Introduction: Duct Tape Pirate Ship
Yes that's right, this ship is entirely made out of duct tape! It has taken over 930 yards of tape to make! This instructable will show you how to make your own if you are up to an extreme project. I am around 270 hours into it spread over a year and 3 months. The ship is called The Quackin, it took a whole lot of "duck" to make it. If you like it please share it!
Step 1: Duct Tape Rods
In this step we need to cover how to make the "Rods" because without this knowledge this ship wouldn't be possible.
below is the link for the you tube video I made called " how to make a duct tape rod"
Descriptions, a "Standard" rod only uses two strips of duct tape torn to any length. Beyond standard rods I'll specify how many strips I used to beef it up, such as "three 6 strip rods" .
Step 2: Duct Tape Sheets
We also need to know how to make "sheets" of duct tape. The sheets make up the skin, deck, sails, and more.
The sheets are made the same way, the thing different is the thickness. The hull uses long rectangle sheets that are 5 layers thick. The ropes are also long one wide sheets cut to width with an exacto knife.
To make the sheet, start with a strip of duct tape and lay it sticky side up. Grab another strip to cover half of the previous piece, then grab another strip to cover the other half. Now flip over the whole piece and cover the sticky sides till you get your desired width, then fold over the edges.
I also made a you tube video called "duct tape sheet"
Step 3: Taping It Down.
The last and equally important step is how to tape it together without it falling apart. Over the course of building this ship my techniques changed alot. You will notice it in the pictures, and to cut down the steps I will show the ways I now use to join pieces together. That way I can keep it brief in the following steps.
Here is the you tube video called "duct tape connections"
I use an exacto knife to cut small strips of duct tape.
Step 4: Hull Segments
All together you need 10 of these bulkheads.
Each of the full size hull segments uses:
3, 10 inch rods (6 strip)
1, 8 inch standard rod
1, 8.25 inch standard rod
1, 6 inch standard rod
2, 4.5 inch rods
Connect (2) 10 inch 6 strip rods end to end. Bend it into a big "U" shape, using both hands really bend the duct tape rod in one direction. Next attach the "U" piece to the remaining 10 inch rod, I used 3 pieces of duct tape on each side.
With the 8.25 inch standard rod, place it in center and tape it down on each end. The last photos show what happens after a month if you don't wrap it in tape.
The 8 inch rods will be attached horizontal on it about 2.5 inches from the top. When I did it I wasn't paying too much attention to how far down I was placing it, in hind sight I would have made them all perfectly identical to make assembly a little bit easier.
The six inch rod will be attached horizontal to the rod above it in like manner. This rod will help keep the bottom shape of the ship.
Step 5: Smaller Hull Segments
The next few bulkheads are made the same way as the main ones are, just decreasing in size to get the nose shape I had wanted. Each decending bulkhead is an inch and a half shorter.
For the next in series, is a 8.5 long 6 strip thick top piece. Two 8.5 rods joined end to end to make the bottom curve. Then I cut another rod to fit the vertical space in the middle. Then two standard rods to fit the horizontal space starting 2 and a half inches down from the top.
The next bulk head is made the same way just using 7 inch rods that are 6 strips thick, and only one horizontal cross support.
The following bulkhead is at 5.5 inches across the top. I was able to make the bottom curving rod at 11 inches to reduce the joints.
Finally I made the single tail end bulkhead at 8 inches across the top but everything else the same.
Step 6: Tip of the Ship
The nose is a 3 inch 6 strip rod, with (2) 6 inch 6 strip rods, and a thick angle piece. Plus 2 standard rods. These rods will want to straighten out, so make sure to wrap them thoroughly.
Step 7: Bulk Head Assembly
Alright we finally got all our bulkheads made! So now to start giving the ship some shape. Start with a couple of bulkheads and standard rods. Space them 3 inches apart on center and tape them down like the pictures show . In hindsight I should have used 3 to 4 strip rods to make it more ridged. I also feel like I made the nose too long and would use less bulkheads if I were to do it again. Make sure to really cross support the hull with standard rods. The nose will start to collapse if it isn't properly supported.
Step 8: The Masts
Okay the masts took me awhile to figure out how to do them right, each one uses 15 yards of gray duct tape and 2 yards of brown.
Start by making standard rods as long as you can, enough to make a yard, in my case 3 rods. Then take a long regular strip of duct tape and lay it sticky side up and put your standard rods end to end on the edge of the sticky side. Here you will need an extra hand to roll the long rod. Now grab another strip sticky side up and place the one long rod on the edge and roll it . Keep adding strips till you get to 15 thick. At 15 strips thick you will start needing 2 strips to go around the diameter. Use 2 brown strips to give it the color you want. Altogether you will need 4 of these giant rods.
The 22ish inch rod will stick out the front, the next 28 inch rod will be the furthest back. The 37 inch rod will go in the middle. Then the last rod will go up front for the mast.
Step 9: Skin It!
But before we skin it we have to mast it! This step is kinda a pain if you have big hands, so remember we spaced the bulkheads at 3 inches? Then loaded the thing up with lots of different cross supports. At least duct tape is kinda forgiving. So I tried many different spots for the masts and settled on this placement. It's hard but you have to duct tape the masts tightly to the bulkheads you choose, then add more supports to those bulkheads.
Step 10: Now We Skin It!
In this step we will skin the nose, bottom half of the ship, and the aft. Each sheet is 4 layers thick plus one brown layer on one side of the sheet. Start attaching the sheet on the bottom of the ship, clipping it as needed. Then the nose piece you can see I made the sheet wider and cut the excess. Wrap around the sheet to the other side and tape it down.
The aft is done in a similar manner. Make the sheet longer the you need, cut as shown to get the back end covered. After I finished the ship I came back and added another thick sheet to the aft to make it easier to duck tape the name on it.
Step 11: Port Holes and Interior Deck
Okay we have another big section to cover, the cannon holes are optional. without them this step will be a lot easier.
Since I wanted cannons ( I made an instructable on them) I needed a platform for them to sit on. I started with standard rods about 12 inches long and spaced them 2.5 inches apart. Then cut standard rods to fit the space in between the 2 long ones, and taped them altogether. Then I made a sheet 2 layers thick and cut it to fit the frame I made. then put it in the ship on the bulkheads horizontal supports and taped them down. I had to build several of these platforms to accommodate the amount cannons I wanted.
Now make a make a sheet 4 layers thick and a brown, about 3 feet long and about 4 inches wide. Tape it to the top edge of the ship. Measure the center points and cut out an inch wide piece for the cannon holes, save the pieces to retape them on as the porthole covers. Then when you are happy with the placement make another 5 strip sheet to fit the space in between. Tape all along the seems do your best to make it water proof because one you might want to float it.
Now use small strips of tan duct Tape to make a border around the cannon holes, to make them really stand out. Then put back in the pieces we cut out for the cannon holes and tape them in on the inside.
Step 12: The Deck
I wanted to have the deck removable so I could add cannons later and make repairs as needed. So I had to make a bunch of 6 strip rods, the will go around the top edge of the ship. These will hold the removable deck in place.
Using standard rods I framed out where I wanted the deck pieces to be. as you can see make sure that some of the rods are resting on the bulkheads. Tape the frame together and make some 5 layer sheets to cover the frame, and tape it down. Now the tiny tip of the ship one and the very back ones are permanently taped down.
Step 13: The Cabin
Okay so by now you may have figured out that I like the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words " because I don't know how many pictures I can skim out without it losing cohesion.
Start by making 6 trip rods with brown in the outside. Cut 3 inch pieces and tape the to the 4 corners of the cabin. next cut 2 pieces at roughly 10 inches to span the cabin. Now cut six, 6 strip rods at 5.5 inches to go as the rafters of the cabin. then I cut so rods to provide angle support to the front.
Now to add flare to our basic cabin. using 6 strip rods cut to fit between the posts, tape them leaving an inch gap on the bottom (do this to the sides too). The wider gap above will be our windows. Take a standard rods and tape it horizontal in the middle of the space, do the same for the sides. Now we cut vertical rods for the space and evenly space them and tape them down. To make them look like windows take a sheet of white duct tape and cut it to fit the windows, tape in down on the inside. I also used a blue strip along the bottom of the cabin to add color, also taped on the inside.
To make the door and front wall, start with a 4 layer sheet, brown on both sides. Make it as wide and tall as the cabin. Cut out a section to use as the door and duct tape the rest if it to the cabin. Now for the door piece, cut some white duct tape into squares to look like windows. Use a one inch rod as a door handle. Take a strip of tape to use as a hinge for the door, I went back and changed it to brown for the hinge strip.
For the guard rails I cut standard rods with tan duct tape to 1 inch long. I taped them evenly spaced all the way around the top, first with tan tape then again with brown tape to make it blend in.
I then made a removable deck piece to cover the cabin. made the same way the other deck pieces were.
Step 14: Rope Anchor Point
So to have masts we need to secure them so they stay up right. In this step I only used 6 strip rods. Once I made enough rods they need to be cut down. For each spot we need two 1 inch rods, a 4 inch rod, and two 3 inch rods cut at roughly 45 degrees.
Tape the 1 inch rod in line with the mast. next tape the 4 inch rod on the the ends of the inch rods. Now add the cross support rods, be sure to tape the bottom end real good. repeat 4 times
As you can see from the pictures my ship fell over one night, bending all the masts. I was very sad. But the the masts were able to go back to their shape! The moral of the story is make sure you have something solid holding the ship. I chose a cardboard box cut out to fit the hull of the ship, it's been stable ever since then.
Step 15: Sail Rods
Now we need rods for the sails to hang on. You will need two 6 strip rods at 18 inches long, two at around 14 inches and 3 rods at 10 to 12 inches. I marked the center on all the rods with white tape. Then I marked the masts with white duct tape at the height I wanted. The front two masts each get 3 rods. The bottom getting the 18 inch, the middle getting the 14 inch, and the top getting the 10 inch. Hold the rod and first tape a piece across vertically, then 2 strips horizontal one on each side. Do this twice to get it nice and secure. For the back mast I put one rod on it about 3 to 4 inches from the top, and 2 rods straight out the back.
Step 16: Rope
Rope the final frontier... wait that doesn't sound right. Take a strip of gray duct tape about 3 feet long and lay it sticky side up, now take another strip and cover it. Next cover both sides with tan duct tape. Now the most time consuming part...cutting it into 1/8 inch strips. I used scissors the first few times, but I like using a cutting board, exact knife, and ruler as a guide. Although it's a lot more dangerous.
Step 17: Rigging
Alright to do rigging right don't follow my lead, but this is what I've done so far. Take some rope and wrap the foreword mast and tape it down, wrap the rope around the top of each mast and tape it down in the back. This will keep the masts vertical. Be sure to add redundant ropes, my single rope came loose and the masts fell forward.
Now we need to keep them from swaying side to side. Attach a rope to the tie down point by looping it through at taping to itself. Then wrap it around the mast down to the other side and tape it down.
To keep the sails from sagging we need to also rig up some rope it. Start at the bottom with a loop pull the line up to the next rod, and wrap around it along with the third support. Then tape it off at the top.
Step 18: Railing
Okay we are getting close... only another lifetime to go. The railing here is done the same as the cabin. Make and cut a bunch of standard rods in one inch pieces, and a bunch more for the top of the rails. I duct taped the one inch rods where the bulkheads where to keep it more uniform. I used tan duct tape on the step, where the tan overlaps the brown I just used a small brown square of tape to cover it up. For the nose I just bent a rod to the shape I wanted and taped it together.
Step 19: Sails
Alright! The sails really make it feel like a ship! Sails are just sheets of duct tape made with white tape. I made each one as a rectangle to start with and trimmed it down to fit each spot. Then I used a hole punch and put 6 holes, 3 on each side of the masts. Then to hang them you can use a 2 inch piece of rope through the holes and taped together.
Step 20: Details
The helm went through several recreations before I stuck with this one, unfortunately I didn't take detailed photos. I used a standard rod to make it, and 1/2 rods to do the hand holds along with really tiny cuts of duct tape to hold it together. The cannons I modified from in instructable I already made. The ladder is just standard rods.
The table and chairs were fun, they were half rods. The back of the chair is a 2 in half rod. The front legs were an inch, with 2 1/2 half inch rod bent into a circle. The legs of the table are 1 1/2 inches long, the table top I believe is 4 to 5 rod bent into a circle. The top is a sheet of duct tape cut to fit it. Also the legs I added cross supports to.
Step 21: Treasure Chest
Here I used standard rods in black duct tape. For the bottom, use two 3 inch rods and two 1 inch rods taped together. Then use four 1 inch rods on the corners, and make another bottom piece to sit on top. Then I made cross supports to make it more ridged. The lid is also made like the bottom piece, then we add 2 inch rods that are bent into shape to make the top curve.
Then I used red duct tape to cover the insides. I made some sheets of brown duct tape and and cut them to fit the sides and bottom, and another one to lay over the top. I poked holes in the two sides before attaching to the chest, and put a piece of rope through it as the handles.
Using black tape i cut strips about an 1/8 thick and put them all the way around the treasure chest to make it look like iron bands. I put a little black square in the middle and a small silver sliver to make a lock for the treasure chest. To make the gold and silver make small sheets of the color and use a leather punch to get the coin shape.
Second Prize in the
Stick It! Contest