Picture of Assassin's Micro Crossbow

This article of desktop weaponry accommodates multiple rounds of ammunition, launches exploding tipped cross-bow bolts, and slings wooden matches over 30 feet away. In this project we're turning some ordinary household items, into a surprisingly versatile, micro-crossbow.

Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Watch the Video!

WARNING: The depictions of launching sparklers in this video are for demonstrational purposes only and are not intended to be duplicated. While this little contraption is micro-scale, it can still be dangerous to some degree. Use care and caution when choosing your ammunition, be aware of your surroundings, and never shoot at people or property. There may be risks associated with these projects that require experience, and/or adult supervision. Use of video content is at your own risk.

Step 2: Sticks and Templates

Picture of Sticks and Templates

Start this project with a handful of popsicle sticks, and a template showing how to cut them.

You can get a free template and instructions here

Once the popsicle sticks are all marked, use something like a pair of gardening shears to cut the pieces to size without ever having to make a single measurement.

When all the pieces are cut, paint them completely black with a permanent marker.

The ink will probably take just a minute to dry, so now would be a good time to round up some metal hair clips.

Step 3: Limbs and Support

Picture of Limbs and Support

You'll only need 2 of them, and with a little manipulation, the inside clip will break off cleanly at the bottom.

The first step of assembly is securing the clips to the wooden supports with a bit of hot glue, so that when it cools, the limbs arch away from each other in a bow shape.

Next, go ahead and add some hot glue to the inside of the arch and press the second support firmly into place.

I cleaned up the excess glue with a utility knife to get the look you see here.

The next part focuses on making the pistol grip.

Step 4: Pistol Grip

The outer rail needs just enough hot glue to secure the smaller, "rail spacer" flush with the tip.

I dropped the top down a touch, to form a little groove about half a matchstick deep, and it's important this flight channel stays clean, so ensure any excess glue gets removed.

Attach the handle support right behind the spacer, then glue the last rail in place.

I left a matchstick in the flight channel to ensure I got the spacing right.

To finish the frame, glue the "pistol grip" panels so they overhang slightly at the back.

You'll need to cut a very shallow groove for catching the bowstring, so try using a knife to carefully whittle out a small catch in the upper rails, in-line with the front of the pistol grip. While you're at it, use a bit of sand paper to lightly round the edges of the barrel to help prevent the bowstring from fraying and breaking. Don't worry about messing up the paint job … it's super easy to touch up make good as new.

Now, the crossbow starts to come together as the tip of the gun rails are pressed firmly into a dab of hot glue on the inside of the bow.

About 30 seconds of steady pressure works well to keep the connection strong as the glue begins to cool.

I chose to glue some fillets on the side for added support and durability.

You should also be able to see the flight groove is slightly higher than the limb supports. Now, when a matchstick's placed in the channel, it will hopefully slide freely and without restriction.

Step 5: Bow String

It's time to pick out a bow-string. I used embroidery floss from the craft section of a local super-center and I chose yellow.

Wrap the support at the bases of the limbs 8-10 times on each side. This will reinforce the connections exponentially, and a small dab of hot glue should keep the string from unravelling.

Next, push one end of the floss through the hole in the tip of the hair clip, tie it in place with a double knot, and add a bit of hot glue as well.

Twist the string around a few times to keep it tight, then flex the hair clips a little before synching down another double knot. This will keep tension on the string and increase the draw weight of the bow.

Add some glue to this knot as well, and trim off the excess thread to complete the basic crossbow.

If you don't have access to embroidery floss, try twisting about 4 strands of dental floss instead. It works great, and it's slippery enough to cock and fire a bolt that's already set in place.

Step 6: Trying it Out, and Making some Upgrades

Picture of Trying it Out, and Making some Upgrades

Occasionally the string will jump the bolt, and fail to launch. So use some pieces from the scrap pile, and glue them to the back to create a makeshift "retention spring". It'll fire the bolt every time.

The finger holds the bolt so securely, that it can be fired from any angle, even upside down.

I went ahead and wrapped the handle with yellow thread, and added a couple of mini-clips for additional ammo.

These "side-mount" quivers are simply made from a plastic drinking straw.

I cut two small pieces from off the straw, capped one end with some hot glue, and attached them to the side of the barrel at a bit of an angle.

Now when the bolts are inserted, there's plenty of tension to hold them in place, even if the crossbow's completely inverted.

Step 7: The Next Level

Picture of The Next Level

Take it to the next level with some contact explosive bolt heads.

I made these ones by securing individual snappers, to the tips of the sticks with a bit of electrical tape.

This is super awesome because now the bolts make a bang when they impact a hard target. Of course this should only be done outdoors and with adult supervision.

Step 8: Now you Know!

Picture of Now you Know!

Well now you know how to turn some simple household items, into a powerful, and amazingly versatile, micro-crossbow.

That's it for now. If you liked this project, perhaps you'll like some of my others.

Check them out at www.thekingofrandom.com

1-40 of 59Next »
AffanyH25 days ago

How did you get the template

wmusser made it!11 months ago

Quite fun and addicting to make.

zureina wmusser10 months ago

Where did you get the template from?

print it from google

cutiepie6914 months ago

how do you get the template?

print it

I followed the instructions on how to get it..
help.. lol

miraizin_011 month ago
ARCER2 months ago
Sorry it wont let upload a pic.?
ARCER2 months ago
Sorry it wont let upload a pic.?
ARCER2 months ago
I made this one. I strayed from your design a bit ,but my one can have an air compressor attached to It.so mine can shoot pellets as well.? thanks fir the design of the cross bow
miso23 months ago
RavinoH5 months ago

how to get the template?

I Made it!

CorgiCritter5 months ago
Sweet, I like it. The Mockingjay at the end was pretty cool too.
aqiboy27 months ago

AWESOME.I dont made it but i will try.i want to play this with my nerf.

Aya.Hawkeye made it!8 months ago

Thanks so, so much for this! I'm a medieval reenactor so this is right own my street! Made a larger version for my partner's birthday present out of basswood and large hair clips and it worked out quite well; see what you think :) The bolts are made from kebab skewers :P I'm going to be making a wrist mounted one too, attached to a leather gauntlet (I do like making leather things) with a hand operated trigger system. Looking forward to trying it out! :D

Mini Crossbow.jpg
aerdna128 months ago

I cant get the template

gemtree8 months ago

If you are required to give an email to get the template, I do not consider that to be free.

MagicTK8 months ago

Very cool instructable. You could insert a needle into a match that has the head cut off (or just the back end) then it could stick into things.



AdnamaG9 months ago

Could you shoot flaming bolts too?

zureina10 months ago

I am still trying to get the template!

kevinb411 months ago

i want the cut templte

actionguy95 made it!11 months ago

My attempt. I feel I did pretty good.

IPhone 814.JPG
msilva4211 months ago
easy fun :)
sxcgreekboi_2411 months ago
Heyy I have been watching your you tube videos and I was wondering what is the kno3 (stump remover and where can I get it)
WTdolby1 year ago

Not to sound stupid, but how are you supposed to fire it? Just push up on the string?

yup you just push up on the string and it should catch and launch the bolt

BATMANluc11 months ago
I recently became a member on sonic-dad and made this. It is really cool and suggest making it.
ksalar12 months ago
RIOT_LEGEND6912 months ago

awesome! I made my own defferent version that works just as well and Im thinking of uploading it!

This is awsome!
cole4 made it!1 year ago

works really well: my prototype was a failure, but i built it again and it works great! Yet to try it with pop-its :)

Photo on 7-19-14 at 12.25 PM.jpgPhoto on 7-19-14 at 12.24 PM.jpg
GuavChenko1 year ago
I used 3mm jolt head nails with their heads cut off for bolts. They are a bit heavy, but look awesome when you load them.
GuavChenko1 year ago
Nice going King. How much of a spark do those popper things make?
Manning881 year ago

will someone send me the template?

tetra281 year ago
This thing is awesome. I glued the slanted side to the bow part and it works just fine. As you may see on the picture I made a little clip wire to keep the string taunt. I also made an arrow by glueing a pellet for pellet guns on to a section of skewer.
photo-2014-07-05 1:55 PM.jpg
1-40 of 59Next »