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DIY with dad – make your own ride on hovercraft

Is this cool or what? Want to find out how it’s done – read on … This is an awesome project for adventurous dads and schoolkids – build a hovercraft you can ride on using some plywood, a leaf blower, an old garden chair and our favorite material of all: duct tape. YAY! Here’s what you need in detail:

  • a large piece of plywood (at least 1m x 1m)
  • Tarp or plastic shower curtain
  • A leaf blower
  • An old garden chair (ideally plastic)
  • Duct tape
  • Staples and a staple gun
  • A plastic coffee can lid
  • Jigsaw or some handheld saw to cut plywood
  • A drill and screws
  • A measuring tape
  • String and a pencil
  • Sandpaper (optional)

Step by step

  1. Use the string and pencil to draw a large circle on the plywood (as big as fits on it)
    hovercraft1 DIY with dad   make your own ride on hovercraft
  2. Put the nozzle of the leaf blower inside the circle and draw around it with the pencil
  3. Use your saw to cut out the outer circle and the hole for the leaf blower using the pencil lines as a guide
  4. You can now sand the edges of the circle / hole with sandpaper. This will make the plywood surface and edge smoother so you won’t get any splinters
    hovercraft5 DIY with dad   make your own ride on hovercraft
  5. Place the tarp/plastic shower curtain underneath the circular piece of plywood you made in previous steps. Make sure that the tarp/curtain covers the underside of the plywood completely with another 20cm (8 inches) excess in order to attach it to the plywood (and cut off any material beyond the 20cm excess)
  6. Use the staple gun to staple the tarp / curtain to the edge of the plywood (all the way round). The tarp/curtain should be under the wood and you fold it up along the edges to staple the tarp/curtain down. Dont make the tarp tight around the circle – it needs to be loose so that the air can puff it outward.
    hovercraft7 DIY with dad   make your own ride on hovercraft
  7. Use duct tape to “seal” the tarp/curtain – i.e. tape over the stapled area so that the air can’t get out where you stapled the tarp to the wood.
    hovercraft8 DIY with dad   make your own ride on hovercraft
  8. Flip the platform over, take the plastic coffee cup lid and place it in the exact (!) center of your circular board. Drill a hole in the center of both the lid and the platform and secure the two together with a screw (ideally a short screw so it doesn’t stick out on the top)
    hovercraft9 DIY with dad   make your own ride on hovercraft
  9. Once the lid screwed to the platform with the tarp in between, create a total of 6 holes in the tarp on the underside (the side covered in tarp.curtain). The holes should be about 10-15cm (5 inches) from the outer edge of the lid and should be evenly along an imaginary circle (with a diameter that’s 10-15cm larger than that of the plastic coffee lid. Make the wholes about 5cm ( 2 inches) in diameter
    hovercraft12 DIY with dad   make your own ride on hovercraft
  10. Secure the holes (so they don’t rip) with duct tape placed around the holes
  11. Now flip the board over, place the leaf blower’s nozzle in the small hole (again use duct tape to secure it)
  12. Screw the garden chair on to the board and turn the leaf blower on.
    hovercraft15 DIY with dad   make your own ride on hovercraft


Many thanks to Ralph and Harrison Stewart for photos, video and inspiration!


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