Introduction: Q-Tip Gun

Picture of Q-Tip Gun

I made it out of a few household objects, it launches Q-tips anywhere between 30-50ft.

Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies

1.Pen (all you will need from it is the plastic body for the barrel, so make sure you can fit a Q-tip inside of it)
2.Pill Bottle (the small kind that are like an inch in diameter)
3.Electrical or Duct tape
4. PVC Glue or some other type of glue that is very strong (i only used pvc glue becuase i found some in my garage)
5.A sparker- There are two possible sparkers you could use
1. I took a grill lighter and took it apart and just took out the butane tank and the long metal neck thing, so when it was done all i had was the body of the lighter with 2 wires sticking out of it ( there a picture of it on one of the next pages). - You will need 2 screws for this type of sparker
you can also use a grill sparker which would be easier
2. The other type of sparker you could use is a lantern sparker, i haven't actaully used one of these on something this small but i would guess it would work.
6.Drill with small bits ( obviously for putting the small holes in the pill bottle)

Step 2: Assembly

Picture of Assembly

This really is pretty simple,
Step 1: Take the pill bottle and drill a whole in the bottom of it, the hole should be the same diameter as the pen or maybe a tiny bit smaller. You want to keep the hole small so that when the barrel goes into it theres not a lot of apace around it.

Step 2: Take your pen apart, all you need from it is the plastic tube body. Take the tube and fit it into the hole that you drilled into the pill bottle, and then slap some of the PVC Glue on that, make sure you seal up all the cracks, otherwise the gun will not work.

Step 3: If your using the grill lighter as a sparker: drill two very small pilot holes for the screws to go into. Then screw the screws into the hole leaving them stick out a little bit, you want the tips of the screws about 1/8 inch apart, if they're too far apart or if they're touching , it won't spark.

Step 4:Then take your wires from the sparker and attach them to the screws, and test to see if it sparks if it doesn't adjust the screws until it works then take the wires off the screws and PVC glues the screws in place, this also seals the bottle better, and then reattach the wires to the screws.

Step 5: I finally made one with an lanter sparker in it, it took awhile but it works quite well. The only problem is that i can't get hair spray work with the sparker, but i found a solution. Gasoline, simply dip the end of a Q-tip into some gas so it soakes it in, then swab the bottle in one complete circle around the inside with the gasoline soaked Q-tip, then close the cap put the Q-tip in the barrel and fire.

Step 3: Firing

Picture of Firing
To fire, put a Q-tip in the barrel, make it doesn't slide down into the bottle part just spray a very small amount of hairspray into the chamber and very quickly close the top, if you do this part to slow the gases will escape and it won't fire, if you use to much most likely it won't fire due to not enough oxygen, or if it does the bottle could possible explode.

If you want you can wrap the bottle part in electrical tape, if you put duct tape on the screws the electricity from the sparker will go through it, so use electrical tape.

In the video below I used a lantern sparker, and I used propane from an old lighter which I stuck a small piece of tubing on the end of, its actaully just the outside casing of copper wire.


Blindmisfits (author)2006-10-17

I cant get mine to work its bugging me

saskskrat (author)Blindmisfits2009-11-21

if it only works sometimes, try wiping out some of the gunk from the spray sometimes left behind on the screws. also make sure the screws a close enough together to spark. and check to see if the BBQ lighter is sparking.

cbennett811 (author)Blindmisfits2009-06-24

i had some trouble with mine too. i think it was lack of oxygen. i drilled to small vent holes in the bottom of the pill bottle next to the barrel. it helped alot , but watch not to plug the barrel to tight and keep fingers away from the vent! i stuffed a wad of paper in and flames came out the vent instead of the barrel. left a wicked little burn. does anyone no how the grill lighter ignition actually works? it seems like it only sparks half the time. i tore a broken one apart to try to figure it out but i still dont get it.

saskskrat (author)2009-11-21

Holy Cow!!! Me and a friend made this for a school science project, and it worked. destroyed a picnic table andclose to destroying said friends house, but it was fun and now we know that if your q-tip is jammed in the barrel you should just shove it out with something, not shoot it(huge backfire lucky it only hit my arm). in the end we weren't allowed to present it at school because it works like a real gun. If you have any questions send to my instructables account. this summer i will try to make a double barrel q-tip gun!!

manmelvin (author)2007-09-02

Would anything work besides hairspray i cant find any in my house

mo5 (author)manmelvin2009-08-19

outs works the best

toogers (author)manmelvin2009-08-14

use axe/lynx spray deodorant.

noah1r (author)manmelvin2009-05-14

wd40 will work

bneboys (author)manmelvin2009-04-19

any spray works as long as its flammable i use fly spray.

Arrgh406 (author)2006-08-02

do you think engine srtarting fluid will work?

turtleguy7 (author)Arrgh4062009-08-02

possibly but very dangerous

mettaurlover (author)2009-07-26

now to figure out how to make it shoot flaming toothpicks...

King Crab (author)2009-03-13

Why's the video private?

thomasedisonjr (author)2007-12-11

Very dangerous! That plastic pill container can explode! Plastic shards in the eye can be serious! Also, there could be pill residue on the container which could get on the swab. If the swab hits someone in the eye, the medicine could enter through the tear duct. Yes, a long shot, but these things happen. This really has the potential to send someone to intensive care! Therefore, I cannot recommend your Instructable. However, I will not deny you a compliment for cleverness.

quit bein a wuss.

Spedy (author)thomasedisonjr2008-07-06

I've made these things dozens of times, it is VERY hard to make these things explode with just butane (though this is a valid concern.) For people w/o pill bottles available, films cans make nice chambers as well.

tigerboy (author)thomasedisonjr2008-05-01

come on get a life other than putting people down

thats why u wash the bottle and wear goggles

bigfootduck (author)2009-03-07

u could also turn this into a mini spud gun. just take a slice of potato (about 1/8" to 1/4" thick) and stamp the tip of the barrel on the potato slice. when u lift it up, there should be a little piece of potato (the same thickness as the slice u cut) stuck in the barrel. when u shoot it, it is just like a mini potato gun. i did this and it was awesome! except i used a chapstick bettle instead of a pill case and thumb tacks instead of screws.

The Expert Noob (author)2009-02-22

your video dosent work. Maybe you should try uploading it again AND MAKING IT PUBLIC!

imthatguy1125 (author)2008-12-15

cool i have built one bet the video doesnt work

offlogic (author)2006-07-16

I hesitate to interfere with Darwinian forces like this, but I gotta say it: You best be wrapping that pill bottle with something! Plastic frag is tough on the eyes, and doesn't show up on X-rays very well.

mrbob1000 (author)offlogic2006-07-23

cat scans my man or mri's

bigstiffe (author)mrbob10002007-02-03

mri....lets seethat stands for MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGERY where do you thinkthere might be a problem in detecting PLASTICshrapnel...hmmmm maybe..just maybePLASTIC IS NOT MAGNETIC.. just apassing of info to my dear misinformed .

aiden120000 (author)bigstiffe2007-04-12

so how does an mri see body parts

You have Metal in your body, that's how. ;P

<a href=""> Here is some </a>
<a href=""> How MRI works </a>

Patrik (author)Quick Comment2007-12-11

MRI has nothing to do with metals in your body. MRI measures the resonance of hydrogen atoms when excited by radio waves inside a very strong magnetic field.

Considering that plastics are hydrocarbon polymers, I expect they would show up on an MRI very nicely, provided you can tune the MRI for the specific signal they give off.

Plastics *are* very hard to detect on X-rays however. Much harder than glass, for example. This is why there was such a hubbub a while back about new plastic-based guns which could go undetected by airport security.

CAT scans work by taking X-ray images from all angles to reconstruct the 3D structure of the tissues. Therefore, CAT scans are going to have the same trouble with plastic shards as X-rays.

Do keep in mind that X-ray technology has advanced a *lot* over the past decades. I'm sure today's airport X-ray machines have been tuned to be able to detect plastic guns by now. And I'd bet that plastic shards would be noticeable on a modern-day X-ray, if you knew to look for them. They'll never show up as well as glass, ceramic or metal though.

JoshMan619 (author)Patrik2008-08-17

yes, Patrik is correct, i work in the medical field, and therfore know firsthand that the magnetic part of MRI deals only with how the device works to complete its goal, and therefore, the object you are looking for need be neither, magnetic, or a metal of any type.. quite simply it works through the same concept of sonar (with sound waves), and laser mapping (using, of course, lasers).. but in this case, magnetic fields are used since they can pass through objects, depending on strength, to make a 3 dimensional mapping of the terrain, or in this case person, it is applied to =]

Quick Comment (author)Patrik2008-01-24

That's why I listed the sites to go to to look @ it in detail and put a :P that turned out to be a ;P for some godawful reason. By actually reading those articles, I kind of figured out my first reaction was wrong, albeit still funny (to me at least). But thanks for posting it in detail.

robacarp (author)mrbob10002006-07-24

even still! tape it.....

EvilGeniouse16 (author)2008-08-06

Yes, i am the same guy as below, but anyway, i have a great big caution tip, if you keep upgrading the project like i did, you will find that you need a bigger hole on the cannon barrel part of the bottle. I have had the same size hole for every project, and thanks to that set back, the cannon is in 50 million pieces, and i have lost the hearing in my right ear (my fault anyway), So i caution, the bigger the barrel, or body, the bigger the cannon exit hole has to be!

EvilGeniuse16 (author)2008-07-11

First off, thomasedisonjr, I like the cautioness, you are right, we should be safe, and fyrothepyro, i like the design, i myself couldn't find a pill bottle, so i usedthe small teabottle,WOW, be safe and build a handle if you use a tea bottle, It gets hot fast!

Lee333 (author)2008-05-01

use a tiny plastic straw and u can use bbs untill the stray melts

jamel190 (author)2008-03-30

i made one with a large pill worked great the first 4 times....then i put 5 sprays of gasoline in it........BOOOOM!!!!!! got 2ed degree burns on my hand

BoomBoom123 (author)2008-03-10

i made one of these.Very fun. But i would sujgest taking the ignitor out of the lighter and attaching it to the bottle, to make it more compact. I have also taken the lighter fluid out and attached that to the barrel as well, and i made the barrel from a film comtainer (with the cap glued on).great concept though. really got me interested

pandiyanrajesh (author)2008-01-14

Good and useful website for childrens and young Graduants who are really interested in creativeness in the field of science and technology.


JoeyJaroz (author)2007-11-02

First off you stole thoes pics at the top but still good instructable and i found axe to work as a good propellent and if you soak the q-tips end it goes farther also cut and sharpen q-tip/ or putting a needle in the end is fun

X_D_3_M_1 (author)JoeyJaroz2007-11-15

its not stealin

twitchy (author)2007-10-06

yay something to do today.... oh lil brother

e-hizzle (author)2007-05-05

woulden't this egnite the q-tip?

heheheheheheh this is a GOOD thing!

oh and thats "Ignite" not "egnite"

girrrrrrr2 (author)e-hizzle2007-07-14

no... unless you get the qtip wet with the flamable liquid... and then if it does catch on fire than you have an incindary... which in a way is much better...

Waterpolo93 (author)girrrrrrr22007-08-01

u have to get the sparkers wet with the chemical that ur using to ignite.... that gives it a boost and its touching the spark always or ur waiting too long to ignite it/

joemonkey (author)e-hizzle2007-07-21

nope. i even soaked the end that the flame hits in mine and it didnt ignite.

indeed85 (author)2007-07-29

I couldnt get mine to work... until i used butane from a lighter; just hold the gun barrel up, press the button on the lighter, put the cap on while its still pointing up and voila!

schmidtty (author)2007-02-11

this thing is absolutely worthless!ive tried electric ignitors, sparkers, even a freakin match, it just wont ignite anything!!

girrrrrrr2 (author)schmidtty2007-07-14

maybe it is the flamable liquid you are using... i know of ome that works good... try the spray bottles of the breath freashener... and then if that doesnt work shake the hole thing... to produce vapors... than make sure that you have an "electronic" lighter igniter with the ends of the wires a correct dist apart so they will make a spark... and then if you wanna get it done easier... just get one of those lighters with the very long end...(the one you light candles with...) than take the end of the lighter where the flame comes out of... and put a hole in a part of the chamber and stich the end in it... put hot glue around it (for a better seal...) and that should fix it...

Dorkfish92 (author)2007-03-26

Great instructable! I glued my pill bottle to the lighter for a pistol feel and I used paper clips instead of screws because they are easier to clean after gunk from hairspray builds up on them. I got a good 50+ ft! My first POWERFULL shot was when I shot my lil' sis in the arm and it left a minature paintball-like welt cuz the cotton came off one end of the Q-tip.

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