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How to Make a Pirate Raft Using Pool Noodles

Fun Pool Float for Kids

Ahoy mateys! Are you looking for a fun pool float for the kids this summer? If so, you should try constructing this super cool pirate raft made out of pool noodles. Your children will have the best time pretending to sail the high seas, searching for lost treasure, and adding an "Argh!" after every sentence.

My mother and I heard about this raft idea made out of pool noodles from two of my sweet little cousins. Because of my boys' love for everything pirate, we decided to take it one step further and make it into a pirate themed raft. By following the below step-by-step directions, you too can create a fun pool float for your kids that will provide hours of endless entertainment this summer.

How to Make a Raft Using Pool Noodles

The main part of the pirate raft is the base made out of foam swimming pool noodles. If you assemble these noodles properly using small plastic pipes and nylon rope, you will make a fun float that your kids can enjoy all summer long. For this part of the project, we used four pieces of cord channel for the plastic pipes. You can find this item at any hardware store located in the cord organization section. Below you will find a list of supplies and step-by-step directions for creating the base of this raft.

Supplies:

  • Foam pool noodles (13)
  • Nylon rope (100 ft)
  • Small plastic pipes (4)
  • Box cutter
  • Tape measure
  • Sharpie marker

Directions:

  1. Place 12 of the foam pool noodles side by side. Measure 4 inches from both ends and mark with a sharpie marker. Also mark the center of each noodle at 16 and 32 inches.
  2. Take a box cutter or other sharp knife and cut a small circle around the measured marks. Firmly push through to the center of the noodle with your finger or thumb. (Tip: If you are having trouble pushing through the noodles, use a screwdriver or other sharp object to help open up the holes.)
  3. After these circles have been cut out, take your small plastic pipe measuring approximately 30 inches long and push through each of the noodles. Carefully repeat this process with the other 3 pipes making sure to stay in the center of each noodle.
  4. Cut the nylon rope into 4 pieces measuring approximately 12 feet each. Insert the rope into each pipe and tie a knot at both ends to prevent it from slipping out.
  5. Weave the rope back and forth between the noodles to help secure the base of the raft. Tie a knot after the weaving is complete.
  6. Cut the final pool noodle into two pieces measuring approximately 30 inches each. Tie these noodles on top of the attached noodles at both ends with the rope. Once these noodles are in place, the base of your pirate raft is complete.

Mast for the Pirate Raft

Our completed mast for the pirate raft.

Our completed mast for the pirate raft.

How to Make a Pirate Flag

At the top of our pirate raft, we attached a pirate flag made out of a folder and pirate themed Duck tape. Cut a folder into a triangle shape and wrap it with the skull and crossbones tape. Once completed, attach the flag to the top of the mast with the Duck tape.

Pirate Flag

Our finished pirate flag.

Our finished pirate flag.

How to Create the Mast for the Pirate Raft

Once you have completed the base of the pirate raft, you are ready to create the mast. This part of the project is a little tricky. Since we used 2 pieces of PVC pipe to construct our mast, we needed a power drill to create the holes to attach these pipes together. You will also need this drill to create smaller holes to be able to attach the sail. So if you are not afraid of using power tools, here are the supplies and directions for constructing the mast.

Supplies:

  • Small plastic pipes (2)
  • Power drill
  • Nut and bolt
  • Sharpie marker

Directions:

  1. Make a cross with your 2 plastic pipes and mark the area with a sharpie marker to create your holes.
  2. Use a power drill to make the holes in the pipes and insert a bolt through the pipes and secure with a nut.
  3. Drill 6-8 smaller holes across the horizontal pipe in order to attach your sail later in this project. The number of holes will depend on the number of openings on your shower curtain sail.
  4. Cut out a hole in the top of the overlapping noodle. Insert pipe into the noodle and secure with rope.
  5. Tie a piece of rope around the intersection of the pipes. Secure this rope around the center noodle at the base of the raft.

Free Pirate Printable Sites:

How to Make the Sail for the Pirate Raft

Creating the sail for your pirate raft is super easy. We used a white shower curtain and traced a fun pirate flag printable that I found on Kaboose.com. Once the sail is attached to the mast, your kids will be ready to sail the day away. Below you will find the supplies and directions we used for creating our sail.

Supplies:

  • White shower curtain
  • Pirate printable
  • Fishing line
  • Nylon rope
  • Scissors
  • Tape measure
  • Sharpie marker

Directions:

  1. Measure and cut your shower curtain to fit the mast of the pirate raft. Our sail's measurements were 40 inches wide by 37 inches long.
  2. Print off a pirate printable off the Internet. Place the printable behind the shower curtain and trace the image with a black Sharpie marker.
  3. Punch out two holes at the bottom of the sail to be able to attach to the base of the pirate raft.
  4. Insert fishing line through the small holes on the mast. Tie this same line through the openings on the top of the shower curtain and knot to secure the sail.
  5. Tie small pieces of rope through the bottom 2 holes and attach these to the center noodle at the base of the raft.

Pirate Raft for the Pool

My little matey testing out the pirate raft!

My little matey testing out the pirate raft!

Pirate Poll

Pirate Games and Activities for the Pool

After constructing your pirate raft, plan a whole day of pirate fun for your children. Make sure to have pirate hats and eye patches for your little mateys as they set out on their first sail across the swimming pool. Throw out some gold coins in the pool so they can search for lost treasure. Serve pirate themed food for lunch or a snack. These special games and activities are a fun way to keep the pirate spirit going on all day long.

I hope the above step-by-step directions are helpful in creating a fun pirate raft for your child. If you have any questions or comments about this project, feel free to leave these in the comment section below.

Comments

Dog on June 24, 2018:

Looks fun

Sandy Seila on June 19, 2017:

How to fix the falling mast: Ok....definitely attach the base of the mast with a screw, like you do at the top, only also attach it at the bottom edge as well, and then put your noodles on, spaced equally at both sides. Take a length of rope through the two center noodles, up the back of the mast and tie at the top crossed part of the mast. It works and the mast does not fall. Put your length of rope in the two center noodles before you put the lengths of pipe in.

Sandy Seila on June 13, 2017:

So, we launched the rafts today and even with my husbands rework on the pirate mast, they both fell over. They will be removed and restructured over the weekend. Stay tuned. The kids still loved them....despite the masts falling over.

Sandy Seila on June 12, 2017:

We just made two of these. My husband is an engineer and redesigned the mast just a wee bit. He attached the 30" pipe to the base of the mast with another screw/bolt and then put the noodles on (centered) each side. The mast is so much more stable!! Thank you for this amazing raft. Can't wait to see our grandkids face in two days!!! Waiting for my outdoor vinyl to cut the pirate logo for the shower curtain and then we're off!!

Lorrie on May 27, 2017:

I see your son is holding the mast up behind his back. Does it tip over?

luke estapa on March 30, 2017:

my son will love this thank you so much

Anika on June 27, 2016:

Hi Alissa,

are you still aktive on this side?

Terry Hoover from Denham Springs, Louisiana on May 30, 2015:

Wonderful idea for the summer pool season. Thanks so much.

Tanya Jones from Texas USA on October 26, 2014:

I didn't have any idea what pool noodles were. So, I popped right over here so I could adjust the visual in my head. This is an adorable and novel idea.

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on October 26, 2014:

Many years ago we had a pirate party for our boys' birthdays (they were 3 years and a couple weeks apart) and this would have been a hit (except that we didn't have a pool then...). Another awesome idea and family project!

Sarah Forester from Australia on August 09, 2014:

A very creative and cool idea!

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on June 20, 2012:

Aww thanks so much Robin! I couldn't have made this without the help of my creative mom and my father with all his engineer and design wisdom. Appreciate you stopping by and adding your very sweet comments!

Robin Edmondson from San Francisco on June 20, 2012:

How lucky are your kids to have such a creative mom! One of my favorite Hubs of yours so far! Thanks so much for sharing!

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on June 18, 2012:

Thanks lillygordon! My boys have really enjoyed this raft. Appreciate you stopping by and commenting!

lillygordon on June 18, 2012:

This is a great idea, well done, I'm sure the kids will enjoy this.

Marntzu on June 17, 2012:

You're welcome.

Joshua Zerbini from Pennsylvania on June 17, 2012:

Hehehe, that is cool, it would probably be tons of fun!

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on June 17, 2012:

Lol josh3418! Definitely don't feel bad we got my husband to try it out today. It is just too cool looking not to try out! We were joking around today about taking it for a float down the river :)

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on June 17, 2012:

Thanks so much Marntzu! Happy to hear that! Appreciate you stopping by and for all the votes!

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on June 17, 2012:

Awesome pirate saying Doc! Both you and the grandkids will have so much fun with this raft. Actually we lounged by the pool today for Father's Day and even my husband gave it a try :) Thanks so much for stopping by and adding your great comments!

Joshua Zerbini from Pennsylvania on June 17, 2012:

Alissa, you are welcome for the votes and share, anytime! :) And thanks for your confession, now I will not feel so bad when I go on one myself! :)

Marntzu on June 17, 2012:

Great project Idea and great job on the step by step photo's for each piece of the project. voted up, funny and interesting.

Glen Nunes from Cape Cod, Massachusetts on June 17, 2012:

This is so cool! I can't wait to make one to play with...I mean for the grandkids to play with.

My answer to your poll was Other: "Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me" - sorry, I'm a Disney World freak. :)

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on June 17, 2012:

Thanks so much Jamie! Happy to hear the instructions are clear and easy to follow. Appreciate you stopping by, for the vote up, and for your sweet comments!

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on June 17, 2012:

Ahoy teaches12345! This raft has definitely kept my boys busy and entertained for hours already this summer. It is just too much fun watching them pretend to be pirates. Appreciate your visit and kind comments!

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on June 17, 2012:

Thanks josh3418! You can totally make one for yourself! Ok I admit I have been on the raft a couple of times. It looked like so much fun that I had to try it out for myself :) Appreciate you stopping by, for the votes, and for sharing!

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on June 17, 2012:

Thanks ktrapp! Two rafts and water guns would be awesome! When my little cousins came over they all had so much fun pretending to be pirates. Appreciate your visit and kind comment!

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on June 17, 2012:

Thanks Crystalyoshi! Hope you do try it out! It really is a fun project to make. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on June 17, 2012:

Thanks Brittany! So happy to hear the directions and photos are helpful in creating this raft. My dad is an engineer so he came in very handy helping us figure out how to construct this project. Appreciate your sweet comments, all the votes, and for sharing!

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on June 17, 2012:

Thanks so much Happyboomernurse! My mom was so excited when she found that pirate themed Duck tape and had that flag made before I got to her house. The mast and sail turned out really cool too. I really appreciate your visit, kind comments, and for all the votes!

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on June 17, 2012:

Hi Kelley! Thanks so much for your sweet comments! Living on a strict budget, we got to be creative with how we have fun around here. I really appreciate your visit, the votes, and for sharing!

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on June 17, 2012:

Thanks Angela! My mom and I were really pleased with the way it turned out and my boys just loved it! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on June 17, 2012:

Thanks randomcreative! Though there is a lot of directions it really isn't that hard to make. I hope that other pirate lovers out there will give it a try too! Appreciate your visit and kind comments!

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on June 17, 2012:

Thanks so much Lindsey! Hope your kids enjoy it! Appreciate you stopping by and commenting!

Jamie Brock from Texas on June 16, 2012:

I LOVE this pirate raft! So cute and it doesn't seem hard to make either.. You have given great instructions. Thank you for this awesome hub.. voted up!!

Dianna Mendez on June 16, 2012:

Argh, this is a one for the pirate's summer adventure in the pool! I love the idea and it is one that would give hours of enjoyment to children.

Joshua Zerbini from Pennsylvania on June 16, 2012:

This sounds like an awesome idea! If only I had some kids of my own to share it with! I guess I will have to make one for myself!

Voted up, awesome, and sharing!

Kristin Trapp from Illinois on June 16, 2012:

What an incredibly clever idea. I'm thinking a couple of these pirate rafts and some water guns would make for a really fun battle.

Brittany Kennedy from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii on June 16, 2012:

Wow! What a fun project! I love all of the photos and description--it will be easy to replicate. Wonderful hub! Shared, voted up, useful, etc.

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on June 16, 2012:

Awesome pirate raft and pirate activities. I love that you included a video and added details to the raft such as the cool skull flag and mast.

Voted up across the board except for funny.

kelleyward on June 16, 2012:

This is such a creative idea! I love your tips on taking everyday items and making them so useful and fun, especially for kids. Voted up, awesome, and shared! Kelley

Angela Brummer from Lincoln, Nebraska on June 16, 2012:

This is sooooooo cute!

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on June 16, 2012:

I still think that this is awesome. :) Great job with the photos and video! I know that you will inspire a lot of other pirate lovers to give this a try.

Lindsey Yoes on June 16, 2012:

Awesome post! My kids would love this. Gonna have to make one. Thanks!!

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on June 16, 2012:

Thanks so much Melissa! My little mateys have been having the best time with this pirate raft. Appreciate you taking the time to read and comment!

melissa on June 16, 2012:

This is so creative and awesome. Looks like your pirate will have lots of fun sailing the high seas!!