Construction Tips


  • Cardboard (Packing Boxes, Mattress Boxes, TV and Appliance Boxes, Carpet Tubes)
  • Liquid Nails, Contact Cement
  • Duct Tape, Packing Tape, Paper Tape
  • Paint (Latex Paint, Kilz)

Construction Plans

Cardboard boat building is the ultimate in recycling. Use old cardboard from people moving into your neighborhood, visit moving companies for used boxes, and trash. The following plans create a boat for 2 people. Use a straight edge to mark, cut or crease the cardboard. Use an old pen or small screw driver to crease cardboard before folding it. Don’t tear the cardboard, just make an indentation where a fold is needed. These plans are based upon using 3 or 4 moving boxes. Used moving boxes can usually be obtained at no cost from moving companies. The Wardrobe boxes are double layer and larger and stronger than regular cardboard boxes. Use other cardboard for inside layers on the crew compartment and for decorations. Build the three sections & glue each section together. Seal and Tape each seam to make them water tight. Seal all cardboard edges with liquid nails or tape. Connect the sections together with glue and tape as shown. Cover the bottom and side with another layer of cardboard overlapping the joints where the sections are connected. You will need three layers of cardboard on the bottom and side to make a strong boat. Seal all joints and cardboard edges with liquid nails and tape. Don’t forget to seal the inside of the crew compartment. You and also seal the boat with paper mache. You make it with 1 part Elmer’s Glue and 10 parts water. Soak strips of paper in the water-glue then place on the seams and tape to seal the boat. When this is dry it can be painted. Paint the boat with at least 3 coats of paint. Old latex paint is good. Save money by getting “Oops Paint” from Home Depot, WalMart or Lowes. This is paint that was returned by customers because it was the wrong color or dented cans, but it can be prefect for you! If you decide to design your own boat, make it at least 2 ½ to 3 feet wide so it won’t tip over when you get in. If it is 5 or 6 feet long it will hold 2 people easily. The sides should be at least 9 inches high. Water will come up about 4 inches on the side with 2 people in the boat.