How to Make a Cardboard Canoe for Your Kids in the Pool

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This instructable shows how my friend Jared, my brother, and I  built a cardboard canoe for his kids to play with in the swimming pool.


Materials Used:

-Packing Tape - 1 1/2" - (lots(3 rolls))

-Cardboard - 1 sheet - 40" x 84"

-Utility knife (to cut the patterns out of the cardboard)

-Time (about 3-4 hours start to finish) (Not including CAD/Design/Snack time)







 

Step 1: Step 1: Design the Canoe



 We've attached the canoe design so that you can print it out and scale it to however big you want the canoe to be.

We printed the shapes out on an 11"x17" paper and made a model (see pics)

The final kids' canoe shapes were printed out just shy of 8' long.





 

Step 2: Step 2: Get the Design Onto Cardboard

Now that we have our canoe design we needed to get it on the cardboard.

We decided to scale the pieces up to fit on a 40"x84" piece of double walled  cardboard.
We projected the shapes using a laser galvanometer and traced them.

If you have access to a CNC, you could use that instead.
If you have a large laser cutter, that would work.
**UPDATE** You can use a normal computer projector (like for doing a power point presentation)
**UPDATE** You can print out the pattern and use an overhead projector.

If you are a very good artist, you could just copy the pattern using that grid technique that only works for a drawing of Mickey Mouse.
You can use the pattern and have it printed out on a large format printer like they have at copy stores(Kinkos) and then cut patterns out of paper to transfer it to the cardboard.

 












  

Step 3: Cut Out Your Pieces

Use a razor knife to cut out the patterns.  Since cardboard is difficult to cut, you may want to do an initial cut that just breaks the surface of the cardboard and then go back and cut all the way through.  This may help you from making mis-cuts.
Use proper knife safety. Don't let your kids cut the cardboard. Don't cut any cheese during this step.


Step 4: Step 3: Prep and Assemble the Pieces

Because the canoe needs to be as water tight as possible, we encased each piece in packing tape.

After taping each piece, tape the pieces together to form the finised canoe.

Step 5: Step 4: Play in the Water!!

Step 4: Now that our canoe is built its time to hit the pool!

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    53 Discussions

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    vatosupreme

    1 year ago

    About 96" long from end to end.

    Good Luck!

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    seanlucassinke

    1 year ago

    on the paper what is the scale. please tell me sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooon.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    BernardM

    3 years ago on Introduction

    Do you have a way to copy your design for anybody to copy ??? Some plans that we can copy in a printing shop !!

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    kodiwoedee

    5 years ago

    Very cool project!

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    horses34

    5 years ago

    So cool!!! Wish I had that much cardboard. I call myself a "cat" because I love getting into boxes. LOL

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    shernandez24

    5 years ago

    Thank you! I did the trick to cure my son's summer time boredom. We had a great time building it and paddling across our neighborhood pond.

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    redfoxtrystman

    5 years ago

    Go to your local hardware store and buy a few door skins. Me and a friend built a small drift boat out of 2 of them for a friend's kids. You cut them the same way but you fiberglass or resin them. I suggest go with the glass. But it will last years. Also just Google "door skin canoe plans" and you will find it.

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    redfoxtrystman

    5 years ago

    Go to your local hardware store and buy a few door skins. Me and a friend built a small drift boat out of 2 of them for a friend's kids. You cut them the same way but you fiberglass or resin them. I suggest go with the glass. But it will last years. Also just Google "door skin canoe plans" and you will find it.

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    rjohnson68

    5 years ago

    How much weight can it hold?

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    olmon

    6 years ago on Introduction

    If you go to an Auto-Body shop & ask them to save some of the big boxes that fenders, hoods & other large panels come in, you could get the cardboard free & you might also get some double thickness cardboard, I have used cardboard and fiberglass to repair floorboards in cars & trucks & it lasted for years. I even repaired a rusted out spare tire well in early 70s Ford station wagon & it was good for almost 6 years & would have lasted longer but the person I sold it to had a flat & just threw the spare back in without fastening it. The repair broke out after about 6 months of the tire bouncing in there. He drove on unpaved back roads daily.
    With a coat of resin & fiberglass cloth & some wood strips laminated on the edges & bottom, you would have a canoe that you could go anywhere with.

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    bob.the.devil

    7 years ago on Step 5

    lets say i did this but made it larger and coated it in fiberglass... would that work for a full sized human in an actual river/lake (or any "real" body of water)?

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    vatosupremebob.the.devil

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 5

    This isn't the most stable design for full fledgged canoing. There are other patterns out there with a "flatter" bottom that you could use. However I think that the construction method should work.

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    bob.the.devilvatosupreme

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 5

    thank you. i will try it next season. well build it over the winter, use it next season, if it works i am going to use pvc to make joints and saw it in half, so i can slide it together and duct tape it annually (for easy storage) if i do that i will deff post a ling to my work on here so you can see it :D

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    randometry

    7 years ago on Step 5

    I helped my daughter build a cardboard boat for a physics class project when she was in high school. The rules were - nothing was to be used except, cardboard, brown paper and elmers-type (non-waterproof) glue. Any painting on the boat had to be above the waterline and the boat had to last for 1 pass up and back in an olympic size pool.

    If I were doing a project like this for a home pool, I'd use a good waterproof glue and paper mache the exterior using the same glue. Then a good coat of paint would finish off the water proofing.

    If I had a pool I'd be trying different designs all the time. It was a cool project.