Safety notes: Blowguns are surprisingly powerful. If there is a hard object near or behind the target, wear safety goggles in case of ricochets. Make sure nobody is near the target. Even the paper darts can poke out an eye, and certainly the nail ones can do damage. I do not recommend using the nail-tipped ones outside of a proper shooting range (e.g., an archery range). Children should be informed that blowguns are weapons and should only be used under close parental supervision. Do not breathe in while shooting or you may have a dart go down your throat, and instruct children to be careful not to breathe in. It can be tempting to breathe in through the nose with mouth on blowgun, but resist the temptation--the dart can go back into the mouth, or worse, then.
I will give instructions on how to make a Fukiya-style blowgun either out of CPVC pipe or a magazine, as well as on how to recycle magazines into Fukiya-style paper-cone blowgun darts of various types (paper-only, wood-tip, nail-tip and cotton-tip), using a pencil with a rubber band method to roll them (while there are other instructions, none of the ones I've seen use this very handy tool which makes good long darts). I will also give directions for a simple styrofoam target.
While I included instructions for tougher darts, don't sneer at paper-only ones. I can easily propel them 40 yards or so, and they stick very nicely into styrofoam.
You can make paper-only darts and a paper-only blowgun for office "warfare": you only need an old magazine and stuff you can find around the office, so this is a perfect item for entertainment in the office, assuming that your office rules won't consider this a prohibited weapon. You can then use the styrofoam from some packaging as a target.
I will also throw in instructions for hand-throwable darts. Hopefully you can use those by hand in jurisdictions where blowguns are illegal.
The instructions are divided into four main parts. First, blowguns. Second, darts, starting with the basic paper dart which you should master first. Third, a target. Finally, a few notes about shooting.
Ingredients and tools for basic darts
- glossy magazine, ideally with fairly lightweight paper (I used This Old House with success)
- glue (e.g., white paper glue--I use Aleene's tacky glue--but for something more durable you can consider using water-resistant wood glue, like Titebond III)
- pencil (or pen or other narrow cylinder)
- rubber band
- scissors or, better, box cutters
- optional: steel ruler
- wood-tip: toothpicks
- short-skirt: bamboo skewers
- metal-tip: #16 1-1/4" brads for ordinary use, or 12- or 14-gauge silver wire for zombies/werewolves (see note below)
- hand-throwable: heavier magazine paper and some cardstock from magazine mail-in inserts or a magazine cover
- cotton-tip: cotton swabs (e.g., Q-tips)
- CPVC pipe blowgun: 1/2" nominal CPVC pipe, at least three or four feet in length, plus pipe-cutters or hacksaw, and sand-paper
- 100% recycled magazine blowgun: stapled magazine, ideally with heavier paper
- 3/4" styrofoam, at least 8" x 8"
- hot knife, or candle/burner and old hacksaw blade or some other thin, fairly rigid, long metal thingy
- permanent marker
- magazine cover