One Hour Atlatl





Introduction: One Hour Atlatl

One Hour Atlatl.

This is old before I discovered instructables, we went to the Pequot Indian Museum in CT with the scouts and I saw one of these in the museum. We even got to use one, and figured I could make that. On that trip I made a tee-pee and at camp and 3 scouts slept in it (14 ft poles, 10 ft diameter). I am going back with a new group of scouts (this is about 4 years ago) and will try to document the Tee-pee.

For those who don’t know ‘ is feet ‘’ is inches.


2’ of a broken broomstick or 1inch dowel
2-3‘ of  ¼ or 3/8 inch clothes line.
3’ of twine.
2 ¼ ‘ ‘   ¼’’ dowel (scrap)
Wood glue.

4’ fiberglass winter driveway marker (it was cheaper than a 4 ft dowel).
Craft Foam.
Hot glue

Hand Saw
Sand Paper
1/16 ¼  inch drill bits

Step 1: Atlatl Build

Cut the broomstick to length, drill a ¼ ‘ drill bit drill a ¾ inch depth hole at 45 degree angle about 1’’ from the end of the broomstick.. Take the  ¼’’ dowel  coat the end of the dowel with wood glue and put it into the hole as far as it will go, about 1 ½ ‘’ should be protruding. Use a knife to round the end slightly, use sand paper to finish it.

Finishing the Atlatl take the twine ant tie a clove hitch about ½’’ from where the dowel meets the broomstick towards the end.. Loop the long end around the shaft and up the dowel about ½ way up keeping it tight finish it off by wrapping it again around the broomstick ending in another clove hitch.

Take some wood glue and smother the twine, set it aside to let it dry/cure.

Once dry take the rope and tie a clove hitch such that the knot is in the center of the rope about 6’’ from the hand end. Make a 6-7’’ loop using a square knot, this will go over your wrist to make sure you don’t throw the Atlatl with the dart.

Step 2: Dart Build:

Drill a small hole in the center of the flat end of the driveway marker (1/16 drill bit) about ¼’’ deep. This is your pilot hole fir the ¼’’ bit to follow, use the 1/4’’ bit to form a concave place for the dowel to fit into.

Cut 3 2’’ x 5 ‘’  pieces of craft foam , cut the ends at a 20 degree angle to form the feathers. Using a glue gun adhere the feathers about 3 ½’’ from the end of the dart, at equal spacing using plenty of glue.

On the front page is one I made with a dowel, and the end of an old cheap flag , this one has less bend and goes further.

Step 3: Testing:

See pictures for grip and throw. The throwing pictures are my son, they are old he is now 17 and 6’ 195lbs and can carry me around the yard like a football.

From the pictures you can see the fiberglass dart bend, as it flies it wavers back and forth. Some people have claimed that the dart springs off the end of the Atlatl that is false , the energy stored in the arrow bending does not contribute in any way. Hey it looks cool though when you toss it. 

We went up to the high school and we could easily toss darts 50 yards.

This is just a quickie pulling some old photos together hope you like it. 



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    Do you think bamboo could be used for the projectile and or the throwing stick? I have a pretty good stand of bamboo from about 3/8" to 1" diameter.

    I was a child in Africa and the dart was made of bamboo and where the 'rib' is close to the flight you take a length of string tie a large knot in the end then wrap the string around the rib around knot and hold the string taut over the knot down to the dart tip and lengthen your arm behind you and sling the arrow over your head to your can travel over 100 feet. The string releases once it passes over your head because it slackens off and the string falls down.

    so your knot and wrap would be close to where the fletching would be? and it is launched kind of like a top?

    I used to use bamboo canes years ago, with folded paper flights bound into slots cut in the end.

    It should work, though the wind may catch it. Cut the dart close to a "rib" or whatever they call it, this will make a place for the atlatl point to fit in. In bamboo these ribs are concave and should fit nicely.

    You should make video of it launching

    Kids fun things for the summer. Be sure to take note and tell children how to make this dart.

    Be careful with this. I grew up when Lawn Darts were a thing, and I think I still have a few squirrelled away somewhere.

    There is a reason they don't make them any more.

    I thought they were made illegal? Was that to sell or use? Ah, I looked it up. SALE is banned in the US and Canada.