One of the most effective ways of convincing everybody you’re crazy is to tell them you’re going to build a boat out of cardboard. I got the idea of a cardboard boat from the Internet I was looking for some cardboard projects and I found that people were building cardboard boats and usually they were building them to compete in races there’s cardboard boat races where you have a certain amount of time to build a boat and then you race it across a lake and whoever doesn’t sink and gets there first wins.
And uh. since i was gonna put the effort in to building a boat and I wasn’t really gonna put it in a competition my goal was to make something that was a little more durable so i took a few ideas from from certain plans and added a few ideas of my own to build something that’s actually pretty durable. I’ve had it out on the water several times over the last two three years. This boat doesn’t have any rigid materials like metal or plastic or wood it’s made almost entirely out of cardboard.
As you can see, I also used some paint I used some varnish here on the bottom, I used some newspaper, and I hold it together with glue and tape. These duct tape patches you see here are not part of the original construction I found that duct tape is a quick way to patch a hole if you find a hole just before you’re ready to put on the lake or something this is a quick way to make sure it doesn’t leak typically if i have the time the best way to patch this would be to.
How to build a durable cardboard boat
Actually use varnish and a small piece of newspaper give it several coats of varnish to seal it up. When I build this boat I started with one big piece of cardboard it was about eleven and a half feet long and about forty two inches wide and I found this piece of cardboard at the local appliance store. You’ll find that appliance stores have lots of cardboard that they need to dispose of so that was a good resource for me you get the cardboard to build this. Now what I did with the big piece of cardboard is, I just laid it out.
And i folded up nine inches of each side all the way along to make the shape of the boat. now on the front and the back I had to cut along the corner of the bottom, the bottom part of the U then I folded in the sides and I cut off the extra there was a triangle of cardboard here and one over there that I cut off. On the front of the boat I did it just a little different than the back once I folded in those side pieces I also cut a wedge out of here.
That way the bottom would actually fold up a little bit that way it stays above the waves a little better as you’re moving forward. Now any place where there were seems in the cardboard and here along the front of the boat would’ve been one of them I used this water activated paper tape to hold those pieces together. Basically with this tape all you do is get it wet use a foam brush or something to brush just a little bit of water on there to moisten in the whole thing.
And then you put that on there and sticks very quickly and it sticks very well. You do have to be careful if you get too much water on here it doesn’t stick too well. Don’t actually dunk it in water before you put it on I found that that doesn’t work very well. Once I had the outer hull of the boat complete from that single sheet of cardboard then I had to make its sturdy. So to do that I simply laminated more and more sheets of cardboard on the sides and the bottom.
And these peices weren’t always real big just as big as I could get. I made sure they were wedged in there tightly and made sure the other sheets fit tightly against it. And this process took time because what I had to do is take some Elmer’s glue either wood glue or regular white blue and dilute it with water and then use a foam brush to just brush it over top the bottom of the boat and then I took a piece of cardboard put on top of that.
And then I’d have to take heavy objects and put it on top of that piece of cardboard to allow it to dry and to get sturdy. So obviously it took some time because I had to wait for it to dry and then I had to put another piece on and them maybe put a piece on the side, a piece toward the back and so forth. So it took a few days to get so pretty much all the boat both the bottom and the sides were about four.
Pieces of cardboard thick so at that point the boat became pretty sturdy. You can see right in the middle here there’s something that looks like a beam and what I did with that is to just laminate a bunch of pieces of cardboard together, use that water activated paper tape to wrap it so it became a real sturdy beam, and almost felt like a 2×4 except obviously it was lighter and not as strong and I put this clear from the front of the boat the back of the boat.
The reason I did that is, if you actually look up a couple tutorials on cardboard boat races and you find the people that built little canoes or kayaks like this one you’ll find that, as they ride in it, what would happen is their weight would push down and the water would push up on the ends and soon the boat would buckle in the middle that seemed to be a recurring problem that I saw. So the purpose of this is to keep that from happening and then as you noticed I used.
Cardboard to make a seat here and again I used several pieces of cardboard laminated together to make the seat nice and sturdy but the seat is sitting right on this beam and so the idea there is when i’m sitting in there my weight is distributed along the whole bottom of the boat as long as this beam holds up and hopefully that’ll keep it from buckling in the middle. To finish the inside of the boat I used that textured latex Dry Lock paint that you use in your basement to cover.
Blocks with. This is designed to be water resistant and that texture makes so things don’t get slippery when it gets wet on the inside of the boat. What I did to finish the boat is coat the entire outside with spar varnish and then I laid a piece of newspaper, just a single sheet over top of that and made sure I smooth out all the bubbles and of course that stuck fast to the wet varnish and then once that was dry I put yet another coat on and again put another.