Introduction: Make a Cardboard Boat

Picture of Make a Cardboard Boat

This is an easy way to create a cardboard boat. Why build a cardboard boat? Well every year races are held at the river, and it's fun. I cannot guarantee that it will float. I typically build "stylish" boats.

Step 1: Gather Materials

Picture of Gather Materials

You will need:
-Water proof Tape (duct tape is best)
-Box Cutter/ Scissors
-Something to draw with
-An idea and necessary decorations
-Paint (optional)

Step 2: Get a Basic Shape

Picture of Get a Basic Shape

It would be better to build the boat in more of a speed boat shape, but since i go the "creative" route, my first two boats were shaped like boxes. This year it was an oval shape so it went a little faster.

Draw out the basic shape, then cut it out.

Step 3: Create the Walls.

Picture of Create the Walls.

Cut cardboard into the height of the walls you want. It is easier to keep the wall in a strip so you don't have to tape them together and risk more leaks.

Line up the walls to the base. If you are going around a curve then mark it. Score the line and fold it so it goes around the curve. Keep doing this until you run out of cardboard and tape it down inside and out.

Tape all the sides on and any walls that need to be taped together.

If the base of your boat is sticking out, cut it off before taping it.

Step 4: Strengthen It.

Picture of Strengthen It.

I normally tape the bottom first. Tape the bottom so no water can get in, also tape the sides a little, you don't have to go up all the way.

Take strips of cardboard that are about 4-5 inches in width and score them in half. Then fold them so they create a 90 degree angle and tape them on the bottom inside of the boat.

To strengthen the sides on the top, get another piece of cardboard the same size as your boat. Cut the cardboard so it has tabs connected to the sides (see picture). Fold tabs around the sides and tape them. Attach with tape to the top of your boat.

Step 5: Decorate It

Picture of Decorate It

If you have more to add to your shape then add it. I created a dome for the head to sit on so it looked more duck like, rather than to put it on the front.

Add tape or paint if you want. I used latex paint because it will be waterproof for a short time.

Step 6: Making a Head.

Picture of Making a Head.

Crumple up news paper

Wrap the crumpled up balls into other sheets of paper and tape them closed. (they are easier to handle that way)

Make as many as you need to get the desired size and tape them together to get the shape you want.

Cover it in tape/ paint to make it look like a head.

Attach to the body with tape.

Step 7: Set Sail

Picture of Set Sail

Go out in your finished boat.

Where a life jacket because if your boat is like my first boat, you will sink.


JohnD370 made it! (author)2016-06-21

Amanda Denson at Holden Beach, NC in April 2016 and at Lake Waccamaw, NC in June 2016. 8 Trophies in two races. Had to build 2 different boats. At Lake Waccamaw the water was rough, but it was fun.

Logang18 (author)2016-05-19

hi guys

FaZeClanLegend (author)2016-05-02

Don't bother reading this article this don't help you with anything i do not suggest this page.

FaZeClan Legend

Xbox live gamertage xxxxx

kyl01 (author)2015-12-11

I like the idea

FaZeClanLegend (author)kyl012016-05-02

Give us a reason why you like this idea huh? Kyl01

JohnD370 (author)2016-03-14

My cardboard races at White Lake and Holden Beach NC

JamesT7 (author)2014-11-12

How long does it take to make?

kyl01 (author)JamesT72015-12-11

Probably a hour or so

chipper35 (author)2010-11-11

I love the comment at the end: (paraphrase)....."you'll probably sink."

Um, if you build a's kinda important that it not least for a few hours!

While I'm not certain, I bet that about two gallons of liquid epoxy would help on this bad boy.

farmerboyk (author)chipper352012-03-27

Actually, if his has the same rules as mine, your only allowed to use Cardboard, tape, and paint. If he has a small stacks, you can use some mechanical parts, but other than that only cardboard tape and paint.

farmerboyk (author)2012-03-27

We have races at the river in my state as well, people come from all different countries just to watch(There's also a little carnival type thing going on called River days, so that helps) and I have won twice against adults in the small stacks race(Which is cardboard boats with bike pedals attached to wheels to propel the boat). My dad won the one I raced in in a raffle and I raced it 3 years, im gonna try and get him to make a new one with me....

poofrabbit (author)2011-04-20

I've made several of these for a contest, it is so much fun! The last two years the same two guys have won, they use the same boat over and over again. Mine look fun, lol but they sink.....and by golly it's really fun seeing how long they will last! Great work!

ycc2106 (author)2009-08-30

Nice idea! Though it is a lot of duct tape. I think you could find a work around w paint or plastic bags, would be cheaper and more eco friendly.

happylue (author)ycc21062009-08-30

Thanks, plastic bags aren't allowed in the races we do :/ only paint, cardboard, and duct tape. It is a lot of tape, i am lucky that i get free defect rolls of tape though

ducktape.mac (author)happylue2010-08-10

:0 oh my god. i would love to get free duck tape!!!!!! where do you get it free? i mean getting free tape would save me around 200-300 dollars a year!!

bounty1012 (author)happylue2009-09-01

rofl how can duct tape be defective?

happylue (author)bounty10122009-09-01

i know right? they just roll the tape unevenly or the thickness is off by like a half inch so its perfectly fine tape, just not good enough to sell apparently

bounty1012 (author)happylue2009-09-01

Yeah I guess people would freak, its like "HEY WTF? THIS ISNT THE RIGHT THICKNESS! THIS ISNT WHAT I PAYED FOR! IM GONNA SUE!" rofl

Dms12444 (author)bounty10122009-11-15

Actually, in the past people have. Ridiculous what people sue for.

bounty1012 (author)Dms124442009-11-15

yea, like the kid who tried to sue Jagex cause he bought gold from a 3rd party. Which is against the rules, then got his account stolen. After this happened his account got banned.

bounty1012 (author)happylue2009-09-01

awesome boat btw.

codongolev (author)happylue2009-08-30

WHERE?!?!?!? I need free duct tape!

bowmaster (author)codongolev2009-08-30

Me too!! WHERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

happylue (author)bowmaster2009-08-31

My dad just works at a tape company that gives away defect rolls

bowmaster (author)happylue2009-09-01


meanbean (author)happylue2009-08-31

I need to get a job there...

thepelton (author)happylue2009-08-31

I don't know about FREE duct tape, but you can get cheap duct tape at It may have some problems, but you get what you pay for.

ducktape.mac (author)ycc21062010-08-10

maybe you could like get strips of aluminum foil and tape it on. it wouldn't be that strong against stick though.

stephenniall (author)2010-03-08

Wow I thought this was a miniature boat! great work ! how do you propel this thing oars?

watermelonhead (author)2009-12-27

Awesome instructable! I'm building a cardboard Japanese Ninja-sled for a contest much like the one you mentioned, and this came as a big help. Thank you!

MrRodrigez (author)2009-10-28

 OMFG did you get that from the adam bots team 245??? I'm on it!

ANDY! (author)2009-09-11

how bigs the boat?

happylue (author)ANDY!2009-09-17

it was about 6-7' x 4' enough to fit 2 people

wenpherd (author)2009-08-31

we have a cardboard boat race at the tn river

mbudde (author)2009-08-30

Was this for a Venitian night also?

happylue (author)mbudde2009-08-30

wow... they screwed up my replies, anyway it was just for the race, but they do give a creativity award.

mbudde (author)2009-08-30

Awesome. I'll have to keep this in mind for next year at the marina. They have these races at the marina. Once for kids, and once for adults. It was a crappy day for the adults race, so it wasn't as funny as it could have been. The idea was that they would build the boat in the morning, then hang around and drink a lot of beer until about four when they would race them.

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