How to Make a Raft from Foam Pool Noodles
Making a raft of foam pool noodles is another way to expand the potential uses of your pool toys. Pool noodle connectors are available to tie together individual floats, but if you do not care for the added expense and the need to keep track of yet another piece of gear, you can still build an exceptional raft with an inexpensive roll of twine and by making a few simple knots.
Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
Things You’ll Need:
- pool noodles
- ball of twine
Tie the free end of the twine to the end of one noodle (about 2 inches up the side). Pull the twine tightly enough to compress the foam somewhat in order to make a secure knot.
Line up 13 other noodles, side by side, and add the noodle with the string to the beginning of the line. Run the twine over the top of the second noodle, under the third noodle and continue this over/under pattern until you reach the last noodle.
At the last noodle, wrap the twine around the noodle twice. Work the slack out of the line starting from the first noodle and moving toward the last, then tighten the wrapped twine.
Work the twine back toward the first noodle, repeating the over/under pattern. With this run, your twine should cross each noodle on the side you did not wrap in the first run. When you arrive back at the first one, each noodle should have a wrap on both the top and bottom side.
You may stop with two runs or you may add an extra set in each direction for greater stability. At the end of each run, work the slack out of the twine and double-wrap the end noodle. When you complete the number of runs you want, cut the twine (leaving about 8 inches of loose twine) and tie it off by sliding the twine under some of the wrapped layers and then using at least a double knot to secure it.
Repeat the process on the free ends of the noodles. When you finish, you will have a row of 14 noodles, each one lashed to its neighbor at both ends.
For additional support, you may tie braces or cross pieces to the top side of your raft. Lay a noodle perpendicular to the original run of 14, just behind the line of twine stitching, on the side of the twine closest to the center of your raft.
Tie the loose end of the twine to the end of the brace noodle (about 4 inches up). Weave the twine down between the first and second platform noodle and bring it up and back across the outside edge at the corner of the platform. Repeat this step. This makes one half of an "X" shape.
Form the other leg of the "X" by bringing pushing the twine down between the first and second noodle again, pull the end up and over the brace diagonally. Next, come under the first noodle and back up between the first and second noodle to make a second pass. Once you have the "X" formed, tie off the twine to hold your lashing.
Repeat at the three other corners.
For added stability, tie the twine to one end of the brace and weave an over/under pattern along the length of the brace, attaching it to each individual noodle. Work from one end to the other and back to where you started before tying off your twine.
Finally, for more balance, you can lay a noodle diagonally between the two brace pieces and tie it to the platform as well. Lash it to each noodle it crosses or simply anchor it in three places--at each end and near the center of the diagonal.
Article Written By Alice Moon
Alice Moon is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience. She was chosen as a Smithsonian Institute intern, working for the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and has traveled throughout Asia. Moon holds a Bachelor of Science in political science from Ball State University.
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