Not impressed with the price tag of commercial kayaks? Camouflage your own DIY duck boat this year.
There’s something special about do-it-yourself projects that seems lost on many today. Most people these days would rather just buy whatever they need without thinking of ways they could learn a new skill or spend their free time.
If you’re not thrilled with the idea of buying a brand new camouflaged duck boat for some major bucks, consider re-purposing an old canoe or kayak you have laying around to make the ultimate DIY duck boat.
No, it doesn’t matter if it’s one of those obnoxious bright kayaks either. We’ll take care of that. All you’ll need is your boat, some sandpaper, a couple cans of your chosen paint colors, and whatever stencils, brushes, or sponges you’d like to use.
Transforming Your DIY Duck Boat
First, you’ll want to rough up the kayak surface a little so that the paint will adhere to it better. You can either use a paint removal wheel on a grinder, or just rub some rough sandpaper over it.
If you use a grinder of mechanical sander, don’t sand too aggressively unless you want your DIY duck boat to be a DIY sinking submarine. After sanding, wipe the hull down and clean remove any dirt or debris.
Next, prime the outside with a dull and flat spray paint, typically in shades of brown, olive, gray, green, yellow, etc. You want the base coat to be flat-looking with no glare for obvious reasons.
From here, you can either sponge on second or third coats in different colors, or use natural vegetation as stencils and spray paint different layers onto the boat.
Simply hold vegetation (leafy branches, ferns, cattail stalks, etc.) up against the boat, and spray with a darker or lighter paint then what the base coat is. Alternate colors, and go over these spots lightly with other patterns if you wish to add depth.
Keep in mind that the dominant colors during duck hunting season are more muted than they are right now. The key is to have lots of texture and depth.
Once you have a good mottled appearance, you can add embellishments. A great way to do so is by securing a nylon net material to the boat that you can then add camouflage materials to. You can either sew the nylon net into a removable slip cover, or just attach it to the boat however you find convenient.
From there, attach 3D leaf camouflage material, fake grasses, branches, etc. to the nylon net using twine or zip ties. There are plenty of blind concealment options available, but you can also just grab natural materials to really match where you’ll be hunting.
The most important part of this step is to make things look natural. You rarely find straight edges and solid patterns on nature, so cut edges ragged and place different materials next to each other. Each time you do this, you’ll break up your outline a little more. Additionally, leave some portions of the material free to wave in the breeze.
If you’re using a kayak, you likely won’t be able to fully lay down in your DIY duck boat, but consider constructing a simple covering using see-through camouflage mesh over a lightweight PVC frame. This is easy enough to quickly maneuver and easy to install as well.
There you have it. An easy DIY duck boat given new life from an old kayak or canoe, and for much cheaper than a fresh-from-the-store model.
Happy hunting this fall!
All photos via Carolina Wild Photo