Building a boat might sound like a big project – and depending on the kind of boat you want, it can be. However, with the right plan, it’s far from impossible, offering you the prospect of owning a boat without spending huge amounts of money on it.
For anyone who thinks that sounds like a fun challenge, we’ve had a look online to see what other people have been trying – and as a result, here are our favorite 27 DIY boat plans you might like to have a go at copying at home.
Table of Contents
- 1. How to Build a Boat – Popularmechanics.com
- 2. How to Build A Sneak Boat – Kara Hummer Plans
- 3. Know how: Build Your Own Boat – Sail Magazine
- 4. Build a 7.5ft Boat with 2 Sheets of Plywood
- 5. Build your own 12′ X 4′ Simple Aluminum Boat – Boat Design Net
- 6. DIY Foldable Boat for Only 30$! Fits in Car Backseat!
- 7. Build a Wooden Boat – Mother Earth News
- 8. Portable Boat Plans
- 9. Weekender Sailboat Build
- 10. Swamp boats
- 11. Welcome to My Dreamboat Project
- 12. Homemade Pontoon Boat: 8 Steps (with Pictures) – Instructables
- 13. $100 Homemade Kayak
- 14. How to Build a Recumbent Pontoon Pedal Boat – Mother Earth News
- 15. How to make Boat Using PVC Pipe and 42cc 2-Stroke Engine
- 16. Pontoon Boat Picnic Table: 8 Steps (with Pictures) – Instructables
- 17. Wooden Boat Building Step 1: Lofting Boat Plans
- 18. Homebuilt Pontoon Boat/Double-Hull Kayak
- 19. Homemade Cooler Fishing Boat with Foldable Pontoons
- 20. Simbo
- 21. DIY Boat Plan: A Rowboat Can Support a Trolling Motor
- 22. Building a Wooden Boat: 12 Steps (with Pictures) – Instructables
- 23. One sheet Sampan
- 24. Building a Cheap Sail Catamaran
- 25. Couple Builds Wooden Yacht in Backyard – 5-year Amazing Time Lapse
- 26. Plywood Lath Coracle
- 27. DIY Simple Wooden Toy Boat: Woodworking for Kids
- Lots of great plans for all kinds of boats
1. How to Build a Boat – Popularmechanics.com
If you’re toying with the idea of building your own boat, this post will be a fascinating read. In it, this DIYer explains how he dusted off some decades-old plans for building a boat to try his hand at his ancestral trade. It takes you through the process in great detail, giving you plenty of info about each step, so once you’ve finished reading, you’ll have a much better idea about whether this is a project you want to tackle.
2. How to Build A Sneak Boat – Kara Hummer Plans
For anyone who enjoys duck hunting and who wants to try building their own sneak boat, this is a video for you. In it, this YouTuber explains how he tackled a similar project, giving you all the tips and advice you’ll need to make a success of your project when it’s your turn to try.
3. Know how: Build Your Own Boat – Sail Magazine
This post is not exactly a plan as such, but it’s full of the kind of useful information that any first-time boatbuilder should know. The writer starts off by listing all the reasons why you really shouldn’t build your own boat – and if after reading that, you’re still determined to go ahead with it, his experience and advice will help make sure you make the best job of it.
4. Build a 7.5ft Boat with 2 Sheets of Plywood
Depending on what you hope to achieve – as well as your previous DIY and boat-building experience – your chances of success when trying to build your own boat can vary enormously. However, if what you hope to make is a modest boat of the kind you can take into a lake for a day of fishing, that’s the kind of thing most people can hope to achieve. And if that sounds like you, this video tutorial will show you how to make a serviceable 7.5ft craft from two sheets of plywood.
5. Build your own 12′ X 4′ Simple Aluminum Boat – Boat Design Net
The aluminum boat this post teaches you to make is suitable for rowing or being propelled by a small motor. It’s ideal for sheltered inland waterways for activities like fishing, and if that sounds like the kind of thing you want to make, this post includes pdf plans that tell you exactly how to do it.
6. DIY Foldable Boat for Only 30$! Fits in Car Backseat!
Making a DIY boat doesn’t need to cost a fortune, and if you’re on a limited budget, this is the plan for you. In it, you’ll learn how to make a small foldable boat that you’ll be able to fit in the back seat of your car – without spending more than about $30. Sound like something you’d like to try? Then give the video a watch!
7. Build a Wooden Boat – Mother Earth News
In this post, you’ll find detailed instructions for making a simple yet elegant wooden boat that would be perfect for fishing trips out onto a lake or many other similar activities. We like the way this plan includes a simple step-by-step guide along with plenty of diagrams to show you exactly what you need to do, allowing you to make something just like it at home.
8. Portable Boat Plans
This is a great resource for anyone who is thinking of building themselves a simple pleasure craft since it contains not just one but several relatively easy boat-building plans. You can browse the plan and choose from a swan boat, a sheet ply skiff, a composite cruiser and several others. And then when you know which one you want to build, this site has all the details you’ll need to make a success of it.
9. Weekender Sailboat Build
For those looking for a more ambitious project, this video should be worth a look. In it, you get to see the development as this YouTuber’s sailboat took shape between September 2001 and summer 2002. It’s not exactly the kind of plan you’ll be able to follow exactly, but his impressive work should be a source of inspiration. Then it’s just down to you to find out how to build something similar yourself.
10. Swamp boats
As you can see from the photos in this post, boats like this have been around for many years – and boats like this are found around the world anywhere that shallow waters or swamps exist. They’re simple to make too, and this plan gives you all the info you need to make one, including sourcing the wood from growing trees and putting the whole thing together. A fun project and one we’re sure plenty of people will enjoy attempting.
11. Welcome to My Dreamboat Project
If you’re looking for a long watch – and a possible source of inspiration – this video is the first part of a multi-episode series about how this YouTuber went about building his dream boat. For those who are interested, it’s sure to give you some ideas about what’s possible – as well as plenty of ideas for how to tackle it.
12. Homemade Pontoon Boat: 8 Steps (with Pictures) – Instructables
We love the way the boat in this tutorial looks. It’s so basic and unpretentious, but it also looks like a whole lot of fun. Want to know how to make one yourself? Then check out this post for more details.
13. $100 Homemade Kayak
Buying a ready-made kayak can set you back a whole lot of money, but with a few basic DIY skills and a little bit of determination, you can build one yourself for much less. This video teaches you how to make one for only $100, offering a saving that sounds too good to refuse.
14. How to Build a Recumbent Pontoon Pedal Boat – Mother Earth News
If you’ve ever wanted to own your own pedal boat, this is the plan for you because it teaches you how to build one yourself! It discusses important issues like flotation and gives you all the information you need to complete the project. And if you think you’d like to have a go, why not see if you can build something similar?
15. How to make Boat Using PVC Pipe and 42cc 2-Stroke Engine
Here’s an original idea we loved! In this video, this YouTuber shows us how he built a functioning boat – out of PVC pipe! It’s certainly unconventional, but it looks like it works perfectly. So if anyone is looking for a fun and off-the-wall to try project, this could be just the thing!
16. Pontoon Boat Picnic Table: 8 Steps (with Pictures) – Instructables
The boat in this plan is one of our favorites because, while technically it’s a DIY pontoon boat, in practice, it’s more like a floating picnic table. With a boat like this, you can power out to the middle of the lake before cutting the engine and enjoying a nice lunch in perfect tranquility. This is something we’re thinking of trying ourselves!
17. Wooden Boat Building Step 1: Lofting Boat Plans
This video is the first instalment in a series of tutorials detailing how this YouTuber built a boat from scratch. This part deals with the start of the project and lofting the boat plans, but if you like the way he works, you can also check out the other videos he’s uploaded and see how the final thing turns out.
18. Homebuilt Pontoon Boat/Double-Hull Kayak
For anyone who wants to make a functional boat without spending a fortune, this plan is perfect. The boat it teaches you to make is very “DIY” since it’s made of nothing more than PVC piping and some other similarly inexpensive materials. However, it looks like it floats, so if that’s all you need – and you aren’t too worried about looking flash – this is a plan that could be fun to copy.
19. Homemade Cooler Fishing Boat with Foldable Pontoons
If you like fishing and you’re looking for ideas for an individual fishing boat, you’re going to love this video. In it, we get to see this YouTuber’s eccentric creation that, to us, looks a bit like a floating armchair perched on top of three coolers. But that sounds like all you need for a great fishing trip, right? And we’re sure lots of people will enjoy trying to make something similar.
The sub-heading to this plan is “as simple as it can get”, and that’s a pretty accurate way of describing this boat, both in terms of design and construction. The details state it has a displacement of 230lbs, so it can comfortably accommodate one person, allowing you to get out on the water without spending much money at all.
21. DIY Boat Plan: A Rowboat Can Support a Trolling Motor
This short tutorial gives you a simple suggestion for building a motorboat that is both easy and inexpensive to make. In the video, you can see that the boat struggles a little with two people in it, but it still works. This could be a great project to attempt for anyone who wants to have a go at building their first boat, and if that includes you, it’s recommended watching.
22. Building a Wooden Boat: 12 Steps (with Pictures) – Instructables
This is the third plan we’ve included from the Instructables website, but this is by far the most professional of the three. The boat this tutorial teaches you to build looks as though it could have been made by a professional. The plan is easy to follow though, so if this is the kind of boat you want, this is a post that should be well worth a look.
23. One sheet Sampan
As this post explains, a sampan is a type of boat from Southeast Asia, and the word “sampan” comes from the Chinese meaning “three planks”. They are a popular boat in the region because they are easy to construct and extremely reliable, and if you’d like to try building one yourself, this plan will teach you how to do it.
24. Building a Cheap Sail Catamaran
This is a plan for anyone who’s up for a challenge because in it, you’ll learn how to make a DIY sail catamaran. The video is only about five minutes long, but as long you have some reasonable DIY skills and a bit of common sense, it shouldn’t be too hard to replicate, so why not see if you’re up to the task?
25. Couple Builds Wooden Yacht in Backyard – 5-year Amazing Time Lapse
While not many people will have the time, skills or determination to finish a project like the one in this video, we still thought it merits a place on our list because of how impressive what they did is. Over five years, this couple built their own boat from scratch, and this video documents their progress. Check it out – it will blow your mind!
26. Plywood Lath Coracle
Among the very first boats ever invented, the coracle is a simple design that’s easy to make and fun to play about in. And if you think you might like to have a go, this is the plan that will teach you how to do it!
27. DIY Simple Wooden Toy Boat: Woodworking for Kids
Perhaps building a real full-sized boat might be a bit much for you – but if you have kids, maybe making a miniature toy one with them could still be fun. It could also be a way to fire their creativity and imagination, and who knows? When they grow up, maybe they’ll build a real one for you in return!
Lots of great plans for all kinds of boats
As you can see, whatever kind of boat you hope to build, there are all kinds of plans that will show you how to do it.
We’ve enjoyed collecting these plans for you, so we hope you’ve enjoyed reading and watching them too. And above all, we hope we’ve helped you find the plan you were looking for to build a DIY boat of your own.