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A few years ago I was inspired by a very short video of a man making a small boat from recycled bottles. No matter where I looked, I couldn't come up with any instructions on how to make one of my own, so I had to set out without much guidance. I decided it would make a great dorm project because it was odd, messy, and yet totally inoffensive.

This is a really entertaining way of reclaiming and recycling those pesky plastic beverage bottles that always seem to be lying around, and it always turns a few heads on the lake. As an added bonus, it's recyclable!

The boat I've made resembles an open-topped kayak. It measures approximately 3 x 7.5 feet, and weighs roughly 50 lbs. Because the lids of the bottles are twisted on tightly, they keep the thing afloat, even if it’s swamped with water, so it’s basically self-bailing! It's perfect for flat water, and surprisingly durable, but I wouldn't advise anyone to try even small rapids with it.

Step 1: Materials

You will need just 3 things:

Plastic bottles with lids tightly in place (about 270). I used 20 oz. sports drink bottles because of their size and durable construction.

Adhesive. I used Liquid Nails polyurethane adhesive. I tried to use silicon caulking, but it just wasn't sticky enough for me. I'm sure there are better options.

Caulking gun

<p>HI, I work with plastics, and would recommend E6100 clear uv adhesive for a project like this. It's be much stronger after curing. Great Project! Thanks for sharing it. Tom </p>
<p>I would like to use the string made from stripping out a plastic bottle in combination with my New Era rope making machine to make rope. Is the adhesive you talk about good for attaching the ends of such string together? I've been looking for a solution for this for a long time. </p>
<p>Hi. Icame across a video about four years ago showing how to make a surfboard out of pet bottles. The guy used a small amount of dry ice and water to create positivr pressure in each bottle. Made for more resistance. Hope that's helpful. Great build. I'm starting my own pet SUP board next week and will post (if it comes out all right).</p>
Wow! Now that is a creative solution. That would help a lot when using thinner bottles.
<p>What kind of Liquid Nails did you use? In Lowe's I see Heavy Duty and Extreme Heavy Duty. Extreme Heavy Duty costs more, but should be a bit stronger.</p>
<p>the type I used is listed in the materials section. However, in the top comment Tomazzo, who works with plastics professionally, suggested a different type of adhesive that may be more effective.</p>
<p>I have a kayak my son bought it for my birthday and I love it. My grandson and I take turns on it so when I saw this I had to show him. We are excited about making this project. He and I drink Wal-mart waters and when I found this I stopped taking them in to the recycling center. I am pretty sure we have enough bottles now, but if we don't we will shortly. He doesn't weigh that much so I don't foresee difficulty in it floating. Getting wet, not a problem that is what you expect when you go out boating. I will definitely take pictures when we complete it and post them here so you can see how sharing your project is allowing others enjoyment as well. Thank you. </p>
How long did it take for you to collect enough bottles? I am assuming that you used Gatorade bottles? I love kayaking and really want a kayak. How much did the adhesive cost? I only weigh 98.5 pounds, would I be able to have a young child join me? My little cousin would love to go for a ride with me, and I want to know If it would be safe.
<p>It took me about 6 months to get enough bottles. I collected them from family and friends, the public pool, and the roadside. I also asked the local recycling center for permission to go through their recent dropoffs, and got a decent amount. I did use only gatorade bottles. They were readily available, and have nice thick plastic. I bought a case of the adhesive that cost around $50. Depending on what you choose, it could be a bit more expensive. As mr. tomazzo mentioned, there may be a better adhesive. I weigh about 180 pounds, and the boat keeps me just above the waterline. Keep in mind that water will come through all of the gaps. I would say that you and someone your size or smaller would have no trouble staying afloat. However, you may want to consider making your boat a little longer to accommodate the passenger. Also, please make sure to wear lifejackets!</p>
Ok thanks! An we will. I think I will put an extra layer on the sides so that it won't be as low in the water, my cousin is only 6 so she doesn't weigh to much .
<p>I have an idea. I have a micro camper. 4'x8'x36&quot; very small space. I can't live without a bench to set my things on that makes 2 spaces out of 1. I tried a cot way too large too close to the roof. I tried stacking the best foam mattress it was not enough without a box spring it is not worth it. So I was thinking maybe getting a sheet of plywood using bailing wire to tie the bottles to the plywood. This should make a decent hobo box spring to put 2 layers of memory foam on? I think I will use 20 oz or 16 in the center around the outside use 2 liters that should make a bowl like sleeping quarter. Nothing better than a bed that cradles you.</p>
<p>Honestly I cannot recommend sleeping on anything made of plywood and bailing wire. It would be so uncomfortable, not to mention it would be pretty heavy. Have you looked at folding cots?</p>
<p>You must still be on a sugar high from drinking all of those sports drinks!</p>
<p>I got a lot of them from the local recycling center, and a few more from the public pool! I also picked them up from the roadside and park.</p>
<p>I don't understand how water doesn't leak through the bottom?</p>
<p>It does to an extent- thus the &quot;self-bailing&quot; comment. Thinking of covering the &quot;seat&quot; portion with a cushion covered in waterproof fabric maybe?</p>
<p>You could wrap the outside of the boat in a tarp, or a clear plastic dropcloth.</p>
<p>Would sort of ruin the aesthetics and &quot;cooling&quot; effect though. Someone earlier was worried about getting wet- great plan for them (or use duct tape!)</p>
<p>Exactly. Think about it sort of like a bunch of inner tubes lashed together. A bunch of water sloshes through the big center holes, but because there's air sealed inside the tubes, they don't sink. Same idea with this thing. You'll get wet when you use it, but hey, what did you expect?</p>
<p>I am getting incredibly excited about this! Not sure I will make a kayak- perhaps a tanning platform (I know- shouldn't do that, we can call it a cooling zone!) The application ideas are broad! Many thanks!</p>
Im going to try to make a rowboat version out of this if i can find enough bottles that are durable enough. My family goes through 4 or 5 1 liter setlzer bottles a week but i think those might get crushed easily...
<p>They probably would, but that sort of comes with the territory. Mine is made out of just about the sturdiest bottles around, and they still get squished a bit. Just try to design it so that any weight pushing down on it gets spread over a wider area.</p>
<p>May I suggest that you try filling one or three center lines of bottles with sand to act as an center weight, that will keep the boat upright at all times.</p><p>Myself, I'd use some heavy duty Velcro to make this addition removable, if needs be.</p>
<p>The boat I made is flat on the bottom, so it doesn't rock very much. I've never flipped it over!</p>
<p>very cool! </p><p>you win the award for creativity anyway!:)</p>
<p>Press the sections together tightly with heavy books, weights, or slow-moving relatives and allow to cure.</p><p>hilarious! the slow-moving relatives...</p>
I would think with the grooves in the sports drink bottles that it would make it easy to lash together with a sturdy Marine braided cord or even wire, eliminating the need for glue in as many areas. But also easily removed and also recyclable items
<p>What about Zip-Ties?</p><p>There is not much that can't be fixed with a little help from Zip-Ties and Duct tape :)</p>
<p>You could even use plastic twine cut from plastic bottles. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQeeJEpBYsg</p>
<p>This is pretty much the coolest thing ever :)</p>
Did you fill the spaces between the bottles completely? Or does it still float despite those spaces?
I didn't fill the spaces between the bottles. It floats because all of the lids are screwed on tightly.
I am going to try this to float on our pond!
<p>Awesome Instructable. Congrats on the Win!</p>
<p>Wow, I can hardly believe this own the green design contest! Thank you to everyone that voted and commented!</p>
<p>Nice job!</p>
<p>Buen&iacute;sima la resoluci&oacute;n .!!Tantas cosas se pueden hacer con el mismo sistema . Muebles .........Tiene much&iacute;sima resistencia . Ser&iacute;a bueno usarlo m&aacute;s masivamente como soluci&oacute;n . </p>
<p>Nice job.</p><p>Thank you.</p>
<p>great idea and well explained !!</p>
<p>great idea and well explained !!</p>
<p>I bet this would work in the calmer parts of Lake Pontchartrain, the upper border of New Orleans. It's a nice lake when Katrina isn't dumping it into the city. There is a nice shallow bay in the western end where redfish congregate. This would be great!! Thanks</p>
<p>oh real genius</p>
Would water bottles work?
I looked at water bottles initially, but I decided they were too flimsy for me. They're made using the smallest amount of plastic possible (which is a good thing), making them very thin walled and prone to crushing. I think that you could use them, but the boat wouldn't be as sturdy.
<p>I could care less about the recycling part; I am a proponent of reuse I think the fact that you made a functional boat from empty plastic bottles shows tremendous creativity on your part. I enjoyed seeing you in your bottle boat.</p>
<p>interesting build, it has my imagineering working overtime. how did the gorilla glue hold up? Since I'm unable to paddle due to injuries and I'm not too interested in getting wet I'm thinking maybe a trimaran type hull with a small electric motor or 2 </p>
<p>The liquid nails have been holding well. The boat is about 2 years old now.</p>
<p>smh... Ive had several gorilla glue projects on my mind lately, I'll just chalk the misstatement up to that....</p>
<p>Here's another take on this:</p><p>http://ikkatsuproject.org/projects/message-in-a-plastic-bottle/</p>
<p>I would love to do that with this boat!</p>

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