Introduction: Water Balloon Launcher

Picture of Water Balloon Launcher

Here is how you can make your own  water balloon launcher. We use high strength surgical tubing unlike many of the launchers you can buy online that don't shoot very far. The cost of materials is about $18. This instructable covers only the launcher. See the Water Balloon Launch Pad for instructions for the frame.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

Materials required:

(1) small roll of duct tape
(2) 8 inch lengths of 1/2" vinyl tubing
(2) 6 foot lengths of latex rubber surgical tubing

The vinyl tubing can be purchased from a hardware store. The latex rubber tubing can be purchased online. One good source is McMaster part number 5234K75. It should be 3/32" wall thickness (not 1/16" thick). The surgical tubing sold at hardware stores is normally only 1/16" thick and not strong enough to launch a balloon 300 yards. If you are in a pinch and don't have time to order the thicker tubing, then you can double-up the 1/16" tubing, but that gets quite expensive.

Step 2: Pouch Layout

Picture of Pouch Layout

Attach together 5 pieces of duct about 18 inches long. Fold over the top and bottom edges about 1/2" to create a hem. Take 2 pieces of tape about 7 inches long and fold over one edge about 1/2" to create a hem. Place these 2 pieces with the hems facing each other about 3 inches apart across the 5 pieces of tape.

Step 3: Add Tubing Channels

Picture of Add Tubing Channels

Place the two 8" pieces of tubing across the 5 pieces of tape about 8 inches apart. (The threaded rod in the picture is only used to keep the tubing straight during this step). Fold the ends of the 5 pieces of tape over the vinyl tubing and adhere them back on themselves.

Step 4: Handle

Picture of Handle

Make a handle by attaching 2 pieces of tape about 22" long lengthwise. Then fold or roll them lengthwise into a 1/2" wide strip.

Step 5: Insert Handle

Picture of Insert Handle

Cut two 1/2" slits 3 inches apart in the middle of the pouch. Do not cut through the hemmed tape embedded in the pouch, rather cut right next to it. Insert the handle through these slits. Leave a loop of the handle sticking up big enough to easily fit your hand into.

Step 6: Secure Handle

Picture of Secure Handle

Wrap the ends of the handle around the pouch, overlapping the loop of handle that was created in the previous step. Secure the overlapped portions of the handle together by wrapping them with tape.

Step 7: Attach Surgical Tubing

Picture of Attach Surgical Tubing

Insert the surgical tubing through the vinyl tubing channels and tie each one together with a square knot.

Step 8: Bomb's Away!

Picture of Bomb's Away!

This is a 3-man launcher but we've attached it to the Water Balloon Launch Pad which only requires one person to load and launch. Have fun!


NathanC65 (author)2016-03-14

Great idea! Do you know how much force and/or energy you got out of this design? Thanks.

rshuhart (author)2014-04-01

This is a great idea for a handy man looking to have some fun. I wouldn't just want to trust surgical tubing and duct tape when there are plenty of ready made water balloon launchers out there. This one looks pretty good.

PMSandaGun (author)2013-07-14

Nice intructable! Is there a McMaster-Carr number for the vinyl tubing? Or could you tell me how flexible it is and the inside diameter, wall thickness, etc? Otherwise, I have everything I need, Bwaaahaaahaaa!

geppetto425 (author)2012-03-09

Cool, thx!

geppetto425 (author)2012-03-08

that part number shows lots of different tubing, what diameter do I need to go into the vinyl tubing??

The part number is 5234K75. The tubing is 1/4" ID and 7/16 OD. Thanks!
TInnus Technology

broper (author)2011-08-23


parafoil (author)2011-08-16

What do you think of using Exercise Bands in place of the latex rubber surgical tubing?

ilpug (author)2011-08-15

well done! i might try to convert this to a rifle-type launcher.

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