Introduction: Pvc Kayak

First it was the PVC marshmallow gun, then it was the willow tree kayak then came the PVC Kayak. I was inspired by the first two projects and they happily came together. I used {10} PVC pipes (1/2in) each 10ft long from Home depot, {28} 45 degree elbows, {2} rolls of duct tape, {1} 11' by 15' tarp, and {4} tarp clamps for a total price of $60 at Home depot.

Step 1: Outer Ribs X 3

I used {2} 1/2" PVC pipes that were 10 foot long. I tried the 90 degree elbows first but the plastic was cracking, so I went to 45 degree elbows with a 5 in spacer. This worked great. I made a total of three outer ribs.

Step 2: Inner Ribs X2

The inner ribs each were made of {8} 45 degree elbows, {2} 28in pvc peices, {6} 5in pvc peices. I measured this off of the height of me sitting down to my armpit. (after my first trial this was still too high so maybe 3in peices would work better).

Step 3: Attatching Inner and Outer Ribs

I attached the ribs about 42" from each end. I used a figure eight roll with the duct tape to make it secure. I attached the outer rib at the lowest edge of the lowest elbow. I did this with both inner ribs. I also taped all of the joints because they seemed to fall out when ever they felt like it. (didn't think this was a good idea in the water.)

Step 4: Attaching the 2nd and 3rd Outer Ribs

Basically the same step as the first rib. I attached the second rib to the third highest elbow's highest edge, and the third outer rib to the very highest elbow's highest edge. As I placed the second rib on to the frame I duct taped the tips together a little to allow for flex as I continued shaping it, then did the same as I added the third outer rib. The last step of the frame I duct taped the two ends to protect the tarp and to help give it shape.

Step 5: Adding the Skin

I used a 11' x 15' blue tarp for the skin. This was kinda tricky, I didn't know how to wrap the darn thing. This isn't anything new you should see my Christmas gift wrappings. I placed the frame long ways with the longest part of the tarp, then folded the ends in. I used a little duct tape to secure it to the frame. Then I diagonally folded the sides in on the front secured them with duct tape then did the back the same. I pulled the extra tarp under the inside frame and used some nylon line through the eye holes to tighten up the skin, I dont know if it helped but made it look sharper. To keep with the Hillbilly look, I made a paddle with a 7' pvc pipe and two paddle shaped peices of wood, secured with some metal brackets.

Step 6: Sailing Away

Worked like a charm. It was very strong (shown by the two times it flipped out of the back of my truck on to the road on the way to the lake) and light. The times it hit the road made some holes in the tarp which I fixed with some duct tape just prior to launching. I think I will add a peice of plywood and a coushin to raise my butt up a little to make it easier to row.


pfred1 made it! (author)2006-11-12

What can't duck tape do?

mwwdesign made it! (author)mwwdesign2008-09-02

Is it used for sticking ducks together? Or maybe u mean 'duct' tape...

grut125 made it! (author)grut1252008-09-16

that is the same thing

mwwdesign made it! (author)mwwdesign2008-09-16

Well it isn't called 'duck tape'. Or don't you know that either?

hellokeller made it! (author)hellokeller2008-09-17

ok so it is both Duck tape and Duct tape.

mwwdesign made it! (author)mwwdesign2008-09-17

No it's not, that's incorrect also... The tape was created for use on DUCTS. Why the hell would it be called 'duck tape'? Think about it. Anyone who says 'duck tape' or even puts it on the label is seriously misguided and ignorant. Sorry, FAIL.


it's was originally created to repair a military vehicle called a D.U.C.K and service members started using it on other things and it soon became a civilian product ducts men used ofter

lukish made it! (author)lukish2012-08-18

Calm down everyone!! It's just the brand name.

TheCaptain made it! (author)TheCaptain2008-10-05

In WWII, marine macanics were given a standard issue tape almost exactly like modern duct tape. It was used to repare the floaters on those amphibious vehicles that had the balloon-like sacks to float. They were called "Ducks", thus the term "Duck tape" was coined. When the men got home, many just carried the name over. Considering that this IS a floating project, I think "duck tape" is more appropriate. Also, "Duck tape" as used in the above picture is a brand name that is oviously a play off of said widely used term. It's not ignorant, it's marketing.

mwwdesign made it! (author)mwwdesign2008-10-06

Your spelling says you have no credibility here... Look it up on Wikipedia... Some people suggest such a thing as'duck tape' but 'no written evidence supporting the WWII story.[16] Some proponents of this view accept the idea that there was an earlier non-adhesive "duck tape", but claim that people have just confused the similar pronunciation of two similar but unrelated products through the process of elision, and that the rest of the "duck" etymology is folklore or fabrication.' 'Mechanic' and 'repair' are pretty simple words to spell... And for the record, I'm pretty sure I understand marketing - being a partner in an ad agency. :)

TheCaptain made it! (author)TheCaptain2008-10-07

All spelling is difficult at 4am (the timestamp lies to me...) If you want to talk about discredible sources, I wouldn't be using wikipedia in an argument, as half the information on it is false or skewed. Of course there is no written evidence, it was slang and therefore it can't be expected to have evidence. Also, I know the above is correct as my great uncle was IN WWII in the navy. He told me the story himself when I asked him why he would call the stuff duck tape. Besides, I'm pretty sure that the article just restates part of what I say in my above argument. The term is just a case of mistaken identity. Nice line of work, by the way. :)

mwwdesign made it! (author)mwwdesign2008-10-07

Haha, ok - let's call it Dark Tape from now on - see how many people catch on to that. I heard they use a black version in SAS night operations to stop reflections on shiny weapons. (I am making this up). It's a cool industry, but has its ups and downs - we call it 'champagne and suicide'...

WoundedEgo made it! (author)WoundedEgo2011-06-26

I read that it was called "Duck" tape because the original tape was waterproof - like a duck.

rcflyeriam made it! (author)rcflyeriam2009-06-08

I think the proper name for the "floating truck" is DUKW. According to the Wikipedia, this is what it says: The DUKW (popularly pronounced "duck") is a six-wheel-drive amphibious truck that was designed by General Motors Corporation during World War II for transporting goods and troops over land and water and for use approaching and crossing beaches in amphibious attacks.

mman1506 made it! (author)mman15062009-01-19

actually it was orignally called duck tape and 2 peices stuck together can tow a car and later it wads changed to duct but is rated the worst thing for ducts

motleyjust made it! (author)motleyjust2011-06-26

You can't use it to hold mufflers on, It melts, That's why you need bailing wire.
Unfortunately most bailers now use plastic twine, so bailing wire is a lot harder to come by.

aaronjehall made it! (author)aaronjehall2011-06-26

I use coat hangers. Of course metal coat hangers are going extinct also.

freeza36 made it! (author)freeza362013-01-18

They really are...

jarikcbol made it! (author)jarikcbol2012-12-13

That is what foil Ducting Tape is for. (specialized Duck Tape)

muffin1 made it! (author)muffin12008-09-05

its duct tape

Halphinian made it! (author)2014-01-21

Do you use this often? It doesn't look very durable to me (I've seen everything when it comes to boating; a few examples include a brand-new canoe breaking in half when feeling the wrath of an enraged alligator and my kayak catching on fire while I was in it on the water), so I just need some reassurance

IanTrek made it! (author)2013-06-14

When I made it, I used 12x 10ft 1/2 PVC pipes, the extra two for the ribs and spacing. I used gorilla and some kind of PVC tape, both waterproof. For the ribs I made it 30" and 6". It held pretty good too, and it was big enough to sleep in it, and since I had nothing under it, it was like a water bed. The tarp was waterproof, and only filled with water because it was splashed in, and when we tried to drain it, it scraped against the side of the pool, causing rips and leaks. Also I added a mast to it and one sail, so this caused it to have the rib I attached it to to be at an angle, causing the whole thing to bend. I recommend you use PVC cement to keep the frame together, and I think it will be best to find a way to connect the PVC pipes together besides figure eight taping it, it didn't work well for me, my second attempt will try to connect the inner/outer ribs with elbows instead of tape. This is all my opinion. Great way to spend your summer (even though it took about a day)

SIRJAMES09 made it! (author)SIRJAMES092014-01-03

you can find all sorts of PVC fittings here:

Now, these are NOT your normal pipe fittings...these are some(for lack of a better description) wacky looking fittings...but the are furniture grade fitting(or so the website says).

There is also a link to different PVC, bicycles, sheds, greenhouses, etc.

I don't know if this will help but I hope it does...


cknaak made it! (author)2013-08-20

Interesting. Two things: Life Jackets and PVC Glue would improve it.
Also, wet, thin cotton stretched on the frame will shrink when dry, then paint with polyurethane.

SIRJAMES09 made it! (author)SIRJAMES092014-01-03

Good Idea!!
just 1 thing I do not understand....

How do you attach the cotton fabric to the frame? do you sew it on? Glue it on? what?

I know once you paint it with Polyurethane, you would have 1 heck of a cool looking boat...

SIRJAMES09 made it! (author)2014-01-03

Cool Idea!! :)
gives me plenty of ideas for a boat of my own...

Granted, I'm not an educated man, but would it not have been easier to use PVC glue to hold the joints together? and better looking as well?

Like I said, I am not an educated man...

Also, you used a tarp for the skin....that's all fine & dandy, but using fibreglass for the skin would most likely made it stronger & helped to hold it together better...but that's just my uneducated opinion....

LiftAndLove made it! (author)2013-01-15

Just an idea, but could you use duct tape to make the skin? would likely take a few layer, but maybe using gorilla duct tape? I think itd look better and be more reliable and water tight :)

abaddon.abyss made it! (author)2012-12-27

In Britain its Known (colloquially) as "Gaffer tape".

Toga_Dan made it! (author)2012-12-15

Back to the BOAT, the subject of this IBLE!!!!!

How well does the tarp hold water out?

hedgesci made it! (author)2012-12-13

duck tape is actually the original name for what we call duct tape now. it was first used and made popular by the navy in the early-mid 1900's. they called it duck tape because it held against water very good. the army calls it 100 mile per hour tape.

CapnChkn made it! (author)CapnChkn2012-12-15

Almost true!

The Navy used "duck tape" in the early 1900's to tape ducks together for covert operations. This was where the term, "Getting your ducks in a row" comes from. "Row" is pronounced like "Ow." Somewhere the term was misread and it just stuck (Pun unintended...)

Ludwig Von Mech made it! (author)2011-10-16

Lifejackets, people! Please! Especially with a project that looks like this.

marxdarx made it! (author)2011-06-27

Ah Ha! I KNEW it was done with child labour!

lol Just kidding! :P

Great 'ibble! I may try this once I move closer to a lake community.

dark0one made it! (author)2011-06-04

wow duct tape master! i would think you could make it much more sturdier and durable with PVC joint and connecttions! was just just a fun project??

siafulinux made it! (author)2011-03-17

I'm thinking that this could be made into a "portable" version since it's just PVC and tarp... maybe make a bunch of equal sized pieces (couple of feet ea) and use small bolts and a "coupling" to connect them together into longer pieces and then finally into the shape above.

For the tarp, I'm wondering if a strong glue like Shoo Goo would do the job of "welding" the tarp together into a predefined and cut shape so it fits neater? Then just tie it down onto the frame at the top around the edges? The PVC frame would obviously need nodes on top for "tie downs".

To package, the pieces could be wrapped into the tarp and strapped down into a bundle for the trunk?

Any suggestions?

bryandhispup made it! (author)2011-01-24

ok maybe I am the only one... but I haven't seen any question as to why 4 way and T joins were not used with PVC glue instead of Duck/Duct/Dark tape... Dry fit everything and measure twice cut once an there is no question it would hold up better and longer. you may also consider reducing it's overall size to cure the steering issues. Lastly I have to agree that there may be better skins than the good ole' blue tarp. Great leaping off point though, a good idea only to be improved on by a community of DIYers like all of us! Happy Sailing!

Just a Hack made it! (author)2010-11-03

Ok, I'm going to try this and send pics or make it a separate instructable. I think I might make the back more square/wide, with 90 degree angles for the ribs in the back. Kind of like a hybrid of the "PVC Johnboat" and the "PVC Kayak." Your design in the front, wider in the back. I'm sort of a "husky" lad and I may need a bit more stability in mine. Also, I'm trying to decide: Duct tape skin, tarp, or both?

McGyver2 made it! (author)2010-10-01

This is just a suggestion for the skin, but couldn't you jut do a Duct Tape skin instead? I imagine it would be a bit more taught and look a little cleaner. Again, just a suggestion.

bikehack made it! (author)2009-11-22

did you use pvc cement to attach the pipes together or just duct tape ?

mman1506 made it! (author)mman15062010-09-08

i was wondering that too

pagosapig made it! (author)2010-08-25

That's pretty awesome!

rowerwet made it! (author)2010-04-05

another easy way to make a paddle, take a 1"x6" board as tall as you and cut 2 inches off of each side in the middle, leaving the ends full 6" wide for the first foot,  to make a flattened paddle shape. wrap duck tape or sand the shaft where you grab it to save your hands.

rowerwet made it! (author)2010-04-05

tyvek home wrap from the hardware store would also make a good skin, I had a friend who made a similar type of kayak out of 2x4 scraps (weighed a ton) and skinned it with tyvek. it worked very well and was tougher than a tarp. the trick with directional control is to have a skeg or fin shape to the stern to help with tracking while paddeling. or just mount a fixed rudder that clamps to the stern.
Have you looked into bending PVC with heat instead of using connectors? it would make for stronger joints

jlensher made it! (author)2010-02-28

I've noticed on a couple of your designs that you've used tarp and duct tape to form the skin. Have you considered other options? I was thinking about cling film - you can buy it in large industrial rolls, and could wrap several layers around the frame. It would certainly improve your drag in the water.

Monkeyboy13 made it! (author)2009-10-31

how hard is it to  step into the boat? what are you sitting on in the picture? just the tarp?

Monkeyboy13 made it! (author)Monkeyboy132009-10-31

I just got finished building my own PVC kayak. I used 1 inch thickwall PVC though. Very strong. Thanks for the detailed plans!

seabeepirate made it! (author)2009-06-11

This is very clever, but all of my tarps are FULL of holes... it just makes it hard for me to trust the blue tarp haha. Maybe for future kayaks, you could use black rubberized roofing instead of the tarp, for added durability.

brian250 made it! (author)2009-01-09

If it moves use duct tape if it dont use WD40

Yerboogieman made it! (author)Yerboogieman2009-05-06

A person can get all his chores done with three tools, duct tape, WD-40, and lock pliers

stoopynoonoo made it! (author)2008-12-20

whoa. great idea! someone should look into making a pvc guide considering there are tons of pvc 'ibles...

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