Simple Cardboard Boat


Find an empty milk carton or similar container. Rinse out thoroughly.


Use a hobby knife to carefully cut around the carton.

Please be careful in using sharp objects to cut items and adults should assist younger makers.

Cut a small notch in the back of the boat, this will provide space for the rudder to project out from the back of the boat.

The Rudder

There is a lot of experimenting to be had in the rudder department. 

These two examples demonstrate how to create a simple and straightforward rudder, and a more complex, bio-inspired cardboard & tape rudder to power your boat. 

Comparing different types of rudders can be lots of fun, experiment with these two types or come up with your own versions to see what makes your boat go fastest!

Simple Rudder


Straighten out a paper clip.

Bend it in half, then introduce two small 90° bends at the tips. 

Stick the ends of the paper clip into the servo arm, press arm onto servo horn. 

Cut a flap out of scrap milk carton and hot glue this to the paper clip.

Fish-Tail Rudder


Cut three square pieces of cardboard.

Lay these out on the piece of tape, leaving a small gap (~1/8", ~3mm) between them.

Place another piece of tape over the top and press together.

Test out your rudder to see how it moves!

Attach Rudder


Attach the rudder of your choice to the servo motor.

Water Resistance


Before setting sail it's a good idea to place your electronics in a plastic bag for an extra layer of water protection.

This guide was first published on Mar 15, 2019. It was last updated on Mar 15, 2019.

This page (Cardboard Boat) was last updated on Feb 28, 2019.

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