25 Homemade Boats You Can Make Yourself

So you have an old Datsun laying around that’s wasting away in your front yard. That means you are nothing more than a full-blooded American. What to do with it though? Well, why not turn it into a homemade boat? It looks pretty easy from what we see here. Simply find some old steel drums to use as pontoons, and mount the car, sans tires, to a boat frame. Presto, instant homemade boat. It looks like they may have tied the tires to the boat frame to help with buoyancy.

We’re not really sure what the corrugated tin pieces upfront are about, other than helping out with splash as this homemade creation flies through the water. The best part? Well, check out the background. Those other real boats probably cost a pretty penny. However, they are pale in comparison to our hatchback wonder here. We’re not even sure if this thing is legal, but it looks like he has made it to some destination irregardless. The only question we have is where would you put a fishing seat? It would be awfully hard to swing a rod and reel from the window, and I doubt you would want to balance on the pontoons while trying to snag something from the deep. But, imagine all the money you will save by filling this thing up with regular gas versus taking up at the local marina. That alone is worth giving it a try for sure. 

MythBusters is known for pushing the envelope when it comes to proving something as either fact or fiction. However, they always have a great time doing it, no matter the result. Take for instance this homemade concoction. This is a homemade boat made from duct tape. And before you think making your own duct tape raft is easy, well just take a look at what’s going on here. The outer part is duct tape, while the inside is nothing more than bubble wrap. Yep, you heard me right. They are going white water rafting in a homemade boat made entirely from bubble wrap and duct tape. They even used paddles outfitted with duct tape, as well as life vests and such made from the same material. Check out the Go Pro camera mounted on the front. It made sure no moment would be missed, even when the raft came apart (it did about halfway through the rafting adventure). That’s what happens when you go white water rafting in a homemade duck tape raft, especially when the rapids in question are those in the Grand Canyon. So, if you’re thinking of making your own, my advice would be just don’t. Leave this to the pros, and watch their folly unfold. It’s more fun that way!

The next time you’re checking out the free section on Craigslist, keep your eyes peeled for those nifty plastic storage drums. You know the ones I’m talking about. Then the large blue containers that people try to get rid of and can’t. Well, this guy seemed to take them up on the offer and put them to use quite cleverly. Check out his homemade boat. A simple wooden frame fixed atop some plastic storage barrels to be used as pontoons, and some makeshift lawn chair seating. It’s efficient for sure, but the really amazing part is that it actually works. Plus, he put quite a bit of thought into this when you take a look at it. Notice the PVC mounts used for holding rods and fishing nets. Also, the ladder affixed to the side with a bungee, as well as a fire extinguisher, in case should anything happen with a wooden boat at sea (I can see the potential there, I’m just saying). Finally, those totes are outfitted with carpeted plywood on top to be used as storage and makeshift seating. Smack on Evinrude outboard motor on the rear, and a cheap boombox on the front, and you have one very usable fishing vessel for the day. Hey, it beats the duct tape raft and Datsun hatchback boat that we saw in the first two. I fish with these guys before I would try my hand boarding those other vessels. Plus, if we catch fish we can store them in the cooler he has upfront. That’s a good time for sure… so long as it doesn’t rain.

This elevates recycling to a whole new level. With a nationwide effort to be green, and recycle bins popping up in just about every neighborhood in America, the possibilities are endless with this creation. This homemade boat is constructed entirely of 2 liter soda bottles, and it works quite well. They are held together with fishing line, waterproof of course, and outfitted to hold up to four people if need be. This raft was actually featured in a BuzzFeed article concerning creative uses for recycling materials. And while we may not know the names and identities of the two individuals manning the vessel, we do give them props for one of the more creative recycling feats we have ever seen. The front of the bow has been reinforced with a few extra bottles if you take a closer look. This helps increase the buoyancy factor, making it easier to paddle. It’s basic physics. If you have less of the boat touching the water, it will be easier to propel forward. The extra bottles upfront help with this, and also serve to stabilize the vessel as well. I’m sure this took quite a bit of trial and error before it was perfected, but the final product is pretty sweet. I’m not so sure I would take this out for a three hour tour though, unless I wanted to wind up meeting Gilligan and the Skipper. However, for 30 or 40 minutes it would be fun to cruise around the lake and impress the neighbors. I’m game, how about you?

You never know what you’ll find on Reddit, and this is a prime example right here. This has to be one of the more clever, albeit rudimentary, boat builds we have ever seen. Simply take some old storage barrels and cut them in half. Then will them together to make them watertight and you have a seaworthy vessel for one. If you look closely at the picture, you might notice that the individual appears to be a bit nervous. I would say there is good reason for that. Look at those edges. They are sharp as a razor. A second build might involve rolling the edges down or covering the interior with some sort of cloth to prevent cuts and nicks. At least that’s what the folks on the Reddit thread suggest. That’s pretty typical though isn’t it? It’s like the little red hen story. Everybody wants to eat the bread, but nobody wants to bake it. The same applies here. Everybody wants to give tips on how to build a better boat from old oil storage barrels, but nobody wants to actually take the time and give it a go. For that, we give this guy five stars for effort, and 3 1/2 for creating a vessel that is actually seaworthy. Our only suggestion might be to outfit it with a motor to keep from wearing yourself out.

Yes, there appears to be a space shuttle coasting along the waterways of Heber Springs, Arkansas. The cool part is this… It’s a planned event. That’s right, every year they hold the world championship cardboard boat race in this tiny little sleepy Midwest town. Contestants from across the nation compete for the coveted championship title with only one catch, the entire craft must be constructed from cardboard. It’s a spectacle for sure. Everything from space shuttles to dragons and other crazy seafaring craft can be seen. It draws a crowd, and for good reason. It’s similar to why we watch NASCAR. We could really care less who wins, we just want to see some carnage. The same applies here. We know the boats float, but they only float for a while. Watching them sink is spectacular fun! Who cares that they took all of that time to painstakingly cut, paint and tape their cardboard craft together? We just like to see them sink like a stone. The irony is that many of them don’t. They pass with flying colors and live to boat another day. Kind of makes you want to go find an old refrigerator box and give it a go. Just make sure you don’t film it, or you might wind up on our blog!

This next craft might look a bit strange. There’s a reason for it though. This is no ordinary homemade boat. It’s part of the Long Island Inventor showcase held in Bellone. The event invites residents to showcase their best inventions. It’s not just about boats either. Entries include inventions designed to keep power tools connected to extension cords without snagging, devices designed to get knots out of jewelry, and the multiphibious vehicle that you see here. It’s designed by James W. McIntee Jr., a retired Boeing safety manager from Smithtown. It’s designed to navigate land and water, and eventually he hopes to make it fly a few feet off the ground. His inspiration was the car from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. When his creation is complete and in production, he hopes to market and sell these vehicles for somewhere between $60,000 -$100,000. He has a trademark and patent pending, so he is serious about it. As for us, we just think it’s pretty cool!

Leave it to the folks in Portland, Oregon to come up with something this unique. This was featured in the Portland Press Herald as one of the most creative houseboats around. We think of it as sort of tiny house meets houseboat if you will. There are a few things that make it unique, from the side door entrance, to the candle lit lanterns hanging from the eaves towards the front. The park bench is a nice touch as well. You can picture yourself sitting there sipping a drink of your choice while watching the sunset as you float lazily across the lake. It’s enough to make Huck Finn jealous. Just don’t let Tom Sawyer get too close, or he might paint the whole thing white. Yes, contrary to popular belief I did quite well in literature class during school. I couldn’t make this boat though, and if I tried my hand at it, I can assure you that there would be no press coverage. Mine would be a John boat with the cardboard top. This guy outdid himself, and for that we give him props!

So what do you do when you want to have a picnic on the lake? Do you sit on the shore idly watching boats go by? Do you hop on your friend’s pontoon boat and enjoy your sandwich while you cruise around? No. You do what this proud individual did. Make your own floating picnic table. It’s a heckuva DIY project when you think about it. It seems like we have also found another use for those blue plastic storage barrels we saw previously with that epic homemade wooden watercraft. This one is designed to seat four, so you can enjoy your meal while you float. A few questions we have though. For starters, how big is that table anyway? I don’t know if I can have a sandwich there, but I might be able to snag some cheese and crackers with my buddies. Also, considering the fact that you would probably use this in the summer and the sun is blazing hot, we need a hole cut in the center of that thing to fix our umbrella too. It would be a shame to get sunburned while we eat. Finally, there would be the pesky business of having fish niible your toes while you nibble your lunch. Other than that though, it’s pretty stinking cool.

Well a few things are for certain. If China ever decided to declare war on us, I doubt they would be caught dead manning this submarine. It’s a bit obvious with the flag flying and all. However, it is clever, and the creation of one individual from Zhang, Shengwu. Designed to be a submarine for one, the inside features an intricate, yet rudimentary plumbing system for powering the vessel, as well as two batteries to ensure the engine starts. Kicker? It has received an official patent from the Chinese government so this thing is completely legit. I’m not sure it would pass inspection here in the States, but it does appear to be quite seaworthy. The only issue I would have is being locked inside a steel drum underwater for extended periods of time. I much prefer to be sitting topside with some good tunes on the radio, and maybe a cold one in the cooler next to me. It’s easier to navigate that way, and I feel a lot less claustrophobic. However, if you are looking to build your own submarine, this is your guy. All you have to do is go to China and get him to make one for you.

Leave it to the Dutch to come up with something this creative. While it may look like this boat is taking on quite a bit of water, there’s a good reason for that. This is a hot tub. In fact, it’s called the Hot Tug. It’s a tugboat made from a hot tub. The catch? It’s wood powered??!?! Yes, you read that right. This thing is powered by wood. Notice the smokestack at the front of the vessel and it all starts to come into focus. Only the Dutch could build something this clever and daring. Who would’ve thought of creating a hot tub boat powered by a wooden stove? Yet, they did. It looks like it’s a good time to judging by the scenery and storage space. No matter how cold it is outside on the water, you can enjoy the water being nice and toasty the entire time. Just make sure you have some towels stored on board somewhere. You are certainly going to need them when you stand up, especially if you’re not wearing your bathing suit!

We are not even sure if this qualifies as a boat, but it sure is fun to look at. A few things strike us right from the get-go. First, yes, those are empty Bud Light cases that have been used to construct a watercraft of some sort, as well as a makeshift life vest and jousting helmet. At least it looks like a jousting helmet anyway. Second, check out that boat oar. Is that a shovel? If you answered yes, you would be correct. Which begs the question, how does this thing float? The guy in the Bud Light boat is obviously floating because his knees are above the water. How long he will stay that way is anyone’s guess. Yet, there is an even bigger question at play here. How much Bud Light does one person have to drink before they come up with the idea to use the empty boxes as a boat? The answer is staring us right in the face it would seem. By my count, it takes at least six or seven cases to solidly inebriate yourself to construct a boat out of cardboard and use a shovel as a paddle. Where are the Marine police when you need them, right? We’re just glad someone had a camera to capture the moment.

If you’re looking to make a homemade boat that breaks a few laws of physics, as well as a few flaws in general, check this one out. That old couch your grandmother had never looked so good, did it? These two seem to be quite proud of their concoction. We don’t even know if we can really call it a boat. At least they have an outboard motor to power the contraption while they lazily float around a lily pad saturated pond. As long as the Styrofoam holds up they should be good. However, they’re going to need more than a steam cleaner to get the marks off the bottom of that thing. Plus, I would be very careful about sticking my feet in the water while cruising. There might be an alligator in there. Even if you could catch him, I doubt he would fit in the cooler. If I were them, I would just take that couch back to the set of of That 70s Show. They probably miss it!

Here’s another cardboard race entry as reported by the Daily Herald in Chicago. It’s part of their annual boat race that takes place along the Miracle Mile, and this entry is quite a stunner. It appears that Caterpillar makes more than just earth moving equipment as evidenced by these two. At least the vessel is seaworthy, and it’s for good cause. If you noticed the sticker on the side of the cardboard vessel you can see that these guys are boating for the United Way. Whether or not they will win is anyone’s guess. Yet, you can’t question their construction skills. This is one of the more epic cardboard boats we have seen. It’s amazing what you can do with a few decals, some cardboard and paint. It would be great if we could get this one together with that space shuttle cardboard boat we saw earlier and let them have a go at it. One normally seen in flight, one normally seen on land, both in the water. That would be quite a matchup!

Never question genius, bottom line. Take a look at this clever boat. It would be pretty easy to construct when you take a hard look at it. Simply lop the legs off of the picnic table of your choice, and mount them onto a couple of trusty pontoons from that old boat you have that is no longer seaworthy. Strap on a trolling motor, buy a boat tag and you are all set. These guys seem to have taken the folding picnic table we saw earlier one step further. They added the umbrella, used a table that could actually be used for serving meals, and made one heck of a sweet homemade ride! It’s what happens when ingenuity meets desperation as someone say. Honestly thought, we are more inclined to believe that this is what happens when two old guys are bored and want something epic to build for their grandkids. I would say they nailed it. What about you?
news photo Patrick Hamilton / The Nelson Mail/

Who says Millennials are clueless? Look at these three enterprising young man. I’m assuming they asked their parents for a boat and were told no because they already had one and another one would be too expensive. They are probably not allowed to pilot the family boat solo either. So what are they supposed to do? Well, rather than get bitter and wine like most Millennials, these guys decided to build their own out of PVC pipe, some lattice strapping and a couple of plastic pontoons supported by an internal wooden frame. What’s even better, they took it one step further and made a sailboat. It’s like they have their own homemade version of a catamaran, ready to brave the lake! If I saw these guys out on the water, I would definitely give them a thumbs up. The building looks solid, and the thing floats too. Before you know it, they will be building their own cars and airplanes. Those will be featured in another post, I’m sure.


news photo Patrick Hamilton / The Nelson Mail/

news photo Patrick Hamilton / The Nelson Mail/

So the wife says you have to get rid of that old table. She doesn’t care what you do with it, she just wants it out of the house. Rather than throw it away, try to sell it or burn it, do with this fellow did. Make your own table boat. Now, while we can’t see what supports this vessel, we do know it’s not the table top. There must be a couple of pontoons underneath and several coats of varnish over the whole table to keep it from getting waterlogged and sinking. An even better explanation is this guy probably entered one of New Zealand’s homemade boat races. His number is plastered on the side, and the outboard motor clamped to the end of the table says it all. This guy is going for it! We are not sure if he will win since the table probably creates a lot of drag. Look at the bright side though. When the race is over all he has to do is flip it over and pull up a chair. Then he can eat his lunch on top of his boat, and take it back home. If his wife lets him that is. 

So it seems that Sebago has taken shoes to the next level with this homemade boat. It’s designed to look like they’re popular Docksides shoes, and we have to say, they did a really good job. Designed to advertise their popular brand, the company takes the boat around from bay to bay, to raise awareness and show off their creative genius. We have to say, it certainly is effective. After all, if you saw a giant shoe cruising down the water it would catch your eye, right? The sail is pretty much just for show though. The boat is powered by a nice engine slipped underneath the heel of the shoe. It drives much like a traditional boat, and looks pretty amazing. I wouldn’t mind taking a spin in it if given the chance. Who knows, I might even be convinced to buy a pair of those shoes afterwards too!

This lawn chair will travel. That’s pretty much the extent of this epic boat build. Looking at this drums up images I used to have in elementary school when we talked about cavemen. You think of people speaking in grunts and clicks, trying to build a fire by rubbing sticks together, etc. That’s essentially what we have with this watercraft, even though we have fast forwarded a few million years. The basics are there. You have a place to sit, a battery to power the trolling motor, and some nice buoyant pieces of something to serve as flotation to keep you upright in the water. My only concern would be the rear of the chair. It appears as if some sort of old mop or metal broom handle were used to mount the chair. Depending on your weight, that might bend in half when you sit down. That would be a problem if you plan on spending the afternoon out on the water. And since we are talking about spending time on the water, that’s all you would be doing. There are no places to hold drinks, rods and reels, fishing nets or anything for that matter. Nope, just you and a trolling motor… on the water. If you’re looking for a solitary experience, build one of these. This guy nailed it.

I would say these guys have been friends for quite some time, wouldn’t you? Take a look at this homemade beauty. So your friends have an old Dodge pickup and it doesn’t work anymore. They want to sell it, but they know that basically they will be giving it away because it is inoperable. Rather than do that, simply remove the bed and mount it to a couple of pontoons to serve as a makeshift boat. Then tell your friends you’re going tailgating on the water, and when they show up watch their jaws dropped because you literally mean you are going to tailgate on the water. Judging by the looks of the photo though, that would be a bad idea. These guys are dressed like it’s 20°. The trees in the background have no leaves and there is snow on the ground, so obviously this is a winter scene. So long as the tailgate remains closed, all is well. However, if things go south, these guys will be wet and freezing. Maybe building a makeshift boat out of a an old Dodge pickup was not such a good idea after all. If they ever invite me, I’ll stay on land and watch from a distance. At least that way somebody can call for help when the Dodge starts taking on water.

Okay, so this is one of the cooler homemade boats we have seen, because it’s really not a homemade boat at all. It’s called the Hammocraft and is designed to hold up to five people on the water. There are four hammocks that ring the outside of the vessel, with one spanning the center. As for the pontoons? Take a closer look. Those are paddle boards that can be used as drift boats, rafts, or duckies. It’s as versatile as it is cool. It’s easy to put together too. The aluminum hammock frame simply snaps together, and the outer arms are held together with tethers so they don’t stretch or strain too much. The only word of caution here would be weight distribution. You want to make sure that everything is evenly spaced on the Hammocraft, otherwise you might be in tip and flip land. Beyond that, enjoy a night out on the water sleeping under the stars alongside your friends. Pretty cool. We want one now!

So is this a bike or a boat? The answer is neither. Take a closer look. It’s a homemade contraption designed to move one person across the water, albeit not as smoothly as you might think. Obviously, those tires were not original to the bike frame. They have been modified and outfitted to add buoyancy and help support the weight load during displacement. Plus, those handlebars? They don’t work either. They are just for looks. Check out the oars and you have the full picture coming into focus. Now, onto the bigger question. Why in the world would you take something so heavy and clumsy and attempt to make it float? Well, our answer is who cares. We are just glad he did. It’s entertaining and fun to look at, and could be a good time too. Besides, imagine the size of your arms after rolling across the lake on that thing. They would be the size of your head! You could impress the ladies for sure. We give this guy kudos for such a creative build.

So it seems that there are other countries that host funny boat races. Check out this concoction from Sweden. It’s hosted by students from the local university in Uppsala. The race begins around 10AM and is marked by a grand fireworks display. Usually, around 1:30 or so, boats join the fray. They comprise everything from Mexican sombrero hats, like you see below, to people cruising along the river in what appears to be a large Teletubby. Yes, I said Teletubby. Of course, normal looking craft like Viking ships and Dragon boats are present as well. It’s a great way for students to let loose, enjoy an afternoon marked with oddity and spectacle. It’s a massive festival complete with food and fun, but there is one catch. In this part of Sweden public drinking is outlawed. The crowds don’t seem to mind though, as long as the boats keep floating by.

And now we have a category called what the heck is this actually? To be honest, I’m not sure. It looks like this makeshift vessel is powered by a generator, at least as far as I can tell. A big blue storage drum with two smaller pontoons appear to keep it upright, and the handlebars are attached to a rudder of sorts for steering. The bow of the boat has obviously been fabricated to help part the water and reduce drag. It looks like it would be handy for storage too, but beyond this I’m not sure what you would use it for. This almost looks like something out of an Indiana Jones meets James Bond movie if you ask me. At any rate, it’s very clever and seems to be much more efficient than some of the other homemade vessels we have seen in this list. It just goes to show what can happen when a need arises and spare parts abound.

This homemade vessel is designed by Filipino villagers from the village of Tanauan. It all came about from two things, necessity and tragedy. You see, after Super Typhoon Haiyan came through and destroyed the village, the villagers were left without boats. They also needed houses too. In an effort to rebuild, they looked to what was available and begin crafting two-seater boats out of abandoned refrigerators and pieces of wood. The first person to do so was a fisherman named Jimmy Obaldo. He created one for his two children, then improved on the design. Other people saw what he was doing and noticed how successful they were, so they began making them too The bamboo keeps the vessels from toppling over, and the deep refrigerator wells provide space for the fish they catch. It’s one way to start over again after such a massive tragedy. The typhoon left more than 4,000 people dead and over 4 million people displaced. It’s good to see a homemade boat with a purpose, that actually serves to give an entire village a fresh start.