Introduction: Cardboard and Duct Tape Boat


  • 2 bike boxes
  • box cutter
  • lots of duct tape (we used 7 rolls)
  • Gorilla Glue
  • Semi or High Gloss exterior paint (for base color and decoration)
  • paint brushes
  • tape measure
  • markers
  • scale (for determining the passenger and boat's mass to then find the density of it all)

Step 1: Create an Outline

The dimensions of our boat came out to being a length of 75.5 inches, width of 30 in and height of 12 in.

Step 2: Lay the Boxes Out Flat

For our entire boat we used about 2 1/2 average sized bike boxes that we laid out flat.

Step 3: Cut Out the Outline and Fold the Sides Up

To create your walls and overall boat more sturdy, double each side with another piece of cardboard. We highly suggest this because it prevents flimsy walls that might allow water into the boat.

Step 4: Glue and Tape the Edges Together

Make sure to allow the glue to dry before taping. Also, we suggest using a waterproof glue to ensure that the boat doesn't come apart when it goes into the water and it builds it's durability (we used the original Gorilla Glue)

Step 5: Tape the Entire Boat

Tape the inside and outside of the boat. Apply multiple layers and overlap/crisscross the tape and make sure no cardboard is exposed. (We used about 7 rolls of duct tape).

Step 6: Paint the Outside With a Base Color

We painted only the outside of the boat and we used a high-gloss exterior paint because it seemed to be the most waterproof and won't come off when we put it into the pool. Be prepared to put away several hours for the paint to dry before decorating.

Step 7: Decorate

Step 8: Test Your Boat

Our boat successfully went across the whole length of the pool with ease. Our boat proved to being durable and no signs of holes or leakage. We also tested the boat with both of us in it and it held up perfectly. The density of our boat and our passengers in it came out to being .85 g/cm^3. As you can tell by the video, the only difficulty was having to paddle against the current due to a windy day. While testing your boat, we suggest to sit in the middle of the boat to try to equal the pressure and lean forward while paddling. If you decide to follow our procedure, we wish you happy boat building and good luck, you'll do great!