In this project we're taking boring old clothespins, and up-cycling them into powerful matchstick & toothpick shooters, that will stick into apples, and lob firey darts over 20 feet.

Step 1: Watch the Video!

This project was inspired by instructables author "Samarai" and his awesome tutorial on making a Clothespin Gun
<p>I recently read about these in the book &quot;What Would MacGyver Do? and since then have always wanted to make one, Thanks!</p>
<p style="margin-left: 20.0px;">Heh-heh, I see someone has finally done an Instructable on a version of the classic match shooter. I wouldn't do this for fear it would be abused by kids and they'd blind someone. However, as a kid, I made my share of these bad boys. I never aimed them at anyone or at anything flammable. A few things I will mention though. The version we made was much simpler, requiring only one small cut into one of the notches to accommodate the spring. We just taped the two halves together with hockey or electrician's tape. The clothespins we had were much larger and made of hardwood, not pine like the cheap Chinese ones, and the spring was much more powerful. We cocked the spring with the half of another clothespin. We used strike-anywhere matches (SAMs) and placed the tip inward so the spring would ignite it as it fired. I recently found some SAMs at a dollar store but they are rare and usually expensive. The ones they make nowadays are really weak compared to the Ohio Blue Tips we had. They had huge heads and would light if you tossed one onto the sidewalk. Very dangerous. This type of shooter did not shoot that far, maybe ten to fifteen feet, and the match would spin around a bit. There was also another type of match shooter we'd make from a wooden thread spool and a rubber band with a piece of sandpaper over one end to automatically ignite the match. These shot really far and straight and true. Another dangerous toy we made was a spring-loaded flicker from a bobby pin. It triggered on just a light touch. It had literally a 'hairpin trigger'. I imagine that's where that expression came from. It would inflict pain if it was flicked against someone's thigh or butt but left no scar or anything. It would also bounce really high if released from shoulder height against the pavement. I used to make giant versions of this with the 12&quot; spring tines that the street sweepers left behind on the street. I never used them on anybody but they bounded easily 20 feet in the air when dropped. Really cool. Please don't ask me how to make any of these dangerous things. I wouldn't want to be responsible for any misuse resulting in an injury.</p>
<p>I can't believe it, Mother Earth News published an article on how to make the original match shooter that I described above: http://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/clothespin-gun-zmaz81jfzraw.aspx</p>
<p>I first made one of these in 1945, but switched over to a firecracker gun for more distance. This one by Mother Earth News is all wrong. The backs of the clothes pins should go inside the gun as &quot;King of Random&quot; suggested. Also MENews has direction of wood pieces reversed. I cancelled my subscription to MENews when they showed how to make a wheel barrow using the front wheel off of a Cessna 150 airplane. I didn't have the $20,000 to buy a used Cessna. </p><p> </p>
<p>How do you make a firecracker gun?</p>
<p>That's the way we made them and as I said, they worked well. We used hockey tape instead of elastics. This design is much simpler and probably more powerful. Try it IF you can find any vintage clothes pins. The ones they sell today are crap and the spring is too weak to bother.</p>
<p>You're right. The clothespins and matches we used back in the day were much better quality. I remember making the hair pin style snappers out of discarded street sweeper tines. Darn those things stung! </p>
<p>Really? I thought I was the only one who tried making them with the tines. But I wouldn't snap them on anybody. Too dangerous.</p>
<p>to improve the gun even further just trim off the match head with wire cutters and it will fly much further and faster, but be safe, when I did this as a kid Myself and my friends set many fires and I was burned badly more than once trying to put those fires out. I will never forget the night I came home with my eyebrows, eyelashes, and half the hair on my head burnt off and still got beaten by my parents until their arms were tired. Then they took me to the hospital for the burns. </p><p>That match tip is like a Roman candle and if it hits somebody wearing polyester fleece they will burst into flames and the molten plastic will fuse with their flesh. </p><p>If you choose to have wars with these like we did as kids make sure nobody is wearing polyester, only cotton is allowed, and make sure it is not indoors, most curtain will explode when hit witha match head like I learned the hard way. </p>
<p>works </p>
<p>I made a miniature :D</p>
<p>Ooooh! Aaaah!</p>
This is great but it is impossible to make for me I can't cut it without it breaking and the spring isn't strong enough to put it in the notches wear can you get quality clothespins?
<p>Cutted a little bad; but first instructables!!</p>
Is this... Legal?
<p>why would it not be?</p>
<p>if the part of the spring that is not suposed to move (the one that is in the &quot;)&quot; shape hole) jumps out, just use a file and turn the &quot;)&quot; into &quot;]&quot; like this</p>
Can I make the gun fire over 50+ feet
<p>Forgive me for being an old fogey but all I see is a dangerous weapon that could easily cause injury or property damage, even under 'normal' use. Pointed projectiles that can blast into fruit can as easily blind a person or animal. Flaming matches can easily cause a fire when they land, especially if they go off target. Publishing plans like this where ANYONE of any age can see them is asking for trouble.</p>
<p>someone, quick! contact the army so we can get one of these into every soldier's hands.</p>
<p>You could use it in the snow and when they fall into the snow they would be easily distinguished. And, if you don't have snow, fire onto a concrete surface away from flammable objects.</p>
<p> &quot; Old and in the way , that's what I heard them say &quot; ............. :)</p><p> Yet , I left California , unburntdown .</p>
<p>You can't have a BB gun. You will put your eye out. Yawn. I'm 69, have heard variations of that stuff since about 1950, when I got my first Red Rider. Think of it as a Darwin moment. The weak perish, the strong survive, and good riddance to the weak.</p>
<p>I made this thing</p><p>it shoots really well I even made a metal shot out of a used rivet!</p>
<p>I made this </p>
<p>pretty nice</p>
<p>it shoots epically !!!! Thanks for the ible !!!!!</p>
<p>a bit tricky to cut the parts out of the clip. mine doesn't really shoot far, maybe round about 2 metres. and it doesn't hit hard, I don't got one of my ammo in a apple. but all in all a nice toy or evening-project </p>
<p>Late comment, again, can I make it shoot something else</p>
<p>Nice instructable.....but I used more then a knife :-P</p>
<p>can u use super glue</p>
Can u use super glue
<p>This sounds like a fun project. I am gonna make two of them when I get home from school today. Thanks for the fun idea.</p>
My knifes weren't sharp enough, so I used the nail file on my pocket knife, which worked great!
<p>love it!</p>
Then you can start shooting toothpicks at your apple swans. :)
<p>Great, what a Original Idea !!!</p>
It was fun to make! I made one this evening
<p>very impressive and intuitive Grant! this is a &quot;Have to do&quot;!</p>
<p>Use a white-tipped strike-anywhere kitchen match for ammo. Load the match so that the tip is inside of the pistol. This is the opposite of the orientation shown in the photos. When the pistol is fired, the spring strikes the tip, both lighting the match and launching it at the same time. Used to make these as a kid 40+ years ago...</p>
<p>Awesome project. Made a few and had a fun and safe fire fight. </p>
This is good, but you will need safety. But anyway, pretty good project!
This is awesome
<p> Uncle Ray showed my brother and I how to make these , right around 1960 . 9 and 10 years old , we were . Great fun , shooting matches every which way on a summer evening . Pure dumb luck we never set anything more important than each other on fire , we could have burned down all of south California . Make one ! ( Or two , they're small ) . Just don't let the kids play with them , without suitable body armor , and only in the swimming pool ...... :)</p>