Picture of Hidden Crossbow - version 2.0
Buchanan 282.JPG
Buchanan 279.JPG
A while back I found instructions for a clever office supply bow and arrow and was inspired. I decided to step things up a notch. In the end I had a nifty little "crossbow" that straps to the inner arm, perfectly concealed by a loose sleeve. With just a flick of the wrist, your classmates won't know what hit them!

This is the second incarnation of the design. The first was held together entirely with gorilla tape and I only had enough pictures for a slide show.

Though not as powerful as other designs, this thing can still do some damage. Do not point it toward the face, it could easily take out an eye. Do not aim anywhere that can potentially damage something, it's awkward aiming with the forearm, so its accuracy can be hit or miss (pun intended).

Step 1: You Will Need...

Picture of You Will Need...

At least three Bic ballpoint pens
A thin rubber band*
A clothespin*
Several craft (Popsicle) sticks
A length of strong thread*
Duct tape (No project is complete without it!)
A ring (optional)

*take care selecting these items. Too strong a rubber band can't be held back by the clothespin. Too strong a clothespin will break your thread. If everything is too strong you risk yanking the whole thing off your arm when you go to fire.

I was able to rig one of these with mostly scissors and a roll of gorilla tape in the back of class, so don't sweat the details. However, I have found these to work quite well:

A hot glue gun
A small-bit drill
A fine-tooth saw
Duct Tape (So important it deserves to be named twice.)

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I've attempted to build this while removing the string, because pressing the clip feels satisfying. It still works! Still can't find a clip, but replacing the popsicle sticks with two pieces of cardboard (with the lines of both pieces intersecting) makes it fairly sturdy! All in all, this is a great project (for all ages) that has room for customization.
RomS19 months ago

If you don't want it to fall when your hand is down you should have the clip hold the arrow. Why not?

SpectralG9 months ago

I'm want to try to modify the materials to shoot across the room. The jerk who throws crap at people won't know what hit him. XD Thanks

Master Wasi 4710 months ago

I want to say one word.


EJFSmart10 months ago
It is awsome
works awesome
Amazing just amazing totally going to make
raclaw741 year ago
is there any other substitute for the pens?
Subdood1 year ago
Dude. That is so awesome I'm gunna DIE! I will totally make this!
ajjay1 year ago
How far does it shoot
Darknight002 years ago
BTW, i have possible ideas for one that fires multiple instead of just one.
Darknight002 years ago
Thanks man! i have been looking throughout this whole site and yous is by FAR... THE BEST ONE! And it works good. When i brought it to class some kid tried to copy it, but he somehow shot himself in the face! (so i shot him afterwards)
rlinnihan2 years ago
I found that a scew driver and a drill work best instead of an exacto knife. (More kid friendly) ;D
Is their any other device I could substitute the clothespin with
lbramwell2 years ago
Something I'm looking forward to getting sent to the principal's office for c;
I realised why it needs sturdy string,i keep flicking my wrist hardly and the string just breaks
Blorph2 years ago
I want to find an Instructable that is a K'nex version of this crossbow.
Kyw Yw Yw2 years ago
I don't understand how to tie the string to the clothespin and connect it to the ring...
DucttapeNinja (author)  Kyw Yw Yw2 years ago
Drill a hole through both both tabs on the end you pinch together. Tie the string through the hole on the outside tab, then run the loose end through the hole in the inside tab and underneath the whole crossbow.
memorris0273 years ago
makuze5 years ago
thanks!!! it works perfectly its very comfortable! and at the first shot i accidently  shot my finger and it hurt alot but evrybody was afraid of me with that thing :D

It's the same for me with a blowgun I made.
DucttapeNinja (author)  makuze5 years ago
Outstanding! Spread the fear! >:D
And hey, now you know it works really well.
lromo14 years ago
fake hand
jmirus lromo13 years ago
Well, of course it's fake, lol. You try taking a picture of your own hand while holding your arm flat down on the table xDDD
jmirus jmirus3 years ago
With a crossbow strapped to it lol
DucttapeNinja (author)  jmirus3 years ago
Actually that's my hand. It's directly under the light which is flattening out the features or something. Though it was a little tricky getting this shot.
i just got finished making something similar to this. it's like one of those spring loaded spears, but it is a down sized version that you hold exactly like this. it only took 3 k'nex, a rubber band, and some gorilla tape. I'm actually surprised at how well it works when i use it right. i do plan on making the crossbow shown as well too.
qwerty4034 years ago
i took the seemingly obsolete remainder of the pen from step 3 and put it in the roll.
DucttapeNinja (author)  qwerty4034 years ago
Ooohh... that was smart.
qwerty4034 years ago
as i said before, i didnt cut another pen; i used previously cut ones.
d3mond00d4 years ago
Err... I made mine and it shot the ink cartridge a foot or less, and it just dove down... Any solutions to make it shoot further and stronger?
DucttapeNinja (author)  d3mond00d4 years ago
I'd just tighten the rubber band. I usually loop mine around the nose piece.
can you use cardboard?
Yes, I think, but this wouldn't be so resistent
nice work, looks sweet. for the 3.0 version, u should make it so u cant see the crossbow at all

How do you mean? It's already pretty much completely concealable under a long sleeve. I'm always up for refining the design, but I'm not sure how to get it any less visible unless I used 'The One Ring' for the trigger.
I'll use a ring-ized paper clip
i really dont think it could be anymore descreit
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