Construction Folding Boats From Polypropylene Sheet




I have already had experience in building boats "Skif" of wood. As a result of its use, I wanted to make the boat as light in weight and with the possibility of storage under the bed or under the wall in the garage.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1:

Bring to your attention the process of building a folding boat made of polypropylene own design. The boat was conceived light, compact, reliable - stability, maneuverability and ample. I sailed on a boat over 300km and is fully satisfied with the result! Boat weight about 40kg in the assembled form. Board height 50cm, width 1.20 m, length 3,75m. Transported on a car roof. Very stability. Under the motor 3.5 hp with 4 people on board is 10km / h, with one person speed of 12km / h. Going on shore in 9 minutes.

When folded, the boat is a flat pack size 4 * 0.60 * 0.05 meters. Paddles and fin fit inside, sitting separately.

Step 2:

To build the boats need 4 pieces of 5 mm thick polypropylene. I chose 4m long sheets of them to get a boat length of 3,8 m.

First marked out the pattern on the sheet and cut out using a jigsaw. Next, using the manual milling machine cut grooves along the edges of the sheet to be able to bend side and bottom that allows you to fold the boat. Milling depth of 0.3 mm slot width 5mm.

Further, the sides and the bottom are connected by means of bolts and nuts. Between the sheets used sealant. Assembly of the half boat check for leaks, collect water inside. Leak should not be. Next, connect the two halves of the boat and check for leaks again.

Step 3:

In the boat has three seats. It can is 4 people. Aft transom mounted to the motor. The seats are attached to the sides of the bolts. Under the seats installed units buoyancy foam. Under the seats and floating keel blocks is inserted to enhance rigidity.

Step 4:

General view of the patterns represented on the photo. Good luck!

Step 5:

And now the boat with steering and remote control gas and reverse.


Step 6:

Files with the plan board, and the bottom of the seat.

New video

Step 7:

Formlabs Contest

Participated in the
Formlabs Contest



    • Make It Fly Challenge

      Make It Fly Challenge
    • Stone Concrete and Cement Contest

      Stone Concrete and Cement Contest
    • Indoor Lighting Contest

      Indoor Lighting Contest

    32 Discussions


    2 months ago

    I love the idea of this boat! I was wondering if anyone in the United States has built this boat? If so where did you source the polypropylene sheet? Also do you have the plans with dimensions in inches. Thanks in advance!


    8 months ago on Step 5

    Previously I assumed this was to be stored flat and I pondered use of 1/4 turn fasteners like Dzus. I included a link with details.

    Now I understand this is not stored flat and ponder using pop rivets for less


    8 months ago

    Great project. I was having trouble figuring out the joint until I read ALL the details. Since you want to store this in winter, are you unbolting everything? Are there any 1/4 turn fasteners that would save assembly/disassembly time?

    2 replies

    Reply 8 months ago

    Hello, glad that you liked my work)
    I keep the boat assembled as there is a place in the garage. Prior to that, at the end of the season, he disassembled it and stored it in folded form.
    What did you mean - quick build 3/4 turn? Is it about the seat assembly? Did not think about it. Perhaps there is a solution ... Where are you from?


    1 year ago


    I looks really nice, great job. I was searching for detailed drawings how porta bote was made, however when I saw your work, I really liked it. I plan to build, or at least try to do it with 3 meters long PP sheets (not sure how much load will be able to take then, but we will see). I will share the result later :D In case it is convenient, I would like to ask you to share the dimensions you used when doing the curves, so I could avoid wrinkles. last but not least thanks for sharing your idea.

    Thanks in advance.

    I wish you great day ahead!

    2 replies

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you for your interest in my work!

    I'll be glad to help.

    Let me know the email address and I'll send you the blueprints.

    Where are you from?

    I would make a 4m boat. Better more than less!


    Reply 1 year ago

    Hi again,

    My mail is I am from Bulgaria, Sofia. This night I was thinking the same better more than less, so I will try to find sheets with 4m length. So far I have found 3,00x1,50m, but I will search for longer ones.


    Have a great day!


    Question 1 year ago on Step 6

    Where and how did you apply the silicone sealant? Is it just on the seams inside the boat?

    1 answer

    Reply 1 year ago

    Sorry did not see the comment. I used silicone only at the seams.


    Answer 1 year ago


    Thank you for appreciating my work :)

    a) What nuts and bolts did you use? galvanized bolts M5 length 18mm

    b) How many of the eddas you scored? looks like an inch? - I do not remember exactly, about 350 pieces, after 15 mm.

    c) Why are there 2 bars on the back? - I did not understand the question?

    d) Have you used a special type of sealant or will you do it? (I hope to do this for fishing). - a common silicone sealant for bathtubs.

    e) Is the boat suitable for fishing and salt water? - Yes

    f) How much cargo can a boat, such as a hold - 300kg

    g) What kind of material is foam under the seats? - polystyrene for insulation, polystyrene

    h) Can you use the boat in heavy waves of bad oceans? - for large waves, I would increase the height in the bow. If you swim alone, then the risk of pouring a wave through your nose - no. But if the boat is loaded - I would increase the height. It is necessary to increase the curvature of the lines and the nose will rise. Try on a carton model in scale 1:10

    I) Do you have pdf? I called, but they do not seem to sell 4 million sheets here in the UK. Max, which I can get, is 3 meters. I'll have to do it less, but I can not wait to do it.

    I have a DXF and a JPG file.

    Look for a polypropylene sheet in rolls. It is used for the construction of pools and reservoirs for water, sewage. If in Ukraine there are 2 * 4 m in the UK for sure :) It is better to make a boat with a length of 4 m, especially since you want to use it in the sea.

    Write to me on the mail:


    Question 1 year ago

    Love your project and I'm very keen to making one myself.

    I would like to ask you:

    a) What kind of nuts and bolts did you use?

    b) How much from the egde of the pieces did you mill in? looks like an inch?

    c) Why are there 2 bars sticking out at the back?

    d) Did you use a special type of sealent or will any do? (I'm hoping to make one for sea fishing.)

    e) Is the boat suitable for sea fishing and salt water?

    f) How much load can a boat like this hold

    g) What kind of material is the foam under the seats?

    h) Can you use the boat in heavy waves bad oceans?

    I) Will you have a pdf? I called around but they don't appear to sell 4m sheets here in the uk. Max I can get is 3meters. Will have to make it smaller but I cannot wait to make this.


    2 years ago

    Wonderful design, thanks, I love it. It is a bit too big for me though, if I make it only 3 meters long, should I keep the other dimensions unchanged, or should I scale them too?

    Also I'm not sure where to find the polypropylene, will keep looking

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you for evaluating my work!
    Yes, you can resize up to 3m.
    Such sheets are on sale.
    Look for the size of 2m by 3m, so there will be no waste when cutting. Polypropylene sheets are used in the construction of pools and reservoirs for water and sanitation.
    Ask them. Where are you from?


    2 years ago

    Nice job bro. I’m Amir and I’m from Malaysia. I just want to ask you
    about the material that used for the hull. I saw that you used PP sheets. What
    if I use HDPE sheets instead of the PP sheets and what’s the pro and cons
    between the two materials for building the folding boats? Glad if you willing
    to share. I can be contacted via WhatsApp +60192644102 or email


    3 years ago

    But, i dont have plans in pdf, vector. I have plans on a paper:(

    I specifically made boats photo pattern with a high position so you can increase them without strong distortions.

    To translate the drawings into electronic form I need time and opportunity to do so.

    And I do not know how to do it efficiently.

    How long do you want to do a boat? What is your name?


    3 years ago

    Please plans in pdf, vector etc. Thanks from Brazil.


    3 years ago

    How did You prevented wrinkles in the process of "folding" the fastening curved edge? (see the attached picture to better understand what i mean)