Introduction: Paperclip Archery

Picture of Paperclip Archery

This is my first Instructable so please, not too much criticism.

Welcome to Paper Clip Archery 101.

School classes boring you? Why not make a Paper Clip Bow and Arrow set! Easily adaptable depending on the amount of pain you wish to inflict and the final result is very discreet for most school environments (and even offices like I currently use mine in).

In this guide I'll show and explain to you how to make the basic design and ammo, modifications for levels of sting, and various of the design. I'm making it out to be way more complicated than it is, it's just a Elastic Bow and Arrow / Crossbow Set :P

PLEASE NOTE: Images will be posted to accompany this Instructable in the next 24 hours.

Step 1: Requirements

Picture of Requirements

You will need:

1 x Elastic Band
1 x 30cm/12" Ruler
1 x Roll of Transparent Cellotape
1 x Box of Paperclips
1 x Pair of Plyers

Step 2: Making the Ammo

To make your ammo, take a paperclip from the box and unfold it so its a long piece of metal with the hook at the end. Use the flat part of the plyers (most likely the tip) to straighten out the length as much as possible, it helps with the dynamics and looks good.
For variations see The Variations section.

Step 3: Making the Bow

To make the bow, simply take your 30cm ruler and stretch the elastic band from one end to the other. For a classroom environment you dont really want to be causing real harm, so I'd suggest using an elastic band thats roughly 10-15cm long when laid flat. This is to reduce the amount of 'twang' noise that you get and to reduce the zipping noise that some paperclip designs make whilst they are travelling through the air.
For variations see The Variations section.

Step 4: Testing the Bow

To test the bow, simply hold the ruler in the middle with your middle finger and thumb, and use your index and little finger to push up either end slightly. This will cause the elastic band to lift off the surface of the ruler and allow you to twang it. Pull the band back a few inches, hopefully the band will have enough friction at either end of the ruler to not slide off. If it does, you can use some cellotape to keep it there.
For variations see The Variations section.

Step 5: Aiming Your Weapon

Excellent! You now own a fully functional, yet discreet Classroom Projectile Launcher. Now you just need to know how to aim it properly. If your in the classroom and you're looking to annoy someone then you'll most likely want to look like it wasnt you who did it. The best way to do this is to aim it like a cross bow - hold it in the way that you held it to test it with your hand flat on the desk. Lightly lift up the ends of the ruler so allow access to the elastic band. Hook the paperclip in the centre, aligned with your hand and arm. Pull back an inch or two, depending on the distance it has to cover and let go. As soon as you let go of the paperclip rest your hand flat again to unbend the bow and go about your normal business to go undetected. Another way to do it is to put the bow upright on your desk.

Step 6: Variations

Making the Ammo: Variations

One problem with using paperclips, whether they be made of metal of coated in plastic, is that there is a lack of friction. This means when you pull back the paperclip once it hooked, you will only be able to pull it back so far before you lose grip and it misfires. This can be countered in 2 ways. One way is to use the plyers to bend the end of the clip 0.75cm away from the hook, allowing you to pull it back without the guide snagging on the band as it is fire. The only problem with this is that sometimes the paperclip will veer off slightly andl rotate in the air. The other solution is to use electrical tape (or some more cellotape) to wrap up the end of the paperclip to give some more grip. 3 or 4 wraps should do it - this also gives weight to the clip and adds force.

Making/Testing the Bow: Variations:

To make your bow tighter without changing elastic bands, simply hold onto one end of the ruler (pinching the end of the band) and stretching the band. Then pinch the other end and let go of the ruler and band at the other end. Just tie a knot in the band at this point and your ruler will be stronger. You could always use the cellotape to pin down either end of the bow after stretching it out. If stealth is your main priority, you should try to get a ruler that matches the colour of your elastic bands.

Step 7: Done :D

Congratulations, you have successfully completed Paperclip Archery 101.

I have to warn you that paperclips do sting and on occassions they will rotate in mid-air so becareful not to aim in someones face incase the sharp end comes around and gets them. In general aim away from the face, eyes, mouth and ears. However the back of someones head is fine.

Also, be stealthy. If using in a classroom environment always be warey of the teachers location and range of vision :P

Have fun, expect a video up of this in action this week.


AudreyR2 (author)2015-06-03

Love it! Cant wait to try it out!

softball8 (author)2013-12-22

Pics pls

amconder (author)2013-12-20

Good but more pics please

as9 (author)2013-07-19

Could you please add some pics? It's hard to get it.

mo5 (author)2009-09-22


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canida (author)2007-05-02


bears0 (author)canida2011-02-08

you missed B 0_o

Epeoples (author)canida2009-01-14

isn't it: eh? oh well just wondered

coxrox123 (author)2010-05-09

 Can you please add some more picture to the instructionss?

nutsandbolts_64 (author)2010-03-11

4 years later I see no other pics. i get it, but there are other ways to make a weapon of a covert war. 

quesoman (author)2009-06-21

pics plz

nomadic bowman (author)2009-05-19

add some pics

kylexy116 (author)2009-05-17

It sounds really cool but it is hard to understand without the pictures, please add some more. =)

fireblast_1212 (author)2009-02-16

Two years and no pics.

naruto 777 (author)2008-01-14

dude, not everybody has acses to this stuff like plyers during school

LINGLING (author)naruto 7772008-12-14

lol and how would one be reading this at school?

naruto 777 (author)LINGLING2008-12-14

i wasnt, they said that you could make this at school

ninjaimasta (author)naruto 7772008-02-20

you could just make a pile of paperclips at home and bring them to school lol, not too hard to figure out

naruto 777 (author)ninjaimasta2008-02-21

ummmmmm i have one class i have acses to paper clips and thats only sometimes

icedog515 (author)naruto 7772008-03-19

u spelled accesswrong.

Arbitror (author)2008-12-09

More pics are needed.

randomguy96 (author)2008-07-22

what he said

bigfootduck (author)2008-06-05

add more pictures. it's hard to understand. It sounds like a great invention though! I want to make one.

acaz93 (author)2007-12-02

This is a cool idea , But over 10,800 Hours have past and i still see no pictures , what happened ?

weebs133 (author)acaz932008-05-05

dude some times people get busy

acaz93 (author)weebs1332008-05-05


bowmasterz (author)2008-03-20

how do u get the pic/icon next 2 your name on the comment??? im new please help

im_tux (author)2008-01-24

woa dude holycow that guy must have said sometin to piss you off. and just to tell you some people say its their 1st just cuz they dun want all the lame comments

112251919112 (author)2007-12-17

that was weak criticism, so stop yappin' your mouth, and freaking out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Deception (author)2007-11-30

dont worry about christov, people are assholes, especially on the internet because (as peter steiner said for the paper"The New Yorker") "On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog". if you get the metaphor, youll feel alot better.

Deception (author)Deception2007-11-30

sorry, meant to say "dont worry about it, christov"

jakee117 (author)2007-11-02

just have fun don't let mean people bother u and every one mellow out and be

highvoltageev (author)2007-05-30

How many people do we need to tell us how to shoot something using a rubber band? A monkey could have figured half of these out.

Ben.land101 (author)2007-03-30

this is probabably the simplest instructable i have ever seen but i think its a great idea and use of supplies. but i started paper "wasp" and mecanical pencil guns "fights" at my school so its hard to have rubber bands because if a teacher sees you with a rubber band she/he will take it away and if they see you shooting stuff with them they will send you to iss. this a great idea because it is very stealthy to do as long as its your ruler and paperclilps. so i think this is cool. :) (sorry about the lenght of this reply i couldnt think of a way to say that summarized) oh and if you people could please stop talking about the spelling and other stuff and talk about the thing you accually make.

chuck norris (author)2006-12-01

jeez. its just a stressed person, a crossbow, and a few typos. chill out. you guys are starting a critisizm/insult war and honestly, it hasnt helped anyone. but i do have to say that your frustration, christov, shouldnt be taken out on your commentors. and commentors, give the dude a break. make it constructive critisizm. so can we call it a truce. (i know you are thinking "chuck norris and truce go together like alcohol and chlorine" but isnt this website part showing off your intellegence, part learning, and part meeting people who either teach or learn and at the same time meet a new aquaintance?) ((by the way i am obviously not the real chuck norris. i just think the name is fun to have.))

zorahunter (author)2006-11-01

dude... pics, please, good idea and keep the instructables coming (if theyre good). but you need to learn how to take the criticism, not everything is a personal attac toward you. and saying "dumbfuck" is unnescesary (srry bout sp, little time on comp left)

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