Introduction: Duct Tape Kayak

About: A mechanical engineering graduate-turned software product manager. But there will always be a special place in my heart for making.

After watching the Mythbusters episode on Duct Tape Myths, I decided to take a whack at creating my own duct tape boat. Rather than the two-man sailboat that Jamie and Adam designed, I went for a much slimmer one-man kayak. Only $20 of supplies and a day or two of work; this Kayak makes for a great weekend summer project!

Step 1: Materials

All that you need in the way of materials are some duct tape rolls, a little bit of wood glue, and wood for the frame. For the sake of simplicity and cheapness, I bought a good number of 3/16"x1-3/8"x8' cedar strips to make my frame. At about 90 cents apiece, they were the perfect option.

My materials list came out to this:

Three 55 yard rols of duct tape
8 cedar strips
1 bottle of gorilla wood glue

Altogether less than 20$.

Step 2: Design

As shown in the picture, the basic design consists of two full-length curved sides, a "hull" piece that follows along the bottom edge of the boat, and reinforcing "ribs" that provide the majority of the strength in the frame.

Once the frame is made, the "skin" of the boat -which consists of two layers of duct tape- stretches across the frame.

Step 3: Frame

There are 5 steps in the creation of the frame:

Step 1:
     Using 2 angled brace strips, bend the edge pieces and clamp them into place. Glue the seams between the braces and the edge pieces. (see Pictures 1 and 2)

Step 2:
    The "hull" piece consists of two angled pieces held between two straight strips. Once glued and attached, this piece constitutes the bottom edge of the kayak. (see Pictures 3, 4, and 5)

Step 3:
    As shown in Picture 6, cut out the vertical brace pieces that connect the horizontal braces in Step 1 to the "hull" piece in Step 2. Attach them as shown. (see Pictures 6, 7, and 8)

Step 4:
    Cut out and attach the "ribs" to the bottom edge of the boat and the curved side strips of the frame. My particular design included 6 of these "ribs" on each side. (see Pictures 9 and 10)

Step 5:
   Cut one of the full length strips into two thinner pieces; attach these at the front and back of the kayak and secure them about halfway along each of the "ribs". (see Picture 11)

Now you're finished with the frame!

Step 4: Duct Tape!

In order to make the entire "skin" out of duct tape, a minimum of 2 layers are needed. The first layer (as shown in Picture 1) is applied sticky-side-up, with each strip of duct tape overlapping halfway onto the last. Be careful when you are doing corners and angled edges and take your time so that you dont get ugly ripples. Once the first layer is applied, cover it with a second layer of tape (see Picture 4). This time, apply it sticky-side-down.

Additional layers can be added to increase strength and waterproof-ness, but at this point you're finished with the "skin" of the kayak.

Step 5: You're Finished!

At this point, you're basically done!

I would recommend taking time to smooth down all the duct tape seams to make sure they are tight and smooth. The last thing you want is water seeping its way into your Duct Tape Kayak!

Good Luck and enjoy skimming through the water in your sleek Duct Tape Kayak!

The Great Outdoors Duct Tape Contest

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The Great Outdoors Duct Tape Contest