Need a boat? Make one today!
This is the only plan where you can buy everything from Michael's (no, I'm not getting paid to endorse them) and spend less than $30 for a boat.
What you'll need:
-Popsicle Sticks (I used two 1,000 count boxes)
-Tacky glue (any glue really, but Tacky is the best for Popsicle stick projects)
-Metal/Wood Clamps (The metal clamps will become part of the boat in the final step)
Full Disclosure: My boat floated wonderfully! However, the way I built it did not give it enough strength to hold my weight. You can read more in the final step; however, in step one I explain how to build your boat more effectively than I did.
Step 1: Creating Your Base Frame
Using Popsicle sticks and glue, create a line as shown in the picture. This Popsicle Stick line should be roughly five feet long when you are done.
Make two five foot Popsicle Stick lines that you will glue onto the top triangle, so that they come down like those in the picture.
Then start gluing on sticks to give your frame more strength. When you are finished and the glue is dry, you should be able to lift the frame from any stick.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Since writing this Instructable, I have discovered (see bottom of this Instructable) that the base layer I created is not strong enough to support the weight of an adult. If you are serious about using this as a boat, double/triple up on the layering in the base. Make it strong enough to be able to hold your weight. If you put in the time now to build up enough strength in your base, your boat will work.
Step 2: Wood Strips
Here is a repetitive step. You'll want to make 40 5-foot wood sticks from your Popsicle Sticks. This is where your metal/wood clips will save you a lot of time!
Don't worry if your sticks aren't perfectly straight!
Step 3: Build Up Walls
Be patient with this step. It is hard to give specific instructions here as you will have to build up the walls in whatever way you can. You are fighting gravity here which can make things difficult. What I decided to do is layer a lot of sticks on the bottommost rows in order to give the strength needed to support the higher layers.
I also put a few of the 5-foot sticks into the bottom structure, to give it added support.
Step 4: Paper Mache
For my Paper Mache, I used a novel I love (The Idiot), and a 50/50 tacky glue and water mix.
Paper Mache both the inside and the outside of your boat. Additionally, I'd recommend multiple, multiple Paper Mache layers until you feel your boat is strong enough for rowing.
You can definitely paint the Paper Mache when it is dry. The possibilities are endless!
Step 5: Waterproof and Plastic Wrap
This step is simple:
1) Paint the whole boat in waterproofing sealant. I bought mine from Michaels for $6. Work in a well ventilated area!!
2) Buy plastic wrapping (I got mine from Target for $5) and wrap your boat. Just wrap, wrap and wrap. Use scissors and cut the plastic wrap that extends over the body of the boat. Roll up all the excess plastic wrap and secure in place along the perimeter of the top of the boat walls. I used my metal clips and it worked great!
So, that's it! It's time for the big test!
Video of me testing my boat to follow!
Step 6: Testing and Lessons Learned
The good news: The boat floats great! In the attached video, you can see my boat in my local pool, floating easily. I had no water entry, no leaks and no imbalance. If I wanted my boat to simply just float, this would have been perfect!
The bad news: I didn't just want my boat to float. I wanted to ride in it; prove its worth as a real boat. Alas, the base frame did not support my weight as I attempted to put my whole weight in it. The boat held well when I had one leg in, which makes me believe that it can safely support at least forty pounds, but once I put my second foot in, the bottom snapped and the whole boat flooded. I unfortunately don't have a video of this epic event, but I do have a picture of the wet, destroyed boat.
Lesson learned: I was close. Two or three more layers of Popsicle Sticks on the bottom of this boat would have gotten me to where I wanted to be. And yes, I know there are easier ways to build a boat. And yes, I know there are smarter ways to build stronger boats. I know all of that. I wanted to build a Popsicle Stick boat. I did. It didn't float me, but a second version will and I can stand tall knowing I have the only Instructable on how to build a boat with Popsicle Sticks.