How To Build A Kayak From Scratch


Building your own kayak is a satisfying experience once you see the finished product. At the same time, it can also be frustrating, especially if you are not a handyman. It is quite a challenge to create the best kayaks that will float on water, making sure you are safe and sound. With patience and determination, however, nothing is impossible! 

If you want to build a kayak, we got you! Read on and we’ll share easy steps on how you can do it! 

A Step-by-Step Guide to Build a Kayak 

There are many ways to build a kayak, but in the steps that we’ll be listing down below, we are focused on doing it using PVC pipe and tarp. If you want to build your own fiberglass kayak, that is a more complicated task, and we’ll not deal with that in this guide. 

1. Create the Kayak Skeleton 

Assuming that you have already gathered all the materials you will need for the job, start by creating the skeleton of the kayak. This is the most important step as this will determine how strong the kayak will be. It will be the foundation of the different parts of the kayak

You will need to cut your PVC pipes into portions depending on the kayak length. Cut one-inch PVC pipes into four segments. The top segments should be 2 x 2.5 m and the bottom segments should be 2 x 2.7 m. These segments will be the structural frame of the kayak. The end of the pipe should also be cut at 45 degrees. 

Now, work with your .5-inch PVC pipes for the supporting frame. The cuts should be 2 x 40 cm, 4 x 35 cm, 2 x 60 cm, and 2 x 70 cm. 

Connect the two 2.5m segments of PVC pipes facing each other. Use duct tape. Make sure that the tape is tight. To join the surfaces, you can also consider using epoxy glue as an alternative. 

Next, connect the top and bottom frames using a copper rod. You will need to drill holes in the pipe to make this connection. Once this is ready, add the supporting frames. 

2. Install the Seat 

Once the frame is ready, the next thing that you have to attach is the kayak seat. You do not have to build one from scratch. Before attaching the seat, lay a wood plank. This will serve as the platform of the kayak. Use a lightweight but sturdy wood. 

Drill holes on the wood. Then zip-tie the seat to the platform. After attaching the seat, fill the bottom part with foam or any other material. This is to build a solid platform. 

3. Wrap with Tarp 

Now that you have the seat in place, the next thing to do is to wrap the skeleton of the frame. Make sure to use a durable tarp, as this will have a huge impact on the overall quality of the kayak that you will be building. The tarp should also be waterproof. 

When laying the tarp on the foundation of the kayak that you are building, start diagonally. As you put another layer of the tarp, make sure that you flatten it as much as possible. This will make the kayak look better. 

Once you are done wrapping the pipes with a tarp, use duct tape to close it. This is an important procedure since this will prevent water from getting in. Use good duct tape to be sure that it won’t unravel when it is wet. After all this, you can now test the kayak. Do not forget to bring your kayak paddle

4. Add an Outrigger 

This step is optional. If you are not confident that the kayak will float, then it is a good idea to add an outrigger. This will make the design well-balanced, minimizing the chances that the kayak will capsize. In case the kayak capsizes, make sure that you are ready to perform a kayak self-rescue

5. Test the Kayak 

Now comes the moment of truth! It’s time to test the kayak! If you have a pool, this is a good place to start. Otherwise, go to a lake or any calm and shallow body of water. While you were able to successfully build a kayak, this does not mean that the kayak can be used in deep and rough water. 



Q: How much does it cost to build a kayak?


The cost of building your own kayak can range from $50 to $200, depending on the materials that you will use. The cheapest would be a PVC and tarp kayak. If you will build your own fiberglass kayak, then the costs will go up because of the more expensive materials.

Q: How do you build a simple kayak?


To build a simple kayak, you will need a PVC pipe and tarp. The first thing you will need to do is to build the skeleton, which will define the kayak’s shape. Install a seat and wrap the pipe with a tarp.

Q: How do you make plywood for a kayak?


To make plywood for kayak, you will need a drill, circular saw, jigsaw, ruler, and pen. Take the necessary measurements and cut the plywood depending on the measurements of the kayak that you plan to build.

Q: How long does it take to build a kayak?


Building a kayak can take 15 to 30 hours for a simple design. This is a kayak made of pipe and tarp, which is the simplest to build. For more advanced designs and materials, it can take 100 to 200 hours. 

Globo Surf Overview 

To build a kayak, you will need a PVC pipe, seat, and a tarp, among other materials. This is a simple kayak. For more advanced designs, you can use wood and fiberglass. It is not an easy task, especially if you are a beginner. With the right knowledge of how to build a kayak and a lot of patience, however, the job can be a lot easier.

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Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!