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.
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

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.
JamesT78 months ago

How long does it take to make?

chipper354 years ago
I love the comment at the end: (paraphrase)....."you'll probably sink."

Um, if you build a BOAT....it's kinda important that it not sink.........at 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.
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.
farmerboyk3 years ago
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....
poofrabbit4 years ago
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!
ycc21065 years ago
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)  ycc21065 years ago
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
: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!!
rofl how can duct tape be defective?
happylue (author)  bounty10125 years ago
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
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
Actually, in the past people have. Ridiculous what people sue for.
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.
awesome boat btw.
WHERE?!?!?!? I need free duct tape!
Me too!! WHERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
happylue (author)  bowmaster5 years ago
My dad just works at a tape company that gives away defect rolls
I need to get a job there...
I don't know about FREE duct tape, but you can get cheap duct tape at www.sciplus.com. It may have some problems, but you get what you pay for.
maybe you could like get strips of aluminum foil and tape it on. it wouldn't be that strong against stick though.
Wow I thought this was a miniature boat! great work ! how do you propel this thing oars?
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!
MrRodrigez5 years ago
 OMFG did you get that from the adam bots team 245??? I'm on it!
ANDY!5 years ago
how bigs the boat?
happylue (author)  ANDY!5 years ago
it was about 6-7' x 4' enough to fit 2 people
wenpherd5 years ago
we have a cardboard boat race at the tn river
Was this for a Venitian night also?
happylue (author)  LuminousObject5 years ago
wow... they screwed up my replies, anyway it was just for the race, but they do give a creativity award.
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.