Introduction: Make It Rain Down Chocolate! for Real! Here's How to Make Your Own Pneumatic Candy Cannon!

Picture of Make It Rain Down Chocolate! for Real!  Here's How to Make Your Own Pneumatic Candy Cannon!

Be the coolest person on the block by building a pneumatic device that will launch candy 100 feet in the air, and make it rain down all kinds of sugary treats!!!

It's fun to make, and a huge hit at birthday parties!

Step 1: Watch the Video!

WARNING:  This project uses compressed air as the medium for projecting candy, and thereby poses various safety risks.  This project should not be attempted without adult supervision and adequate training. Misuse, or careless use, of tools or projects may result in serious injury or death. Use of this video content is at your own risk.

Step 2: What Is a Candy Cannon?

Picture of What Is a Candy Cannon?

This is the Candy Cannon!

It uses an electrically activated in-line sprinkler valve, rated at 150 PSI, as the trigger mechanism to release compressed air through the barrel.  

Just charge the system up to around 150PSI, and press the detonator button to make it fire!

I built this one for my son's 3rd birthday party to propel a payload of candy to an altitude of around 100 feet, at which point the candy begins to spread out into a giant could of sugary treats, and drop back down, making it rain candy!  

You can probably imagine the excitement of the kids with their little treat bags running all around the yard on a candy treasure hunt!

Step 3: Materials You'll Need

Picture of Materials You'll Need

I used PVC sprinkler parts, as well as some doorbell wire, thread tape, a pneumatic adapter, and a push-button switch.

Without listing individual parts, I hope the picture gives enough of an idea for your to duplicate the project.

I used 2" schedule 40 PVC pipe for the air tanks, and 1" schedule 40 PVC pipe for everything else.  You should be able to find all these materials at a home improvement store, or sprinkler supply company.

Aside from those, you'll probably want a 3/4" manual ball valve, and some other 3/4" fittings that will allow you to join it to the frame.

You'll also need a 1" FIPT in-line sprinkler valve.  

To make the air tanks, cut two sections of the 2" PVC pipes 12" long.

Cut your 1" pipe to custom lengths (Anywhere from 2"-4").

Feel free to use some creativity to modify the system, but basically it will look like this when the pieces are dry-fit together.

The system is designed to accept compressed air through a pneumatic adaptor we'll add to the cap near the manual ball valve.  This valve allows you to close off the system, and the cannon will stay pressurized even if you disconnect from your source of compressed air.

A 9v battery will be used to activate the sprinkler valve.  The valve is actually rated at 24 volts, but I've found a single 9v seems to work ok for this purpose.

If you're happy with how the pieces fit together, then it's time to make it permanent by cementing it together!

By the way, did you notice these parts strongly resemble the parts I used in my Rocket Rifle project?

Step 4: Make It Perminant

Picture of Make It Perminant

To cement PVC properly, you'll need some purple primer and some PVC cement.

Some brands of PVC cement are self priming.  An example would be something like "Christy's - Red Hot Blue Glue". 

Make sure to read the instructions carefully on both the can of primer and can of PVC cement.  There are dangers associated with each, and attention to detail is required in order to get a good connection that can withstand 150PSI.  Remember, this system is going to be containing a dangerous amount of pressure, so you'll want to do it right the first time!

Prime all the parts that will be in contact, and when they are dry, cement it up as instructed on the can.

Step 5: Cannon Wads

Picture of Cannon Wads

To make sure the candy launches efficiently, you may want to make a basic cannon wad from 2 plastic cups.

I cut a 1/4" off the top of a small 3oz plastic cup, and cut the bottom part off a regular sized up.  Then I fit them together to make this little container.

This design had impressive structural integrity, which meant it could withstand the blasts of high air pressure, and be used multiple times before having to make a new one.

The diameter of the wad is about as perfect as I could find for the inside of the 2" candy barrel.  

You may also notice a coil of wire in the background of the picture.  This is doorbell wire that connects the valve to the detonator button.  I wrapped the wire around a length of the 1" pipe to form the coil.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

Picture of Finishing Touches

Here you can see where the pneumatic adaptor is attached, and if you like, you can give your system a paint job like I did here.  I chose Red and Black spray paint for mine.

The pneumatic adapter is where an air hose can be connected to charge it up, and the manual ball-valve gives the option of closing off the system. This meant the system could maintain pressure even while the air hose was disconnected, thus making it portable.

If you don't have an air compressor, then instead of this pneumatic adaptor, you could change it out with a valve stem to be used with a bike pump.

Step 7: Making It Work!

Picture of Making It Work!

The wad goes in first, and is pushed to the bottom with a ramrod, then candy gets inserted.  I used a big bag of jelly candies for practice.

Individually wrapped candies are a better choice when actually using for a party, however these jelly candies were mainly for testing the ballistics of small dense candies.

When the detonator button is pressed, the sprinkler valve opens and blasts the cannon wad upwards.  The wad pushes all the candy out with a considerable force.

In this case, 3 lbs of candy was launched up around 100 feet in the air!  

This has become a hit at birthday parties, and we are making it a tradition to do a candy launch at each of our kids' birthdays. And, of course, the birthday boy is the one who gets to push the detonator button!

Haven't see the video yet? You can still see it here!

If you like this project perhaps you'll like some of my others. Check them out at


RonW104 (author)2017-08-24

This is a really great project, Im trying to make something like this for my engineering and design class at school. i was wondering if you could give me some insite on the best places to possibly get the material. we are building a bed float to race in a derby and im in charge of making cannons for t-shirts and stuff like that and I think this would be one hundred times better!!! and also great video.

cheinrich1 (author)2016-06-17

@ TheKingofRandom,

What is the parts list for the Candy Cannon? I have been trying to find a parts list for some time. Any help here would be great.


tashmagosh (author)2016-04-26

Is there anyone who can tell me all the parts I will need for this

tashmagosh (author)2016-04-26

Is there anyone who can tell me all the parts I will need for this

AdamF77 (author)2016-04-23

It blew up at 100 psi :(

1ofakindwork (author)2013-03-10

Awesome Idea, This is an amazing build.

Hey, thanks!

So i mad this with the only deviation of using a 3/4 in threaded male to a 1 in non threaded female adapter rather then the threaded coupling... it blew up at these joints ar only 100 psi. I have pictures any help would be great.

Big fan Mr, KOR,
I am a novice at best doing these projects and have never been a handy man around the house. with that said i have mo knowledge of the materials that you used to make this project. i know it may be a hassle but do you have a full list so that i do not get the wrong stuff and blow my hand off in an attempt to improvise?.lol

yoyoyo9801 (author)crypticlama2014-05-07


cornholemaster (author)2015-09-08

Can you talk about the switch mechanism a little more? They guy at the irrigation store suggested replacing my AC solenoid with a DC solenoid in the sprinkler valve, but when I wire up the momentary switch and press it, it only keeps the valve open. To get the valve to close, I actually have to reverse the polarity by touching the leads to the opposite charges of the 9v.

randommike167 (author)2015-07-22

how much money was it for all the parts

jpstiffin (author)2014-10-02

Glen: can you tell me what sprinkler valve you used? Can I get it at Lowes?. Thanks.

ItalianJack (author)2014-06-26

Great project! Do you have to use special high-pressure pipe, or just regular?


DanTDM (author)2014-02-02

I hate pvc pipe

LiamOSM (author)DanTDM2014-06-17

thank you for your wonderful contribution to the comments.

yoyoyo9801 (author)2014-05-09

how do u make the barrel adjustable

yoyoyo9801 (author)2014-04-25

help, materials list plz, I need

yoyoyo9801 (author)2014-04-23

I know this is a very late comment, but I love all of your projects!!!

Andrew Garfield (author)2014-03-26

its just like potato canon

dannygam (author)2014-03-15

I've made an air cannon similar to this before. Good stuff! My question is reload time is slow from the time spent with the air compressor. Do you know of a way to hook up a CO2 canister to make it portable and somewhat quicker for reloading. Thanks.

fjalvarez (author)2013-07-17

I love this project but like many of you I work better with a parts list, has anyone been able to get one ? thanks and keep up the great work..:)

zamora123 (author)2013-06-07

I would love to build this for my daughters 6th birthday this weekend. Would it be possible to get a more detailed list of supplies? She would really love this. My email address is if it's possible.

yapoyo (author)2013-04-21

Chocolate rain.... some stay dry and others feel the pain.

TheRocker71 (author)2013-04-13

Do you happen to remember the total price on this project?

veebz (author)2013-03-26

Great cannon. I've built a few myself using a very similar design. I use the same type of valve but I've had mixed results with only using 9V. Sometimes 9V work, sometimes I need to use 3x9V. It seems to me (and I may have missed something) that my valve needs more voltage as the pressure increases.

I love the nice finish you put on it too!

852369741258965 (author)2013-03-17

Thank you so much. That was the only part I couldn't find.

852369741258965 (author)2013-03-15

I know you didn't do it in this video, but in the ak 47 video you made a bike pump adapter and I was just wondering where you got it?
you make the coolest things ever. I love the solar scorcher and both air cannons


I made the pump adaptor from a valve stem. You can get these at auto parts stores or companies that deal in tire repair.

All the best!


Mig Welder (author)2013-03-03

I gotta say, your ingenuity with common materials and simple tools is amazing! The nice flourish like a paint job you have for every project really finishes it off. Thanks for another great project idea!

Thanks for your nice compliment Mig! I have a project on making a stick welder from microwave parts coming up soon. I'd love your feedback on it since I have no real experience welding.

No problem! I look forward to giving you some feedback! In fact, I've made a few MOT welders in my time but I look forward to seeing your take on it. Keep the guides coming!

doodlecraft (author)2013-03-02

Always the life of the party! Are these pics at the park or your yard? What a fun 3rd birthday! :)

Only second to you Natalie! This is our back yard .. but the park wouldn't be a bad idea. The spray radius of the candy is amazing!

We need to be neighbors again! We are planning a My little pony party for Hailee...and pinkie pie has a party cannon. This would be perfect! :)

adbkwhitley (author)doodlecraft2013-03-06

@doodlecraft - I don't mean to break in on a private conversation but it'd have to be a REALLY big cannon to launch a pony - pink or otherwise. :)

@TKoR - Well done (scurrying off to the basement).

:) Are you off to make the Pony Cannon? lol

Nah, my wife won't even let me make a pneumatic punkin chunker. No WAY she'd entertain a pony cannon. Besides, the SPCA and all that . . . Nope, I'll stick to inanimate objects, thanks. :)

I agree, we should .. only we're sick of moving .. so are you interested in coming back???

seltzer10 (author)2013-03-04

So I've done allot of work with potato cannons and I've found a great way to launch grape shot or in your case candy is to create a re-usable "seal plate" rather than needing to cut up the cups. This is done by :
1. cut a one inch long section of scrap pipe (same pipe as barrel)
2. buy a tube of GE Silicone 2 Caulking
3. Lay the pipe "ring" down on a smooth flat surface
4. Fill the ring with the caulking, allow it to cure.
upon curing you will now have a perfectly sized plug for your barrel, The friction between the plug and barrel walls will create Fk which can decreasethe projectiles velocity although I find it preferable to deal with this Fk because it seems to be less of an issue than the lost air pressure due to using other "plug" type items. - Hope this helps!
- Side note: You can also cast awesome projectiles using silicone that are reusable rather than wasting a bag of potatoes. Although these cast silicone projectiles bounce, so be careful of ricochet.

Great feedback and comment. Thanks! Just curious, what silicone are you using for casting? Is it a 2 part mix, or something you could pick up from home depot?

Thank you! I used " GE Silicone 2 Caulking" It is a white tube with a GE logo labeled as such, it comes in caulking tubes and can be mixed with corn starch if you're looking to give the projectile a more ridged form. Check out this link to another ible that uses casting of the same sort with a similar form. This cornstarch/silicone mixture is hardly my invention I've simply found a projectile use for it. this mixture is commonly referred to as "oogoo"

-note: Increasing the amount of corn starch used will decrease curing times and using the GE 2 silicone will reak of what smells like acetone/vinegar so do it on your porch of outside if ya can. Its not really an issue its just not an atmosphere I enjoyed breathing in my small basement shop the first time I did this!

Colonel K0rn (author)2013-03-03

I wish you were my neighbor instead of the busy-body one that I have now. I used to live on 5 acres of land, but have been reduced to a subdivision due to job change. No matter though, I am having my own shed delivered to my backyard in 2 weeks, and I'll have 12'x16' of man-cave ready workshop :D

Nice :D

qczx999 (author)2013-03-03

Good god. You let your kids eat unwrapped candy that was not only in piping smeared with industrial adhesive, but that was on the lawn crawling with bugs and bacteria?

This sounds like a loaded comment.

I don't believe at any point I impressed that they ate this candy. If you read the instructable, the unwrapped candies were for testing the ballistics, but individually wrapped candies were used for the parties.

Now saying that, what exactly is the purpose of your comment?

Did you know that your water pipes are smeared with the same industrial adhesive you sound so concerned about?

And the fertilizer for your food is made from cow manure as well as the same lawn crawling bugs and bacteria?

Even if we did eat unwrapped candies from off the lawn, I personally am not concerned about it. I'd eat them too. If it's a big concern for you, then I suggest you do something you're more comfortable with.

Mr Random, you sir, win the Internets today. This was the kindest response that could possibly have been made to the above comment. In honor of your restraint, I too shall refrain from name calling.

Excellent project, I have made one similar and have launched cardboard tubes for plotter paper well into the sky. I hadn't thought of using it to shotgun candy. I make the kids use a bicycle pump to air it up rather than my compressor, they are usually too interested in getting to the next launch than they are in getting the pressure up higher than I am comfortable with in the PVC.

The cardboard tubes make a marvelous "thwump" sound at launch.


PS- If I had an extra one, I'd give you TWO internets.

Hey Glen! Thanks for sharing your experiences, ideas and compliments! I'm too lazy to pump it by hand, but when my kids get older, I'll be sure to throw the bike pump adaptor on it. Those kids need a place to vent their energy and that's a great way to do it!

Thanks again! :D

Colonel K0rn (author)qczx9992013-03-03

Don't worry, they were the neighbors'.

CreativeTinker (author)2013-03-03

Plastic pressure vessel explosions are dangerous, even while testing. A much safer way to test is to fill the vessel with water first. When pressurized, the energy stored is vastly smaller as the water is not compressible. Then you can test to twice the intended pressure to establish plenty of safety margin.

I tested an aluminum pressure system this way. It failed at 4000 psi with barely a whimper, instead of a big bang.

You do lovely work. Keep up the great projects!

About This Instructable




Bio: Random Weekend Projects
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