Introduction: Pocket Sized Minty Catapult

Picture of Pocket Sized Minty Catapult

This is my entry for the pocket size contest. This neat little catapult will launch mints or other fun projectiles in a medieval and discrete manner. It only takes about 10 minutes to build, and is really fun. Enjoy.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools

All the materials and tools you need for this project can be found around your home.


Tin (I used an Altoids Gum tin because it was small and compact)
Coat hanger
Rubber bands
Electrical tape (any tape will do)
Small piece of cardboard
Measuring spoon (or something similar)
Paint (optional)


Wire cutters
Hot Glue

Step 2: Freshen Your Breath...

Picture of Freshen Your Breath...

Get you tin ready, whether that means eating the mints/gum, or giving it a good cleaning as you will be adding glue soon.

Step 3: Making the Tension Arm....

Picture of Making the Tension Arm....

Cut a piece of wire hanger to your desired length. This will vary depending on the size of the tin.

You are going to bend the wire to fit as flush as possible in the tin, and have two notches on each side to hold the rubber band in place (see picture)

I used a pair of pliers and a small vice to get this step done. You may need to try a couple of times to get it just right.

Step 4: Cutting Spoons?

Picture of Cutting Spoons?

Take your measuring spoon and cut the handle to the desired length. I found plastic spoons to be the best option as they are quite light. You'll want the spoon to be approximately 80% the length of the tin to allow for movement.

Step 5: Holding the Arm in Place...

Picture of Holding the Arm in Place...

In this step we are going to make an insert that will fit over the spoon and in between the rubber band. This will allow for adjustments to the length of the catapult as well as aid in winding the rubber band.

To do this, cut a small piece of cardboard and wrap it around the base of the spoon. While still on the spoon, wrap a couple turns of tape for added strength.

IMPORTANT: Do not tape the cardboard to the spoon; you want to be able to remove the spoon. You want it to be snug but allow for movement.

Step 6: Getting Ready to Fire...

Picture of Getting Ready to Fire...

Remove the cardboard spoon holder from the spoon. Place a rubber band across the tin on the two notches made with the coat hanger.

Insert the holder between the rubber band and start turning. Make sure you turn in the right direction or the catapult wont fire.

Step 7: Bombs Away....

Picture of Bombs Away....

Insert the spoon into the holder and voila, you are finished. Load up the catapult and fire away.

It may take several tries to get your desired settings. Your shots will depend on three things. 1) the size and weight of your ammo 2) the tension in the rubber band and 3) the length of the catapult's arm.

I got some pretty good distance after playing with it for a while, and it is good fun.

I also made some small targets that fit inside the lid for when I can't find anyone to shoot mints at.

Have fun, and please make or suggest improvements and post your pics. Be careful not to hurt anyone or give them fresh breath.


cspurlin (author)2013-11-02

I don't understand how you keep the rubber band twisted..? Or do you just twist it with the small cardboard thing in and then insert the spoon?

scooter76 (author)cspurlin2015-09-30

Because the spoon can make full rotations, the tension is kept in the rubber band.

swablo (author)2015-08-25

does it even work

scooter76 (author)swablo2015-09-30

You bet it does......

emilolip (author)2013-03-10

I know it said to turn it the "right" way but which way does that mean?
other than that my catapult seems cool, but it just doesn't work... :(

emilolip (author)2013-03-10

I know it said to turn it the "right" way but which way does that mean?
other than that my catapult seems cool, but it just doesn't work... :(

madmea23 (author)2011-12-11

When I made this catapult, it didn't fire very far, I'm not sure if I did something wrong or if it just doesn't fire very far...

kidkid108 (author)madmea232012-03-03

try winding the spoon part up.

yapoyo (author)kidkid1082012-09-28

Oh, it's you again! hello.

kidkid108 (author)yapoyo2012-10-16


aronmills (author)2012-09-27

awesome and minty

miky19522 (author)2010-03-19

im having a very hard time getting the rubber bands on

agent-0008 (author)miky195222012-07-10

how are you putting them on? all at once or 1 at a time? if all at once, dont. if 1 at a time, try using tweezers.

yousuffarooq (author)2011-06-07

wait it looks like you live in the uk because of the plug in the glue gun so were did you buy altoids

Mutantflame (author)yousuffarooq2011-07-03

I live in the UK and I found them in a pharmacy by chance... So have a look around and you'll run into them soon enough. Hopefully.

Poundland sell them - if you have one near you.

DIYproductions (author)2012-02-06

Umm...can you use a blinder clip instead?

bfk (author)2011-11-26

Congratulations on your contest win. This thing is totally cool, and I'm off to get a tin of Altoids:)

Mauigerbil (author)2011-07-26

Wow. Me gusta. I would use this to launch them in mah mouth. lol

rzheang (author)2011-05-12

couldnt find any altoids.
nice post

muberblob (author)rzheang2011-05-31

you can get the mints at a guardian drug mart

scooter76 (author)rzheang2011-05-18

Tons online for sale, but I tend to put the word out and friends keep hold of them and pass them on to me..... All the best.

snipir (author)2011-05-31

This is absolutely adorable!

oanderson (author)2011-01-04

Love this, even better when you use a stationary tin, and just for those of you like me who don't have a hot glue gun, you can just use thick duct tape along the bottom, I put a roll of cardboard covered in duct tape along the bottom, that worked great as a break.

scooter76 (author)oanderson2011-05-18

post some pics, would love to see others take on the project. Thanks for the positive comment. All the best.

oanderson (author)scooter762011-05-18

here are my two catapults, as soon as I saw the comment, I took the photo :)

scooter76 (author)oanderson2011-05-19


oanderson (author)scooter762011-05-19

Thanks, with inspiration from this, I build a larger one from scratch out of meccano really powerful, I took it into school and it flings a mint imperial across the classroom, really powerful. I'll get some photos if you like.

A flyin muffin (author)2011-02-25

Can you use the foaming gorilla glue if you don't have hot glue?

scooter76 (author)A flyin muffin2011-05-18

Should work fine. give it a go.

terminator300 (author)2009-08-17

taking it in school might be fun

jwoo2023 (author)terminator3002011-05-12

hit the teacher or principal!

unrealtron (author)2010-06-16

Were I live there are no altoids.... But nice post!!

jwoo2023 (author)unrealtron2011-05-12

me neither but i used an eclipse tin the long one with a lid on the small side and put a long spring stuck it to a card board rectangle then loaded it in and gave it to my friend.... he opens it.... BAM! The cardboard piece and spring whack him in the face!

mason0190 (author)2009-07-08

Maybe beans would make better ammo? They 1)are more aerodynamic and 2)more can fit inside the tin.

mcaldwell1 (author)mason01902011-04-28

your rite

scooter76 (author)mason01902009-07-08

i used Altoids as the ammo since I was using an altoids tin. The options for ammo are endless. Try one out and post some pics.

thetaco101 (author)2011-04-19

Darn! My mom just threw my Altoids tin away I'll have to get some soon to make that.

wito31 (author)2010-06-03

im going to use this to fire sneezing powder

thetaco101 (author)wito312011-04-19

nice dude

CamillaLuvzMusic (author)2011-01-17

I just made this, and its FRICKIN amazing!

tim1 (author)2010-12-10

I thought of something, for the spoon to be powerful enough to go kinda far, it would pop the lid open, wouldn't it?

oanderson (author)tim12011-01-04

It takes a lot more force to open the tin, but the spoon still has a lot of force

tim1 (author)oanderson2011-01-10

thanks!!!!!! :)

oanderson (author)tim12011-01-12

Now, if you haven't made one ... why not? these are great!!

Mr.Unknown (author)2011-01-01

you could load it and close the box then ask your friend if he wants a mint. when he opens the box... : D ouch

Air_Assassin (author)2010-11-22

Lolz santa is checking his list twice

cfurykid (author)2010-10-14

my glue came loose
tip: if you want more of a ark when firing place the rubber bands higher up on the cardbord spoon cover thing

cfurykid (author)2010-10-12


cfurykid (author)2010-10-03

i failed, bad! my spoon was to big my coat hanger rack thing was to tall. il cut it down and get a dif spoon

About This Instructable




Bio: Jack of all trades, master of none. Father, husband, creator.
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