Introduction: Pencil Crossbow

Picture of Pencil Crossbow

This is my entry in the Instructables Launch It Contest.

It is a simple and powerful pencil shooter/crossbow

Step 1: Safety Gear

Picture of Safety Gear

You WILL NEED safety equipment when building and using this device.

When building this device you WILL NEED safety goggles when using the saw and the Exacto knife

When firing this device you WILL NEED safety goggles.

Above all: use common sense.
Don't fire things at the cat.
Don't aim things at your self.
Don't give this to someone that you would not trust with a book of matches.

Step 2: Gather Materials

Picture of Gather Materials


2 Pencils (1 sharpened, 1 unsharpened)
1 Rubber Band

Safety Gear
Exacto Knife
Small Saw

Step 3: Remove Erasers

Picture of Remove Erasers

Remove the erasers and the metal piece from the ends of both pencils using the pliers.
Just pry them off.

You can save them if you like but they are not needed in this project.

Step 4: Notch Ends of Pencils

Picture of Notch Ends of Pencils

Use the saw to cut a small notch in both ends of the unsharpened pencil and the unsharpened end of the sharpened pencil

Step 5: Carve the Arrow Rest

Picture of Carve the Arrow Rest

Use the Exacto knife to carve a dent/notch in the middle of the unsharpened pencil to act as the arrow rest.

Make sure that when carving the arrow rest the notched in the ends of the pencil are vertical so the elastic will fit properly.

Step 6: String the Bow

Picture of String the Bow

You can either String the rubber band once or twice around the unsharpened pencil.

String the rubber band through the notches in the pencil

Step 7: Firing!

Picture of Firing!

To fire your crossbow pull back all of the elastics insert the sharpened pencil.
Make sure that the notch in the back of the pencil has the elastics in it

Pull back the pencil and release it.

The ealstic will not go back very far if it is doubled


hflorman (author)2015-02-27

Super easy and fun.

DeHeld8 (author)2010-12-19

This is no crossbow but a catapult. The defenition of a (cross)bow is that the potential kenetic energy is stored in the elastic limbs of the bow, and not in the elastic string.

Secondly if it were a bow that stores elastic energy in it's limbs, this would be a bow and not a crossbow. Becouse the defenition of a crossbow is a bow mounted on a stave with a mechanical device to hold and release the string. while this device lacks such a stock and triggerdevice.

cybus (author)2009-08-16

thats bull in your video you probably just had the pencil there cause there were no waves from the pencil in that pool

marc92 (author)cybus2009-08-16

Actually, you are wrong. The pencil did fly over the building, and it did, in fact, land in the pool. You could not see any waves because (a) they were very small and dissipated before the camera got to the pool; and (b) the camera filmed in very poor quality. To give an idea of how much power this device had, the pencil with the elastic snapped because of the force applied by the elastics. Cheers!

HardCoreHacker (author)2009-05-17

Ignorance, ignorance, ignorance... This is not a crossbow at all. In fact, this is a shortbow on its side. On a full scale size, a bow of any kind can perform better at certain shots, possible aim, and trajectory for beginners I'm not sure exactly how you would make a real crossbow with pencils but you would need more than one pencil. In fact, I'm sure, for a simple crossbow, you would need at least five pencils. One for the stock, one, possibly two, for the lathe, something for a the catch, one for a trigger, and another for a bolt. and thats a simple one... a full one would include a crannequin and stirrup

shrek150 (author)2009-03-26

big 10-4 ya pile o monkey nuts

Jcd1230 (author)2009-02-08

Yesterday I made a really good crossbow, it doesnt get very good distance, but thats just because i messed up the rubber band and it is kinda loose, but it has a trigger mechanism allowing for easy firing, and I put in a crosshair XD. Im going to post it on instructables soon, when i have the time. By the way, that little crossbow has some insane power for being so small.

roller25 (author)2008-11-26

i have a improvement that might be a little better and durable

roller25 (author)roller252008-11-26

mi pic is da crossbow

how could this be entered in the launch it contest youre not launching it your shooting it!!!!!!!!!!!gosh

Launch, shoot, throw, hurl, they are all the same. And, they let me in the contest, which is now over.

marc92 (author)2008-07-02

Lol. Great.

marc92 (author)2008-06-25


Aburame Shino (author)2007-12-16

L0L. My friend and I would jack some pencils from around the school and pry off the metal and erasers. We had a whole army of erasers. =P It was fun, those days.

X_D_3_M_1 (author)2007-10-14

tape a pencil on u dweebs if u want a cbow this is awesome speccialy since i have all of these pencils that got made into pencil topper darts...

boomboom4000 (author)2007-10-12

that thing is awsome! i shot it and it went through 2 coke cans!

tosplant (author)2007-10-02

Your photos are horrid. Next time set to "Macro" mode on your camera.

marc92 (author)tosplant2007-10-08

My photos are bad but I've seen worse.

GameFreak054 (author)2007-10-08

omg this took you 2 hours this thing totally sucks. you are definetely going to win the instructables take flight contest go 25mm sniper rifle that thing is a beast and a made one

marc92 (author)GameFreak0542007-10-08

It took me two hours including making the video, Instructable, and the bow. I should have been more specific in the video. And try using spell check and proof reading because you contradict yourself. And also, the Launch It contest is over, and I DID win.

zachninme (author)2007-09-21

Congrats on the random prize, although you didn't retake the photos in macro mode like I told you >_>

Charles IV (author)2007-09-21

stupid insrtuctable!!!!

casvandegoor (author)2007-09-07

isn`t it a normal bow?

theque (author)2007-08-28

its more of a bow being that you dont actually have a cross piece.

marc92 (author)theque2007-08-29

yes, true

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