This boat combines an empty quart container, which serves as our watertight vessel, and a bit of scrap cardboard to hold the electronics and position the water screws. 

The Vessel


To begin, find an empty quart container (either cardboard or plastic will do). Be sure to give it a good rinse.


Slice the top off the quart container, creating a deep, open boat. Your vessel is ready for the high seas!

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

Cut a "T" shape out of cardboard.

The body of the T should be just wide enough to fit in the boat, and the arms should extend about 1 inch off each side.

Prep Servo


Find the circular disc that comes with the servo motor and connect it to the servo horn.

Make sure to use the small screw supplied with the motor to hold the mount in place! This will ensure the propellors stay attached when powering the boat through the water.

Attach Motors


Use double sided tape or hot glue to attach each servo to the cardboard arms, ensuring the circular discs point towards the back of the boat.



Create a small platform for the Circuit Playground Express to sit on using of two small rectangles of cardboard with pieces of double sided tape of each side.

Hot Glue Propellers


Create each propeller by drawing a spiral of hot glue around a wooden skewer.


Gradually build up layer upon layer of hot glue to create a wide spiral.


Hot glue can burn skin and should not be used such that it might create a fire hazard. Please assist younger Makers with this step.

This time lapse shows the process of creating a hot glue Archimedean screw by adding layer after layer of hot glue in a spiral pattern around a wooden skewer.

Create two of these Archimedean screws, trying to keep them both as symmetrical as possible.

Propeller Mount


Trim the pointy end off of the skewer.


Cut a cardboard disc and use the trimmed pointy bit to poke a hole through it.


Secure the mounting disc to the end of the skewer with a large dab of hot glue.

Attach Propellers


Use hot glue to attach each propeller to the circular disc on each continuous rotation servo.

Your electronics and propeller package should now be able to sit comfortably in your boat.

You can increase or decrease the angle that the propellers sit in the water by creating adjusting a crease in the cardboard platform. 

Motor Speed Adjustment


If you find your motors aren't spinning at exactly the same speed, or don't come to a full stop, you can fix this by making tiny adjustments to the potentiometer on the bottom of the motor.


Problem: My motors aren't spinning!

Solution: Make sure that your Circuit Playground Express is connected to a power source (anywhere between 3V-5V is safe). If you're using a AAAx3 battery pack, check that the switch on the battery pack is set to "ON". If using a LiPo battery, please make sure it is charged.

Problem: My Circuit Playground Express doesn't show up as CPLAYBOOT


  • Be sure you have a Circuit Playground Express.  The Classic will not work with MakeCode.
  • Some USB cables are "charge-only" and won't pass data. Try using a different USB cable and try using a different USB port on your computer.  
  • With the Circuit Playground plugged into your computer with a micro USB cable, click the small reset button in the center of the board. The lights should all turn green. If they don't, try double-clicking the reset button.

If things still aren't working, head over to the Intro to Circuit Playground Express guide for more suggestions.

This guide was first published on May 14, 2019. It was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

This page (Create your Boat) was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

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