October 20, 2009 at 5:46 pm (Uncategorized)

it is with a heavy heart that today i declare progress on the Cardboard boat project to be discontinued until further notice.


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How to Build a Cardboard Boat – Day 1

February 4, 2009 at 2:24 am (How to) (, , )

First off, the question: why would you build a boat out of cardboard? 

my younger brother is in a group similiar to the Boyscouts called Pathfinders, and his troop was recently tasked with the job of Building a Boat entirely out of Cardbaord. but boyscouts are not the only ones occasionally required to build cardboard boats, sometimes Elementary schools will give the assignment to a class and have competions. 

well with the reasoning aside, lets get to the materials we’ll be allowed to use since i will be limiting myself to the list of materials he is allowed to use for his watercraft.

I am under the impression that they may only use Cardboard, Tape and i think paint,  i dont believe there is any limitations on which types of paints we can use so that is certainly great since we can use an oil based to ‘tar’ the bottom of our craft and ensure that it is water tight in the end =D

(since i wont be uploading thumbnails the images on the page will be a Bit large and Over sized,  To see the Full image And More images of the boats construction please visit the following link to my Photo-Bucket account where i will be uploading all pictures taken during the boats construction Thanks.)

Link to My Photobucket Image Dump. –

So starting off, 


i Began by taking a large box which my brother had already put a shape to (albeit a poor shape imo haha) and begin building off of that 

i decided the demisions i would use based upon what i had available,  the box was 3 feet wide, so my boat was going to be 3 feet wide, its length was just over 5 and a half feet long  so i decided to go with 5 1/2    that way i would have a little bit of wiggle room later on, 

also you want to make sure you have Atleast 4 tools to begin this task,  

with these 4 you can make it through for sure, however  dremel tools to cut with are extremely convenient.  i found that out on day 2 though  after making most of the ‘ribs’ for my boat, 

So once you have the basic shape decided you want to decide how many ribs you will want as support for your deck,  the area where you will be sitting on, or standing.  I orignally decided to just go with every 6 inches and keep everything very simple, but after drawing it out on my cardboard  it seemed like there would be too much spacing for a well placed heel to sink through our deck,  so i decided to go with a rib every 5 inches instead.  (Huge comprimise eh? haha)

Once you have markings every 5 inches on your board you can determin where you would like the curve of your bow to begin and how Sharp you want it to be,   with my box already having the top 2 corners missing the decision was fairly easy for me,  however yours may be a little different so  envision a pitch and pick a nice spot and begin marking off what you would like your ideal bow to look like. 

a method i used since symmetry was important to me at the time   was i created a triangle,  the left and right (port and starboard sides)  where i wanted my boat to begin turning in,  and the third point at the very tip  this way when i began drawing the curve free hand on the starboard side, i could create a grid and accurately recreat the same curve on the port side. 

give it a shot, if it works for you awsome if you find a Better way to draw it (maybe you will have more success with the string and pencil method then i did)  what ever you decide on, if you find it to be super spectacular be sure to suggest it so others can pick up on the  trick and i can use it next time! haha

Okay next step, the Spine of your boat,  the piece that will cut the water so well and hold your entire craft together as one piece,  (the bottom atleast) 

i began by measuring out the length of my boat on another large piece of cardboard (fridge box)  and then decided how deep i thought my boat should be (decided to just go with a foot and a half deep)   i then traced out a shape that looked like it would be good and strong (notice alot of this is all done by eye,  no intense brain calculations here no sir no how! haha)   then i went ahead and cut it out,  Flipped it onto the other side of the cardboard and chopped out another one so i could stick em together and have it twice as strong,  (we dont want to fall through the bottom now do we?)  

after sizing them up making sure they were the same size (which they were)   i went ahead and taped the two together  so i wouldnt they would be much easier to manage that way. 

see take a look at that,  starting to look like a hull already =D 

Alrighty, this next part has turned out to be the most  time consuming portion so far,  Cutting out the Ribs which we will attache to the spine and Deck  to give us support, 

Now mine generally look like Half Circles,   you can decide on what ever shape you want for yours,  say if you want a bit more speed you can go for a steaper pitch,    im just concerned with keeping mine afloat at this point  and it hasnt been put in water yet so im just trying to go with a safe design rather then a speedy design. 

But go ahead and draw out 1 and cut it out,  then use it as a template to create as many more as you need,  

my design required about 8 more  that could all be the same shape and size,  (when you get to the front of the boat they will get a bit smaller.. naturally)

and thats about all i got to on the first night, 

Oh  Be prepaired to generate Alot of scrap cardboard, Dont be tempted to throw it away or Burn it,  because it will be really useful later one when we need small pieces to use as spacers and such,  we’ll get to all that in the next post though.

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