be on the safe side, attach a lanyard to the jib. The lanyard is a security feature for those "just in case" moments.

    Step 14: Watch V1.0 Mamba in Action

    I have also posted another instructable on how we built v1.0 Mamba. Go check it out!

    Step 15: Finish

    When not in use, you can use your boat as a home decor piece.

    If you want to know more about our projects please visit

    I will be posting some of the projects we've worked on in our engineering department.

    Please leave any questions or comments below!


    Theophilosbible (author)2016-04-23

    Is Mamba or Polaris faster???

    hiddenartist (author)2016-01-24

    Super project!

    craft within reach (author)2015-06-02

    Congrats on first place!

    Thank you :) Congrats on your win as well!

    maybe a next idea to make a portable version of this.

    so it can be folded in and be easily transported and deployed

    The next version will be more compact, like a one person kayak. Hmm... folding boat, sounds really interesting.

    kokoleo (author)2015-05-29

    I can only hope there's a club as cool as this when my son gets to high school. Great job!

    CuriosityMachine (author)kokoleo2015-05-29

    Thank you! Our club didn't really exist two years ago but has flourished starting last year. If there is not a club at your son's school, then just establish one (looks great on scholarship applications). All you need is some motivated students and a little bit of awesomeness.

    craft within reach (author)2015-05-29

    Loved watching the video! Great work

    Thank you !!

    powerfulparadox (author)2015-05-24

    Out of curiosity, how did the cracked fitting hold up? (The one in the right side of the second and third pictures of joints)

    Really neat project. I feel even more inspired now.

    It is still intact, even with hours of testing and practice. Even I didn't notice it until I took the picture.

    Thank you so much :) If you decide to build one yourself, please post a picture here in the comments!

    synchronous0987 (author)2015-05-24

    Why not just use plastic, like a drop cloth? And tape up the seams. Duct tape is awful heavy, and expensive, and doesn't do great with sunlight or water.

    The paddles and the boat were made for a competition. One of the rules was that you can only use duct tape and pvc to build.

    About This Instructable




    Bio: High School Student. CEO and the founder of a high school's engineering club. Always curious. I love to build and design things that come ... More »
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