Build A Boat

Want to row a cardboard boat in the upcoming Cardboard Classic? Check out these helpful tips on how to build the best boat!

Lake County Rowing Association will offer boat building packages on site Friday before and Saturday of the event for those who want to build their boat last-minute. The cost is $20 per package and includes:

* One (1) sheet of 48″ x 60″ corrugated cardboard
* One roll of duck tape
* One large plastic bag

Feel free to add your own materials to the mix, our hope is that this starter kit will help provide a solid foundation for your creativity to shine through!


Approved Materials:

  • Corrugated cardboard, carpet tubes, cardboard blocks
  • All tapes
  • Newspaper
  • All single part glues
  • Liquid nail
  • Paint, varnish, shellac
  • One (1) large plastic bag

Illegal Materials:

  • Nails, staples
  • 2 part epoxy glues
  • Flexseal
  • Caulking
  • wood, plastic (other one single bag), rubber, inflatable devices, Styrofoam, fiberglass.

Where to Buy:

  • Amazon (free boxes!)
  • Hardware stores (Ace, etc.)
  • Home Improvement stores (Home Depot, Lowes)
  • Appliance stores
  • Carpet stores
  • Department stores
  • Discount clubs (BJ’s, Sam’s)
  • Electronics stores (Best Buy)
  • Recycling centers
  • Moving companies


  1. The ENTIRE boat must be built from cardboard. Paddles can be manufactured and made of any material.
  2. Duct tape may be used on any part of or all of the boat.
  3. Corrugated cardboard, carpet tubes, cardboard blocks can be found at recycling centers, appliance stores, department stores, discount clubs, electronics stores. Pre-treated cardboard such as waxed cardboard is allowed.
  4. All paint & varnished cardboard must be cured prior to boat launch.
  5. Fastening material must be from approved product list (see above). Hull wrapping in duct tape is allowed.
  6. Decorations are allowed and encouraged provided they are not used as structural or floatation elements.
  7. Crew costumes are encouraged.
  8. Design is left to builder(s). Let your imagination take over. NO wood, plastic, rubber, inflatable devices, styrofoam, fiberglass or plastic. NO caulking compounds, two-part/mixed adhesives, epoxy mixtures or coatings are allowed. NO electrical, gasoline, benzene, propane or other chemical or electrical propulsion systems are permitted.
  9. NO surfboard style boat or raft is allowed. Boats must have sides.
  10. The crew compartment CANNOT be enclosed so as to interfere with escape.
  11. Each boat must carry a closed gallon plastic jug (or PFD) with 15’ rope tether firmly secured to the vessel. Gallon jugs (or PFD) are to remain inside boat while racing, they are not to be used as floatation for the vessel. This is for use in locating and retrieving any sunken remains.
  12. All participants must wear a Coast Guard approved PFD (life jacket).  
  13. Paddles – Manufactured paddles of any material can be used.