How to build a kayak using discarded plastic bottles

Discarded plastic bottles kayak

Make this planet a better place by building an eco friendly kayak. Plastics as well as all know are non biodegradable and pollute the environment. Plastic bottles are consumed on a large scale and less than 5% of these are recycled every year. Instead of throwing them out as trash, recycle or reuse them. Plastic bottles are lightweight and float easily. So if you have gathered a huge number of these then you can build a kayak from them. An inventive and simple project, building a kayak from plastic bottles is real easy.

Difficulty Level:

Moderately Challenging: May require expertise in few areas

Time required

It depends on your craftsmanship and expertise. If you haven’t built any contraptions as yet it could take some time. Set aside 2-7 days for the construction.

Resources required

1. Metal wire mesh

2. Plastic bottles

3. Tarp

4. Plywood

5. Pole

6. Wooden, plastic and metal junk or scrap pieces

7. Duct tape

8. Rope

9. Glue

10. Scissors


1. You will be using a metal wire mesh as the base and plastic bottles will be fastened below it to keep your dinghy afloat.

2. First, lay out the wire mesh on the ground. Decide upon the dimensions of your kayak and cut out the base accordingly. Add a few bottles to the base and see how much distance they cover. Estimate the total number of bottles required to build 3-4 layers.

3. Check out the water bottles. Make sure that they are empty and clean. Segregate the ones that have caps from the bottles without caps. A sizable number is needed to bear the body weight of passengers. Now fasten the bottles with caps to the wire mesh with ropes or duct tapes.

4. It is really important to add more weigh at the bottom, centered towards the middle of the boat. Materials like plastic, metal, and wood should be added to the bottom of the ferry. Since this is a recycling project, try to use junk or disposed things made from these materials.

5. Use a tarp or any other plastic sheet to seal the bottom half after you have finished construction. Measure and cut out then pull it over and secure tight with a zipper, glue or duct tape.

6. A paddle for your sailboat is a must. You can use an old one discarded or build a new one from plywood.

Frequently asked questions

What materials can I add to the bottom of the ship to add weight?

Use cans, hooks, old utensils, and any other metallic scrap that you can find. Pieces of wooden furniture or décor and wood chunks gathered from the forest are a great idea. Bundle up old plastic items like scrabble tiles, coasters, clips, etc and tie them below. You can also use the leftover wire mesh and bottles without caps here. Balance out the weight of these substances evenly across.

What are some good ideas to make the paddle of the boat?

You can also fix a wooden, metallic, or plastic pole to the disc base of the paddle with tapes or a rope. Buy the handle from a craft shop or use a dowel. Try to find some junk in the scrap yard that you can get a firm grip on.

Quick tips

It is better to use a discarded metal wire mesh to add to the eco quotient of this project. You can scout for one in a local scrap yard. A good idea is to use frames from an old chicken cage. Also if you have some wire mesh leftover then use it to make beams and joists that add extra support.

You can use the tarp or plastic sheet to make the sails also. Collect your plastic bottles from friends, family, and the neighbors.

Things to watch out for

If you are reusing an old mesh then it might bend or curve a little. Put some weight on top of the mesh and leave it resting on top of the mesh for a few days. You can use heavy luggage bags, wooden tables flipped over, drums filled with water or anything else with a substantial weight.

After adding the bottles and before you seal the base with tarp, take your dinghy out for a test ride. Make sure that the boat can take your weight for a sufficient time. The tarp should be bundled carefully as the wire mesh can bore holes in it.