I had three criteria in mind when creating these;
1. They had to be simple enough to build with my three grandsons.
2. Clothespin release was the easiest way to go but I at least wanted the trigger to be in the correct location, not on top like most rubber band guns.
3. I wanted them to have a vintage look, like the cap guns I played with as a kid.
Step 1: Make a Template
The clothespin trigger works best at a 45 degree angle relative to the barrel. That angle has to be incorporated into the pistol grip. To design the grip I Googled "pistols, line drawings," chose a suitable design and enlarged it to the size I needed. I drew a 45 degree angle on the front of the grip, transferred the design to a piece of cardboard and cut it out to form a template.
Step 2: Do a Mock- Up
You'll need some 1"(actually 3/4") clear pine, a piece of 3/4" wood dowel and some wooden clothespins. Trace the grip design on to the pine and cut it out. Use a scroll saw or coping saw to do this. Cut one leg off the clothespin just below the spring. Cut the dowel to about 9" and file a groove on one end. A triangular file works best for this, however, a burr tool in a Dremel works better. Glue it all together with a hot glue gun as shown, making sure the groove is at the shooting end and horizontal to the hand grip. Also, the cut leg of the clothespin is glued to the grip with the jaw close to the barrel. To load, stretch an elastic from the groove to the jaw of the clothespin and fire away. Now is the time to make modifications. Lengthen or shorten the barrel if needed. You may have to adjust the size of the grip to fit your hand. If so, alter your template as well.
Step 3: Make More
If you are happy with the result, you have two choices. Live with what you made or kick it up a notch and make a matching pair. Start by cutting new pieces and sanding everything smooth. Round over the edges of the grip to make it comfortable to hold. I used the Dremel with a round sanding drum. The silver colour is just spray paint after everything was glued together and given a final sanding. The grips were masked off and painted with acrylic paint for a more authentic look. Finally, to make sights, I pre-drilled the barrel and installed brass screws.
Step 4: Ammo and Safety
The guns I made with my grandsons were left the natural pine colour with bright paint on the grip and barrel tip as I didn't want them mistaken for the real thing! I also insist they wear safety glasses and shoot at a target rather than each other. That keeps my daughter in law happy! To find the best ammo, experiment with a big bag of assorted elastics. Some will be too short but most will work. Longer ones can be doubled up and it's fun seeing which ones will go farthest! When you find the optimal size just buy a bag of them. I found perfect ones at Walmart!