Red Bull Can-Yacht




About: I have always loved the feeling of finishing the construction of an object and if I don't have something I need or want I usually give it a go to build it from what I have. Usually though, I look at a boring...

This is in photo instructable format because it was an experiment, so I neglected to take photographs during the construction of this cool yacht. It is only an ornamental piece and will not float on water unless you inject it with expanding foam, add a ballast and make it watertight with some form of sealant.

I have included plans/ a template for you to click on, download the full resolution, and then print. The construction method of most of this model is very similar to papercraft. There are tabs to cut around, fold, then glue to another part to hold it in place.

To make this boat you will need:
- Red Bull cans (I used 4)
- Thick wire (about 1.5mm in diameter)
- Pins or thin, stiff wire
- Glue
- Pliers
- Scissors
- Tin snips or similar to cut can top and bottom ends off with

Make the hull first, cut the first shape shown in the plan out and place it onto an unrolled can surface, then trace the shape onto it and cut out. DO NOT cut the tabs off. The light grey lines are for slight bends, they are easier to do than circular bends. Once you have a hull-shape, glue the tabs on the inside of it to hold it together and keep its shape. Ignore the thick grey lines.

Next is the deck. Do what you did in step 1, cut out the outside shape with the tabs. The thick black lines on the deck in the plan is the outline of it that will be seen and all edges(tabs) must be bent along this line. The back of this boat looks pentagonal and is part of the deck piece. The dotted line through the deck is a centre line and is for reference only.

Glue the deck "into" the hull with the tabs hidden inside the hull and glued to the "walls". Fold the back down along the two light grey lines and also glue the tabs into the back of the hull.

Use thick, stiff wire for the mast and bowsprit. The base of the mast wire must be bent as shown in the red rectangle in the plan. Glue the mast to the deck where shown in the plan, indicated by a thick red line. The circle is where the vertical part must be. Cut out a small rectangle from a can (indicated by purple), bend it and then glue it over the wire "V" on the deck to hide the wire. The bowsprit is a short piece of wire bent at a point to the angle shown in the side view. It is glued between the deck and the hull.

For the sails, trace the shown shapes onto cans and cut them out. Fold the straight edges of the shapes over(the orange line) and glue them to the sail. This will provide extra stiffness to keep the sails looking how you left them. I bent my sails a little bit so they look like they are being lightly blown by the wind but you can also leave yours straight.

Almost all yachts have a keel for stability and this one has a parallelogram-shaped one. Cut out the shape labelled "Keel" from a can and fold it along the dotted centre line. Glue the open end closed and open out the tabs. Glue these tabs to the underside of the hull to keep the keel attached.

To add the sails to the boat, you will require pins or thin, stiff wire. Cut pieces of wire about 3 cm (1.3 inches) and bend one end into a ring so that it can slide onto the mast. Do this for 5. One goes onto the bowsprit, the other four onto the mast. Slide them on and glue them in place where shown in blue on the plan. Then glue the edges of the sails to these pieces of wire and keep them there until dry.

Your Can-boat is complete!

Teacher Notes

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

Instructables Green Design Contest

Participated in the
Instructables Green Design Contest

Toy Contest

Participated in the
Toy Contest

Craft Contest

Participated in the
Craft Contest



    • Make It Fly Challenge

      Make It Fly Challenge
    • Stone Concrete and Cement Contest

      Stone Concrete and Cement Contest
    • Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest

      Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest

    10 Discussions


    1 year ago

    I love it! Thank you...I'm desperately looking for instructions on making the Ship with Cans. My Hubby was given one from his Mom in the 70's that she had made from a man who is no longer with us and our Ship disappeared! I cannot find any instructions anywhere! Can you help?

    Thank You!



    6 years ago on Introduction

    Is that a real bird in the background ? Do you think this will sail if I put foam and a ballast in it ? It may float if properly tinkered with. Thanks.

    1 reply

    Indeed that is a real Kelp Gull. we often catch sick birds at a nearby waste treatment plant who are unable to fly or walk and we feed them and tube them until they fly away again a few weeks or days later.
    I have another yacht instructable, which I made directly before this one, which explains all you should need to know about making a similarly shaped but sailing boat. That one could possibly be made then covered/sheeted with aluminium from cans if you prefer the look of this one. The sails would still need to be non-metal though.

    Thank you very much! It only took me about 3 hours to make, of which about fifteen minutes was for the sails. The rest was spent trimming and bending the metal to get a nice hull and deck and from that I made the templates.

    I tweeted the link to Red Bull, they tweeted back:

    Thanks! I entered the RedBull Flugtag last year because it was in my city but my "Pilots of the Caribbean" theme was sadly not accepted. Before that, it was going to be a Batman-based design but that was canned by my team before entering. I still went to the event though and it was pretty fun to watch.