Engineering Week - Recycled Boats

Hello everyone! My name is Missy Maxwell, and I'm back as the guest blogger today to give you some fun ideas to create your own recycled boat.  A little about me, I’m an artist who grew up in Utah but moved to Olympia, Washington 10 years ago for college and stayed. When I’m not doing art, I love to explore the beautiful forests and beaches around my area. 

What can you find around your house, inside and outside, that will make a boat? Using things that might otherwise be thrown away is a great way to recycle (re-use). Let’s use our imaginations and figure out how to build our very own boats.

Design Your Recycled Boat


  • Items from your recycling bin (plastic cups, egg cartons, yogurt cup, paper towel rolls, etc.)
  • Items from your yard (sticks, leaves, flowers, etc.)
  • Tape or glue
  • Plastic storage bin, sink or bathtub


  1. Gather supplies. This is up to you, use what you have, make it work. 
  2. Fill a storage bin, sink, or bathtub with water.
  3. Test each recycled item and outside item to see how well it floats. 
  4. If you think an item might float better in another shape, modify it (by cutting, folding, gluing, etc).
  5. Take what you’ve learned and brainstorm ways to put items together to build a boat. You can even draw a plan if that helps.
  6. Put your plan into action.
    7. Test your completed boat to see if it floats. 
  7. Have fun!

Great job! You engineered a boat! Now if you’d like to, you can test how much weight your boat will hold by adding pennies one by one. Or you can see how far your boat will travel by adding a sail. The possibilities are endless!