Water-Wise DIY: A Guide to Building Your Own Boat

Water-Wise DIY: A Guide to Building Your Own Boat

Leisure time is one of the most important things in life. It’s a time that allows us to recover from a busy week, rest after a stressful project and rejuvenate ourselves so we can focus on work, raising kids and other responsibilities in life.

And there are many different things you can do for leisure. Some people enjoy games, puzzles and crafting. Others enjoy exercise, sports and adventure. Others still enjoy the great outdoors, camping and hunting.

But what if your idea of the perfect leisure hobby is to build a boat that you can then take out on the open water for a paddle? 

Well, you’re in luck, because in this article we’ll get water-wise and teach you how to DIY building your own watercraft.

Build a Plywood Kayak

Did you know you can build a kayak quite easily, using marine plywood and a few tools and materials?

Yep, that’s right, and we’re going to share how. 

You can do this using a technique called “stitch and glue”, which is a perfect way to build a water craft out of thin plywood.

Basically, you cut out panels according to a plan, then wire them together using copper wire. The wire is the stitches.

Then, once the panels are in shape and all fitted together, you use an adhesive to glue the panels together.

After the glue has set, you remove the wire, and cover the kayak in a layer of fibreglass cloth, which is covered with epoxy resin which makes the wood strong, and more importantly – waterproof.

Finally, you’ll plane off or sand back the excess fibreglass. 

What Type of Plywood? 

Now, as mentioned above, you’ll want a decent marine grade plywood for this project – 4mm thick is the right density.

If you’re on a budget you could swap out the epoxy resin for polyester resin, but epoxy is the best bet for a long-lasting waterproof kayak.

What Tools Will You Need?

You will need some tools to build a plywood kayak, like with any DIY project. 

You’re going to need a saw of some sort to cut the plywood into the appropriately sized panels.

A powered jigsaw is a great idea, but in a pinch, you could use a handsaw – it will just take a bit longer, and you’ll need a decent amount of elbow grease and effort to cut it all to shape and size.

You’ll also need a power drill to drill the holes in the plywood for the wire stitching.

Wire cutters will come in handy too, to cut the wire.

An appropriate adhesive for the plywood is also recommended. A specialised wood or plywood glue is the right choice here – CA glue, for instance.

For your epoxy glue mixture, you can actually use a zip lock freezer bag with a corner cut out. You use it like you would use a cake mixing bag, by squeezing the glue toward the hole and spreading it along the seams of the plywood joints.

Finally, you’ll need a block planer tool to smooth off the fibreglass once this is applied. A sanding block can work as well, but its not as quick and efficient as a block planer.


There you have it. In this informative article, we’ve explained the water wise DIY – and how you can build your own plywood kayak.

We’ve also shared a list of tools and materials that you will need for this project.

Once you are finished, you’re ready to take your waterproof, handmade kayak out on the open water.

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