My pup cake, Charlie, has my whole heart and I wanted him to be able to float around the pool with me. After looking at a few “pet floats” at our local pool center, I was not convinced that his little toenails would not puncture the plastic/vinyl.
I love a good pool noodle and wanted to find a way that we could use those to construct his float. I was worried that simply tying them together would not create enough stability, so I built a PVC frame to cover with pool noodles…TA DA!!!! The S. S. Charlie was born, for about $30.
- (4) Pool Noodles, approx. 5 ft
- (5) ½ inch PVC pipes, approx. 5 foot
- (12) ½ PVC T connectors
- (4) ½ PVC Elbows
- PVC Primer
- PVC Glue
- Pipe Cutter or Sawzall
- Flag for decorative flare
- One Happy Pup!
Cutting Your Materials
The float is constructed of 8 PVC sections covered with pool noodles. Begin by cutting down your noodles and PVC pipe.
Cut the following:
- (8) sections of pool noodles 28 ¼ inches each, you should get 2 sections from each of the 4 noodles
- (8) sections of PVC pipe 28 ½ inches each, you should get 2 sections from 4 pipes, leaving one full pipe that you can cut down into spacers
- (14) spacer sections of PVC pipe, 1 ½ – 1 ¾ inches each. There is some variance to the spacer based upon the thickness of the pool noodle that you buy. You do not want to overcrowd the noodles once they are on the pipe sections. It will cause them to bow and add pressure to the frame. I purchased thicker noodles from a local dollar general store and my spacers were closer to 1 ¾ inches.
Priming Your Parts
I find it easier to prime all of the PVC at once. You will want to were protective gloves for this part. The purple primer can stain your hands.
To prime simply wipe the applicator containing the primer in the areas as outlined below. This will dry almost instantly.
- (4) PVC Elbows – prime the inside of both ends, approximately 1 inch
- (12) PVC T Connectors – prime the inside of all three openings, approximately 1 inch
- (8) PVC Pipe sections – prime both ends, approximately 1 inch
- (14) PVC spacers – prime the entire outer surface
Gluing Your Sections
Once the primer is dry, prepare to assemble your frame. The glue will dry quickly. It is best to glue and assemble each fitting as you go. Do not apply glue to each and try to assemble, it will dry before you are done.
Layout the top components of your frame. You will need to do this step twice to create the top and bottom of your frame. Apply glue to the inside of the T or Elbows, then slide the spacer in. Only apply glue to the openings that will have spacers inserted.
Elbow – Spacer – T – Spacer – T – Spacer – T – Spacer – T – Spacer – T – Spacer – T – Spacer – Elbow
Once dry, take one completed section and prepare to add your 8 sections of PVC pipe. Apply glue to the openings that will have the longer sections of PVC inserted. Again, you will want to apply the glue as you add each section.
Adding Your Noodles
Allow your frame to dry for about 5 minutes before sliding the noodles over the PVC pipe and gluing the remaining frame piece. You do not glue the noodles. Your noodles should fit snugly beside each other to avoid having your dogs’ feet slip through.
Adding the final frame section is honestly the toughest part but by now you are a gluing master. Prepare to work quickly.
Place glue in each opening of the frame piece where the pipe will be inserted. Then add it to the frame sealing in the noodles and securing your masterpiece. In this step, you will find yourself pushing this final piece into the noodle openings to find the pipe.
I allowed my finished float to dry for about two hours before I christened it the S. S. Charlie and launched it in my pool. After I was confident that it was sturdy, my pup was all too happy to climb aboard.