Making Your Own Fishing Floats

Updated November 21, 2016

Fishing floats are attached to a fishing line to suspend a bait at a specific depth in the water and to signal when a fish takes the bait. Made from a variety of materials including balsa wood and plastic, floats are commonly available from tackle shops, sporting goods and big box stores. Floats are actually easy to make and can be used as a fun project to include and introduce kids to fishing.

Select a plastic foam ball in the 1 1/2 to 2 inch diameter range that will be used to make the float. Place the ball on a sturdy work surface and hold firmly with your hand.

Drill a 1/8-inch diameter hole through the centre of the plastic foam ball with a drill and drill bit. Take your time and attempt to drill the hole directly down through the centre of the ball.

Open a container of white plastic coat dip paint. Put on a surgical latex or similar glove to protect your hands from the dip paint. Insert a straw or similar object into the drilled hole to help with dipping the ball in the paint.

Submerge the entire plastic foam ball into the white paint. This will act as a seal for the float and provide a solid base coat. Pull the ball from the container and allow excess plastic coat paint to drip back into the container. Set the ball aside to dry thoroughly.

Open a container of red plastic dip paint. This time dip only only the bottom half of the plastic foam ball into the plastic dip paint. Remove the ball and allow excess paint to drip into the container. Set the plastic foam ball float aside to thoroughly dry.

Remove the straw or similar dipping handle from the ball and use a hobby knife to trim paint from the hole you drilled earlier in the plastic foam ball.


Use a piece of straw, balsa wood or other light weight material to peg the float on your line and hold it in place when fishing.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic foam balls (1 1/2 to 2 inch diameter)
  • Drill with 1/8 inch bit
  • Plastic dip paint (white and red)
  • Surgical gloves
  • Paper towel
  • Hobby knife
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About the Author

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.