Introduction: Mini Clothespin Catapult and Crossbow

A few days ago I went to a local supermarket and I saw that a whole pack of 50 clothespins costs only 3zl(1$) so I decided to buy those as I could make a lot of things from them and they were cheap!

So after a bit of thinking I came up with this catapult and crossbow that I made from only 19 clothespins, a plastic spoon and some other small materials...I thought that it looked cool, so I decided to make an instructable showing how to make it!

There were two versions of this catapult I made!They were pretty similar, but the only difference is that one was made using rubber bands to hold the clothespins together and the other one used hot glue to glue them together(More of a permanent version).

Here is a video of the permanent version catapult I made

Here's a video of the crossbow I made


Step 1: Gathering the Materials

These are the things you require to make the catapult and the crossbow:

20 clothespins
2 binder clips
1 Hot glue gun(Permanent version)
2 hot glue sticks(I think that that all that is required)(Permanent version)
1 plastic spoon
Rubber bands(Temporary version)(But 2 are needed even for the Permanent version)

Things that would help but not necessary are:


You can get all of these stuff in a local supermarket, but if you can't then here are some links to where you can get some of the materials:


Hot glue gun with hot glue sticks:


Step 2: Making the Base

Its quite simple and there isn't much to explain, but all you need to do is take 4 clothespins and attach them to form a square as shown in the pictures

After this there are two things you can do to strengthen the clothespins as they will need extra support to hold on together...
If you want to make the temporary version you can use rubber bands to attach them together and keep them in place, or if you want to make the permanent version you will need to hot glue them together.

* You must make sure that the base is strong and sturdy as this will be the main skeleton of the whole catapult.
* Keep in mind that the temporary version will look a bit messy with all the rubber bands when you are finished whereas the permanent version will look much tidier.
* Attach the head of one clothespin to the tail of the other clothespin and keep doing that...until you get the square.

The first few pictures show the temporary pictures and the last few pictures show the permanent version...

Step 3: Making the Support for the Throwing Arm

This is the simplest step in the making of this catapult!

All you need to do is take 2 more clothespins and attach them at a 90 degree angle to 2 corners of the base, its hard to explain it so have a look at the pictures and you will know what to do!

* Be careful not to bend them inwards as that would be useless.
* Make sure they are properly attached to the base.
* Be really careful as this is the step where I broke the clothespins, I know you can put them back together, but its quite hard to so...
* Attach the head of the clothespin to the base and the tail will be sicking out.

The first few pictures show the temporary version and the last few pictures show the permanent version.

Step 4: Finishing the Support for the Throwing Arm

This is the hardest step if you are making the temporary version, and just as easy as the other steps if you are making the permanent version.

First you need to take 2 more clothespins and attach them about halfway away from the two clothespins we attached in the previous step, on the base and then angle them at 45 degrees so that they come in contact with the two clothespins we attached in the previous step, then hot glue them together if you are making the permanent version, but if you are making the temporary version its a little harder because you will need to twist the rubber bands at least 4-5 times around these to attach them to the base and to make them sturdy.

You can see the pictures on how I did this and it will be easier for you to understand!

* This step will reinforce the previous step and make it sturdier, but if you are not careful it will ruin the entire catapult you made so far! So be careful.
* You will need to attach the head of the clothespins to the base and the tail part will be attached like a jigsaw puzzle to the tail of the support we made in the last step.

The first few pictures show the temporary version and the last few show the permanent version...

Step 5: Finishing the Framework of the Catapult

Okay now this step isone of the hardest steps if you are making the temporary version as its hard to hold the clothespin in place!

First you will need to open the clothespin with pliers or scissors I used both and opened the clothespin, after opening it you will need to throw away the metal spring in the middle and then take one half of the clothespin and attach it inbetween the framework made in steps 3 and 4, using rubber bands will be a little hard but we can do it!

* Keep in mind that this step needs to be very sturdy as this will hold the flickering mechanism up!
* Keep the other half of the clothespin as we will be needing that later!

The first few pictures show you the temporary version and the last few pictures show you the permanent version.

Step 6: Making the Flicking Mechanism

This part was the hardest to think of as I had a hard time figuring out which way of arranging the rubber bands worked the best, but after a lot of thinking I came up with this:

Okay so You need to take 1 binder clip and place it as shown in the first picture, then you need to attach one of the metal ends to the clothespin frame as shown in the second picture, but make sure you do not attach the black part of the binder clop to the frame as then it wouldn't work.

Then the next step was to take the spoon and attach it to the other metal thing which was not attached to the frame, by doing this now you can notice that the spoon can move up and down with ease, but if it went down too much then it would click and push even more downwards, but that does not matter as we will be fixing that in the next step!

* Make sure that the spoon is freely moving
* For this one step even if you are making the temporary version I would prefer using hot glue to stick the spoon to the metal thing and to stick the other metal thing to the frame, but if you do not have a glue gun then its perfectly fine to use rubber bands to hold everything in place.

The pictures show the temporary and permanent version...from the next step onwards temporary and permanent have the same things for both the versions, so I will only be showing the permanent version pictures as you can see better in the

Step 7: Finishing the Catapult

This is the last completing this step you will have your own catapult!!!

Take the other half of of the clothespin that was left from 2 steps ago and attach it on top of the frame we made in steps 3 and 4, this is used to stop the spoon from going too low as we get the click and the spoon goes even lower and does not flick back, so this will stop the black part of the clip from going higher than the certain level(before the click, the click stuff only happens some times with only some types of clips) as shown in the pictures

So all you need to do now is take 2 rubber bands(No matter even if you are making the permanent version, you still take 2 rubber bands)and then attach them to the back of thespoon and to the front of the half clothespin we attached in this step, you can see this way better in the pictures!

* Make sure one rubber band is a little higher than the other(This will provide a more smooth flick)
* Make sure the rubber bands are attached firmly to the spoon with another binder-clip.

If you have any question in this step, just ask in the comments section and I will be glad to answer!

Step 8: Making the Crossbow

This is way easier to make than the catapult!

All you need are 10 clothespins!

First attach 2 clothespins one beside another and secure them tight with rubber bands, make 2 sets of these.
Then attach one half way on top of another and attach them with a rubber band.Follow the pictures for a better understanding.

Then attach the 2 sets together as shown in the pictures, and then attach thelast set to the tail part of the crossbow(See the pictures for a better understanding)

Then attach 2 tails of the 2 different clothespins to the head of the crossbow(Make them go about 50 degrees at an angle to the head.)
Then use 2 more clothespins to secure these by attaching them to the main body of the crossbow!

After this step you are done with the framework of the crossbow,

Now all you need to do is attach a rubber band to the front of the crossbow.(As shown in the pictures)

Then to use it all you need to do is pull the rubber band back and attach it to the lever(as shown in the video) and then put a clothespin to launch in front of the rubber band(as shown in the video) and to launch it just click the last clothespin and Hurray!

Have a look at the video on the intro of this project to get a way better understanding on how to use the crossbow!

Step 9: Photo Gallery

Here are some pictures of the finished project!

Please vote for this in the Launch It Contest--->>>

Be careful and do notHurt Any One With These Weapons

I would love to see any pictures if you make these(Just post them in the comments)


snaaryanan (author)2012-05-13

a lil modification with a pen barrel and it started firing toothpicks with incredible a lot of holes in cartons :))

atlitw9 (author)2012-01-11

The temporary version it´s pretty good idea!! ^^

vishalapr (author)atlitw92012-01-13


igrushkam (author)2011-12-18

Thank you for idea!

vishalapr (author)igrushkam2011-12-18

Welcome! :D

kylekosan23 (author)2011-07-26

kool u could like bring these to the office and have a little war

vishalapr (author)kylekosan232011-07-26 and school is more like it!

vishalapr (author)2011-07-17

I just embedded the crossbow video

builderkidj (author)2011-07-12

It looks like your on top in the contest.

vishalapr (author)builderkidj2011-07-12

Glad you think it tops, but I have seen many other entries in this contest that I think are really really good as well! So it really depends on the judges!...
Please vote for this if you liked it!

builderkidj (author)vishalapr2011-07-12

I might,but i'm making something and it might top this but may the best man win!

vishalapr (author)builderkidj2011-07-13

Ok! What are you making?

builderkidj (author)vishalapr2011-07-13

I cant say.

vishalapr (author)builderkidj2011-07-13

Fine I guess I'll just have to wait!

josh1324 (author)2011-07-10

this is really cool! i think i might make the catapult, i have a ton of clothespins that we don't even use :P

vishalapr (author)josh13242011-07-10

If you do them please post some pictures as a reply to this comment!
And please don't forget to vote for it!

sunshiine (author)2011-07-10

whoooo hoooo! Can't wait to vote!

burnerjack01 (author)2011-07-10

T quote the movie "A Christmas Story", "You'll shoot your eye out kid"

vishalapr (author)burnerjack012011-07-10


lothar1511 (author)2011-07-10

That's brilliant, good work

vishalapr (author)lothar15112011-07-10

Thanks glad you liked it ! And don't forget to vote for it in the Launch It Challenge!

lothar1511 (author)vishalapr2011-07-10

will do

lothar1511 (author)lothar15112011-07-10

nevermind i couldn't find you in the launch it

vishalapr (author)lothar15112011-07-10

Ya I know it hasn't been accepted yet , but if it will then please do!

vishalapr (author)2011-07-09

This is amazing!It got featured!Thanks instructables team and if you would like me to improve it in any way I'm ready to try my best!

sunshiine (author)2011-07-09

This is tatally awesome! Please post this project to the clinic. I think you would get a lot of input from other members who are featured a lot and they could give you an honest review. Here is the link. I hope it gets featured! And win!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

vishalapr (author)sunshiine2011-07-09

Thanks a lot glad you liked it!

vishalapr (author)2011-07-09

Sorry I didn't post the crossbow vid yet! Its still under progress, I will post it in 1-2 days!
Sorry again!

vishalapr (author)2011-07-09

If anyone has any suggestions on how to improve this I will be glad to hear them!Even suggestions on the instructable documentation I will be glad to hear as I want to try my best to make this instructable get featured!

gaminglife (author)2011-07-09

See what I mean by u are talented!Well done!!!

vishalapr (author)gaminglife2011-07-09

That's very nice of you!, hope you'll vote for it!

instructables123456 (author)2011-07-09

This is brilliant!



hruk121212 (author)2011-07-09

This is absolute amazing!!!Well done!!!

vishalapr (author)hruk1212122011-07-09

Glad you three liked it!

Electronics Man (author)2011-07-09

This is awsome! How long did it take you to make this?


Actually making them was not really that hard!But thinking them up was the hard part!As it was quite hard to figure out which arrangement of these clothespins would give me the best weapons!
Glad you liked it!Hope you will vote for it in the Launch It Challenge!

About This Instructable




Bio: A programming enthusiast. I tinker around with everything I see and love to game.
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