This was a simple, free raft that ended up being surprisingly successful. By now, of course, it is recycled, the jugs gone off to make the next generation of mittens or yo-yos. But it served its purpose as a fun one-day raft on the lake. It took about 30 minutes to construct with on hand materials. I am in the process of building an actual boat, and this was done partly for the practice in instructable-writing, and partly for the fun of it.
There are several other instructables on this site that deal with boats/rafts built from recycled materials, most of which I didn't know about until I posted this instructable. Still, I see no harm in putting this out there.
Step 1: Materials
I had been collecting plastic recyclables for weeks, and so I had more than enough milk jugs to make this. A bit of math told me that around 30 jugs would be enough, but this number, like the entire venture, was inexact. In the end I used 34.
Other than than the plastic milk jugs, there were few parts. Two old broomsticks were used as well as one 4 cm wide, 1 meter long length of PVC pipe.
Zip ties were used to hold everything together. In the end I used 25.
Step 2: Prep the Frame
The PVC pipe was roughly split with the saw. A fine-tooth saw blade will work best for cutting the plastic. Be careful when cutting down the middle, as the PVC had a tendency to crack. One of the broomsticks was divided in half as well.
A small (~.7 cm) hole was drilled at each of the ends of the plastic and wooden segments. Zip ties will go through these holes and connect the segments to each other and to the milk jugs.
Step 3: Add the Jugs
This step is as simple as the others, if a bit more time consuming. 34 jugs were attached in pairs to the segments of plastic and wood. Most were loose, but the holes drilled anchored the jugs at each end.
Step 4: Assemble the Boat
Tie the segments of PVC pipe and broomstick wood together with zip ties. Throw a small inflatable ring and a paddle on top and call it a raft.
Step 5: Sail Away
I sort of jumped on it at first, and to my surprise it floated. Not only that, but I hardly got wet. A lot of people asked about it, and two of the kids were able to ride on it together. I paddled it across the lake and went snorkeling on the other side. I never had any problems with leakage or breakage, and if we had gotten any wind I imagine that the sail could have worked. After a long day, it was disassembled and sailed away to the recycling plant.