Putt Putt Boat Diy: A Fun And Easy Project For Water Enthusiasts

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Are you looking for a fun and engaging DIY project to do this year? Why not try building your very own putt putt boat? Putt putt boats, also known as pop-pop boats or tin boats, are small steam-powered vessels that are easy to build and can provide hours of entertainment on the water. In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to create your own putt putt boat, as well as some tips and tricks to enhance its performance.

Materials Needed

Before we dive into the construction process, let’s take a look at the materials you will need for this project. Don’t worry, most of these items can be easily found around your house or purchased at a local hardware store:

  • A small aluminum or tin can
  • A small tea light candle
  • Scissors
  • A small copper tubing
  • Epoxy glue
  • A small drill
  • A ruler
  • A marker
  • A heat source (e.g. stove or lighter)
  • A body of water to test your boat

Step 1: Preparing the Can

The first step in building your putt putt boat is to prepare the can. Start by thoroughly cleaning the can to ensure there are no leftover food particles or labels. Once cleaned, use a marker and ruler to draw a straight line around the can, roughly 1 inch from the bottom. This will serve as a guide for cutting the can in the next step.

Step 2: Cutting the Can

Using a pair of scissors, carefully cut the can along the marked line. Make sure to take your time and use smooth, even strokes to ensure a clean cut. Once the bottom part of the can is removed, discard it or set it aside for future use in other projects.

Step 3: Creating the Engine

Now it’s time to create the engine for your putt putt boat. Take the small copper tubing and bend it into a U-shape. The two ends of the tubing should be pointing in opposite directions. This U-shape will act as the exhaust pipes for the boat’s engine. Use epoxy glue to secure the tubing in place on the inside of the can, near the back end.

Step 4: Installing the Candle

Next, take the tea light candle and remove it from its metal casing. Place the candle inside the can, towards the front end. Make sure the candle is secure and centered, so it doesn’t tip over during operation. You can use a small amount of epoxy glue to hold the candle in place if needed.

Step 5: Creating the Propeller

To create the propeller for your putt putt boat, take the discarded bottom part of the can and flatten it. Use a small drill to create a hole in the center of the flattened piece. This will serve as the attachment point for the propeller. You can experiment with different sizes and shapes for the propeller blades to find the one that works best for your boat.

Step 6: Attaching the Propeller

Attach the propeller to the outside of the can, at the back end. Make sure it is securely fastened and aligned properly. You can use epoxy glue or a small screw to hold the propeller in place. Ensure that the propeller blades are positioned to push water towards the back of the boat, creating forward motion.

Step 7: Testing and Troubleshooting

With your putt putt boat fully assembled, it’s time to take it for a test drive. Fill a basin or bathtub with water and place your boat in it. Light the candle and wait for the steam to build up, which will propel the boat forward. If your boat doesn’t move or moves sluggishly, check for any leaks, adjust the position of the candle, or experiment with different propeller designs.

Step 8: Fine-Tuning Performance

Once your boat is up and running, you can further enhance its performance by making some adjustments. Try placing a small weight, such as a coin, near the front or back of the boat to change its balance and speed. You can also experiment with different candle types or even replace the candle with a small alcohol burner for more power.


Building your own putt putt boat is a rewarding and enjoyable DIY project that can provide hours of entertainment. Whether you’re a seasoned water enthusiast or just looking for a fun activity to do with your friends or family, this project is sure to bring a smile to your face. So gather your materials, follow the steps outlined in this article, and get ready to set sail on your very own homemade putt putt boat!