Picture of Duct Tape Kayak
After watching the Mythbusters episode on Duct Tape Myths, I decided to take a whack at creating my own duct tape boat. Rather than the two-man sailboat that Jamie and Adam designed, I went for a much slimmer one-man kayak. Only $20 of supplies and a day or two of work; this Kayak makes for a great weekend summer project!
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
All that you need in the way of materials are some duct tape rolls, a little bit of wood glue, and wood for the frame. For the sake of simplicity and cheapness, I bought a good number of 3/16"x1-3/8"x8' cedar strips to make my frame. At about 90 cents apiece, they were the perfect option.

My materials list came out to this:

Three 55 yard rols of duct tape
8 cedar strips
1 bottle of gorilla wood glue

Altogether less than 20$.

Step 2: Design

Picture of Design
As shown in the picture, the basic design consists of two full-length curved sides, a "hull" piece that follows along the bottom edge of the boat, and reinforcing "ribs" that provide the majority of the strength in the frame.

Once the frame is made, the "skin" of the boat -which consists of two layers of duct tape- stretches across the frame.

Step 3: Frame

There are 5 steps in the creation of the frame:

Step 1:
     Using 2 angled brace strips, bend the edge pieces and clamp them into place. Glue the seams between the braces and the edge pieces. (see Pictures 1 and 2)

Step 2:
    The "hull" piece consists of two angled pieces held between two straight strips. Once glued and attached, this piece constitutes the bottom edge of the kayak. (see Pictures 3, 4, and 5)

Step 3:
    As shown in Picture 6, cut out the vertical brace pieces that connect the horizontal braces in Step 1 to the "hull" piece in Step 2. Attach them as shown. (see Pictures 6, 7, and 8)

Step 4:
    Cut out and attach the "ribs" to the bottom edge of the boat and the curved side strips of the frame. My particular design included 6 of these "ribs" on each side. (see Pictures 9 and 10)

Step 5:
   Cut one of the full length strips into two thinner pieces; attach these at the front and back of the kayak and secure them about halfway along each of the "ribs". (see Picture 11)

Now you're finished with the frame!

Step 4: Duct Tape!

Picture of Duct Tape!
In order to make the entire "skin" out of duct tape, a minimum of 2 layers are needed. The first layer (as shown in Picture 1) is applied sticky-side-up, with each strip of duct tape overlapping halfway onto the last. Be careful when you are doing corners and angled edges and take your time so that you dont get ugly ripples. Once the first layer is applied, cover it with a second layer of tape (see Picture 4). This time, apply it sticky-side-down.

Additional layers can be added to increase strength and waterproof-ness, but at this point you're finished with the "skin" of the kayak.

Step 5: You're Finished!

Picture of You're Finished!
At this point, you're basically done!

I would recommend taking time to smooth down all the duct tape seams to make sure they are tight and smooth. The last thing you want is water seeping its way into your Duct Tape Kayak!

Good Luck and enjoy skimming through the water in your sleek Duct Tape Kayak!
asarris3 years ago
make 2 of them and add a deck in the middle for a catamaran(i know i misspelled it) I tried it and it works beautifully.

Nah, you totally nailed the spelling. I was thinking build two small floats and a center hull and you could build a sweet trimaran with a mast and sails.

nathandfinn10 months ago

This would be super cool done with clear packing tape. Probably need a couple more layers though.

Kris T.1 year ago

2nd photo made me think of a water-residing version of Pyramid Head!

That aside, the kayak turned out well. I wouldn't mind trying this out myself this summer, if I have time.

Al384 years ago
Great Idea! But where did you find those cedar strips for 90 cents?
try the out of the way wood shops. or bartering 4 them. or make them from thicker parts.???
cfickle Al384 years ago
Yeah omg! I just went to the most common hardware shop here and they were over $4 -$5!!
ineverfinishanyth (author)  Al384 years ago
home depot of course! :)
sbergheger3 years ago
nice kayak,would be interested in making one.but is there any mesurments on the cedar strips that you would be interested in shareing.......
I'm thinking of building a sleeker touring modle of you design with PVC call it a brain fart but... A couple specs and a scale would be nice
Yep could really do with some measurements if anyone has any!
So do you have any measurements for this? Its a bit hard to plan this out with only 8 foot lengths of cedar strips to go on! What is the length of the bottom and the uprights at either end?
rimfire132 years ago
Very cool I worked at a boy scout summer camp where we, the aquatics staff, built one of these. The only problem was launching without tipping, as without a flat bottom it is very difficult to keep stable until you are in it, and then it is still easy to fall out, very nice inststructable though.
Hippymike963 years ago
its a cool kayak, but could you make it with less wood?
FrozenIce3 years ago
didnt the mythbusters make smthn similar? cool either way
meddler3 years ago
I wonder if you could have it sprayed with that rhino truck liner stuff??
Karletto5554 years ago
so what are the results? Does it start to leak on first wave or... ?
chicopluma4 years ago
the duct tape monster looks like piramid head from silent hill hahaha
but does it float on the water even with people in it, it doesn`t become a litle unstable?
nice& quick weekend project. As an improvement, you could cut out 3 frames to give it more canoe shape. Rounder bilges improves the carrying capacity, so you could actually use your canoe and post some pictures of that event here :)
mman15064 years ago
I'm going to buy parts tomorrow and build one, It looks awesome.
Just wondering how much does it weigh and how is it in the water?
biggybilly4 years ago
Looks like fun! However, is Gorilla glue waterproof?
yes, it is
Gaspar1234 years ago
haha nice and interesting invention. cool kayak monster.. I want one too haha!!
Great instructable. I think I might have to try this.
I must also say you have an awesome username.
this is awesome but doesit float ;)
See: last photo.
iectyx3c4 years ago
Awe-inspiring. Gets my vote.
susanrm4 years ago
Ohmigosh. I love it. I may combine some of your kayak ideas with the other one on here. Finally, a boat solution for me!!!
splazem4 years ago
This looks so amazing and sleek. I love the picture with the dog! I will definitely building one of these! Great work!
Kiteman4 years ago
This looks really good, but we absolutively, positutely, need a photo of it in use.

splazem Kiteman4 years ago
I think you mixed up a couple of words there, Kiteman.

And in response to the Kayak itself, it looks great!
Kiteman splazem4 years ago
It's a line from an old parcel-delivery advert...

THis kayak is wonderful and surprisingly elegant for anything duct tape!