Plans for a 2-person Container Board Boat for the Toledo Boat Show
July 20, 2016

These plans are for a no-frills cardboard boat capable of carrying two adults.

To build this boat, you will need a Container Board Boat Kit from Georgia Pacific - contact their coordinator at:

In addition to the Container Board Boat Kit, you'll need:

  • A quart or more of Contact Cement (you can use other glues, but this is proven effective)
  • Razor knife/box cutter
  • Yardstick and straight edge
  • Waterproof tape (many people use Duct Tape. Another option is paper drywall tape with mastik.)
  • Splining Tool to crease the cardboard without breaking the surface.

This is a Splining Tool - you can usually find them in the screen door section of a hardware store.

Here is a write-up of the construction of one of these boats in 2015. We made three and they came in 1st and 3rd in the Adult race and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the Children's race.

This is an overview of how to layout the pattern for the boat. Here is the PDF file you can download and print out.

It often helps to make a paper model before building the real thing. Here is a PDF file you can print so you can make your own.

The PDF file has the patterns drawn to scale to represent the 110" x 82" sheets of container board provided in the kit. Print it out and trim off the excess.

Cut the patterns and fold along the lines. Practice this step to get an idea of which way the container board needs to bend. In real life, you'll run the splining tool on the lines. Try not to press so hard you break the skin.

Tape or glue up the components. When building in real life, let the Contact Cement set for 5 minutes or so before assembly. Make sure you are ready - that stuff isn't called 'Contact Cement' for nothing.

And put it all together.

Note the seams go on the outside. In real life, you'll want to seal up the seams with tape (this is where the drywall tape and mastik does very well - the mastik squishes into the gaps very nicely.)

Final Note: The Container Board Boat Kit comes with two tubes that are 4 1/2" in diameter. Most cardboard boats fail when they fold up in the middle. The hollow walls and doubled bottom of the design presented here are sufficient to prevent this failure, but some people like to be "extra sure." The tubes will fit inside the hollow walls and give extra rigidity. If the tubes are shorter than the length of the boat, center them in the walls and all will be well.