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  1. Decide on the number of paddlers. More people means, “We’re gonna need a bigger boat!”

  2. Each half-gallon milk carton can hold 4 lbs. If you have three people on the boat, that weigh 100 lbs. each, that's 300 lbs. total.
    300/4 = 75 cartons to float.

  3. Add more cartons for artwork.


You’ll need a vehicle to bring the boat to Thomas Beach (trunks don’t work).

We recommend:

  • Roof rack for passenger cars

  • Pickup truck beds

  • Borrowing a trailer, either boat or flatbed

  • Renting a truck from local rental shop, or Big Box hardware store

  • For longer boats, bring the boat down in pieces and construct on-site


How to Acquire Milk Cartons & Milk Jugs:

  1. Save milk cartons yourself: save pint and quart sizes to make interesting artwork.

  2. Switch to half-gallons for ease of use.

  3. Ask family, friends & neighbors to save: especially large families as they go through a lot of milk!

  4. Offer to pick them up - make it easy for them.

  5. Ask them to rinse out with hot water and air dry.

  6. Twin Cities Beach Blast will have some sealed cartons available.

  7. Use Social Media to ask your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter followers


Creative prizes go to:

  • Painted boats

  • Non-flat boats

  • Well-designed boats

  • Boat artwork made with milk cartons - not just cardboard

  • Boats that make you laugh

  • Play-on-words, the news, current events, popular culture, movies, etc.

  • Crew costumes



  1. Tape the tops of cartons together to form a “brick"

  2. Glue caps onto the milk jugs to form a good seal

  3. Remove stickers from jugs with hair dryer



  1. Key Point: Be sure to build a bow on your boat!

  2. Use 2x2s, 2x3s, 2x4s, 1x4s, 1x6s or 2x6s wood for frame

  3. Use 1/4” or thicker OSB flooring for top, plastic lawn signs work, too

  4. Screws work better than nails

  5. Use glue to attach cartons to floor and boards:
    -Use waterproof glue for in-water cartons
    -Use non-waterproof glue for above-water artwork

  6. Place the smoothest side of the cartons on the water for best hydrodynamics

  7. Most glue needs 24 hours to cure so let it set - it will be very strong

  8. Use duct or strapping tape to strengthen load-bearing cartons

  9. Build without obstructions: make it easy to paddle a full stroke

  10. For more load-bearing strength, use 2x2s or PVC pipe with brackets attached to your frame, and cut and wrap cartons around it


  • The fastest boats are paddled, either canoe or kayak-style

  • Ingeniously powered boats usually don’t work, but can look great and get creative points!

  • Kneeled paddlers get more power in their stroke than seated paddlers

  • Wear knee pads, Teva-style sandals, swimsuits and life jackets

  • Don’t be afraid to get wet!

  • You may bump into your competitors. If you can’t steer well, learn to paddle!

  • Catamarans need high crossbeams; low crossbeams hit the water and act as a brake!

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