Introduction: How to Make a Clothespin Luger Rubberband Gun

About: 25 year old social cultural worker making things that he finds cool! My interests are wide and vary, but usually if the voice in the back of my head goes: "That's cool we should totally make that!" I get excit…

Are you tired of office/classroom/backyard wars without any stylish or efficient weapons?

Tired of trying to put that rubberband on your finger and holding it with your pinkie just to have it slip off seconds before you want to fire?

Do you want to shoot your colleagues in style? Do you want them to tremble in fear when they see how prepared you are for the battlefield?

Well then this Instructable is definitely something for you! Because today you will learn how to make a luger rubberband gun out of wood!

In this instructable I will show you how you can make your own Luger rubberband gun. The main advantages of this RBG (rubberband gun) is that it is light, stylish ,much easier and faster to reload then the hand trick (5 seconds against 10) and it's completely failproof and will never shoot by accident! (unlike the hand trick). Unlike BB guns it will never break and requires extremely little maintenance. It is also an ideal gift for kids, classmates or colleagues or a father son project for you and your boy to enjoy. You can let your kids play wars with these in the backyard, or you yourself in the classroom or office.

I always wanted to build rubber band guns as they are great toys for kids and adults alike. However I never could because I couldn't get my hands on those plastic trigger thingies. But then I found an alternative, the clothespin! So I wanted to make one of a WW2 pistol as I am a big fan of that period. I chose the luger as it is stylish and instantly recognisable. However the rule of the internet (whatever you think off somebody else will have already made it and posted it on the internet) was true again and somebody else had already made it. I saw a video of a clothespin luger made by a "WLenW" but that video didn't really help me as he didn't show how to build it and his was made out of multiple pieces of wood while I wanted to make it out of two pieces. So I decided to build it my way instead of finding out how he did it. He did give me the idea for cutting off one of the legs of the clothingpin though and I would like to credit him for it. All the other stuff was thought off by me :)

Disclaimer: A rubberband has not hurt anyone to my knowledge except perhaps a sting that lasted 5 minutes, so as far as parts of the body that get shot goes, there shouldn't be any danger. However if the rubberband should shoot in somebody's eye, they could really get hurt. It's therefore my advice that the people who play this game use goggles or glasses during playso they won't accidently put someone's eye out. I advice sunglasses, it makes you seem alot cooler and that's always a plus ;)

Did that commercial sound like something you heard it before? Well then you probably saw my other instructable "how to make a ping pong ball gun" ) This instructable is a follow up in the series of ibles I plan to create on wooden toys. No knowledge of the other ible is needed but if you plan to make toys for your kids it is perhaps convienient to check those out to. That's why it is included here.

This is an entry for the "DadCanDo Family Fun"contest so if you think this ible is a winner please rate and vote for me :)

Step 1: Materials and Tools

As you will notice this Instructable is very cheap and out of the materials you must gather you probably can build a few guns for your partners in crime or as backup weapons!

For this project you will need:


  • Sander
  • A drill
  • Jigsaw (powertool)
  • Hammer
  • Saw
  • Clamps
  • An adjustable workbench (or something else  you can clamp your  wood on and easily saw it)
  • Woodglue
  • Superglue
  • A vise
  • Wood 2 cm/0.78 inch thick and atleast 20cm/ 7.78 inch long(I used wood from a pallet my dad had laying around the house.)
  • A wooden rod diameter 1 cm/ 0.39 inch length 10 cm/ 3.9 inch
  • Another wooden rod diameter 1,5 cm/ 0.59 inch length to be chosen yourself (these will be for the two circles on the side of the gun)
  • One clothespin
  • 1 nail

I had all these materials at home so this was free for me. I'm  pretty sure you'll have these materials at home to or you can improvise. For instance I used a pallet for the main part because it had a good thickness but if you find 2 cm to thick to hold in your hand comfortably you could easily go with another thickness. The same goes for the type of wood. Pallets mostly use  hardwood  to carry the heavy weight that is put on them which is great because it will make the gun sturdier and almost impossible to break.

Step 2: Research

An Important aspect of nearly every build is research.

Though the research wasn't much in this project it was important to the end result.

The clothespin system

The clothespin system is really easy to understand. Normally you should know how it works just by looking at the main picture for this ible.

For the people who don't understand, you stick a piece of the rubberband between the two pieces of the clothespin and then put the other end of the rubberband around the nail. By applying pressure to the leg of the clothespin (there is only one the other was shortend) you make the rubberband release and fly forward. The nail is bent so to make the rubberband always fly away and in a straighter line.

The shape of a luger

The second part of the research was the shape of a luger. I have added some pictures I used for research. The most important one is the first, since the gun is completely flat and therefore easy to change to real size. But this is something for the next step.

Just make sure that after this step you understand how your gun works, where you will place the clothespin and that you have a descent reference picture of the gun you want to build from the side. And to make the gun look more realistic, the backside and up side to.

You don't need to do any actual research if you are building a luger like I did. I added this step however so if you'd want to make another model of pistol you know how I came up with it :)

Step 3: Tracing Out the Gunshape on the Wood.

Okay in the previous step I explained the importance of a sideview picture of your gun. And here is why: We are going to stretch this picture using word to fit the exact dimensions of a real life luger. Now this may sound hard but this just means we will select the gun from the end of the barrel to the end of the gun in paint. Copy it to Word and by using the "size" option stretching it out to a realistic length (in this case the luger is 23 cm long)

But you don't need to do that as I already have done it for you, just download the Word document I added and print it out. Print it in color or in black and white it doesn't matter.

After you did this cut out the shape of the gun and place it on your wood (pic 1)  You have two options here. Either you trace out the complete gun on one piece of wood (pic 4) or you can divide it in two parts as shown on picture 5 . The first time I build this gun I made it into two parts. It worked well but I had some difficulties during construction that you won't encounter if you make it out of one solid piece (see on pic 6 for details). I advice making it out of one solid piece like I did for this ible. Note that you should draw the cirkel of the luger and the trigger hole out on your wood , it will be important later... also note that you don't need to trace the barrel ;) When you are done you should have something like picture 2.

Note: as you can see in picture 3 out of this one piece of wood the gun can be sawed out three times. So if you want to make multiple guns trace them out to and make sure you don't accidently saw into them while sawing out another...

Note 2: Check that in your wood shape there aren't any cracks or imperfections. I know I didn't do that myself as you can see on the pictures but a small one is manageable. Also I ended up screwing this one up during construction but more on that later.

Step 4: Cutting the Shape Out of the Wood

The simplest to explain but the second hardest part of this ible.

Okay so get your adjustable workbench out and make sure there is an open space where you can easily cut in. Then clamp your wood onto the table (pic 1 & 2).

I decided to cut out the tip of the gun and part of the trigger (pic 3) then I continued by cutting out part of the handle and the rest of the trigger (pic 4). Then I continued with the back of the handle and rest of the gun (pic 5)  and finish by cutting the top part of the gun.

As you can see in the pictures you'll want to clamp and reclamp your wood fairly often in order to easily cut out the shape of the gun. You can see in the pictures how I clamped the gun for each part and I advice you do it in the same way.

The bent shapes on the handle of the gun are by far the hardest part of the gun (pic 2). Get your jigsaw (powertool) and slowly start following the line. The problem with this shape is that the blade of your saw is to thick to follow it in one turn and not get stuck in other pieces of the wood. That's why you'll probably need to start cutting a new path once or twice so you can make bigger turns to match the line. Don't worry if you can't get the shape completely right. Just leave some of the wood you can't get to and saw or file it down later.

Always secure your wood while sawing otherwise there is a major safety risk!

A jigsaw (powertool) is very dangerous! If you don't know how to handle it do not use it and let someone who knows how to handle it help you!

Note: I advice you to put some time in this step. This is what makes the gun awesome or just a piece of junk with a clothespin attatched to it. I spent roughly 1-2 hours on this part I advice you to do the same.

Step 5: Making the Triggerhole

Okay this is where I screwed up my gun and had to start all over again. So learn from my mistakes.

What you do is take your drill and drill out small holes in the area you traced for your triggerhole (pic 1). However like I said in the last step take it slow. Because when I made it for this ible the first time I was to eager and drilled to fast. What happend was that my wood cracked on the other side and my trigger cracked as well. Drilling to fast was a big mistake because I ended up sawing it out again which ofcourse took some time...

So drill slowly and carefully and nothing should go wrong. Then after that use files and your jigsaw powertool to cut out the triggerhole using the holes you drilled as a start (pic 3)

Step 6: Making the Hole for the Clothespin

The hardest part of this 'ible.

What we will do is make a hole that goes through the top of the gun and comes out parralel to the back of the handle of the gun. This is because then the leg of the clothespin will be parallel to the stock and therefore easier to shoot. Also the top of the clothespin will be positioned just right for shooting  rubberbands.

So take your clothespin and put it on your wood. The clothespin should be parralel to the back of the handle of your gun and the top of the clothespin should just reach the top of your gunshape.

Then take your ruler and draw a line parralel to the back of the handle to the top (pic 1) You should also notice that the top of your clothespin is laying on the circle you have drawn on the wood earlier. This is perfect because this will help us hide the clothespin partially.

Now clamp it into a vise and take out your drill. You then position it on top of the gun and put the drill in the same angle as the line you have just drawn. Then drill through the wood until you come out on the other end. If you have done this well you'll come out just a little to the right of the back of the handle.

Now in this first hole the clothingpin probably won't fit. Therefore you must take out your file and make the hole larger (pic 4). Remember to file the opening larger to the back of the gun! Otherwise your clothingpin won't be parallel to your handle! I can't really tell you much about how large the hole should be as it differs from clothingpin to clothingpin. Just make sure the clothingpin fits inside the hole and that it can open. It doesn't need to be much just enough for you to reload easily and to have the rubberband shoot away. My hole was 3 cm long and 1 cm wide.

You'll probably notice when inserting your clothespin in to the gun that it doesn't reach the top if you want to have the legs of the clothespin sticking out. We will do something about that in the next step.

Step 7: Cutting Away Part of the Gun

So when I was making this gun I saw that although realistic the gun was a little to large at the top to shoot properly. I didn't tell you this in step 3 and 4 because you needed to see where your clothingpin ends up on top of the gun so you can see what you need to cut away.

So take your clothingpin and put it on your gun. Make sure the legs are sticking out and the metal ring of the spring is concealed by the gun. Then draw off where the highest point of your clothingpin gets to. Then draw a small hill in front of it. This hill will make your rubberband shoot up at first and make it shoot straighter.

Other then that I decided to make the gun a little nicer by cutting the back end hillshaped. You can see on the reference picture that the gun actually looks like that. What I cut away was part of the reload mechanism on the real gun. This also makes your clothingpin visible when you shoot, I think it's nicer that way. You can chose what do with it. In the end the gun looks nicer and is still immediatly recognised as a luger. It's only when you put it on top of the real deal that people will notice that your's is a little shorter on top and is missing a part at the back.

Look at picture 1 to see how I have drawn it.

All the wood from above those lines should be cut off. Use your jigsaw powertool for this. Be carefull while cutting out the circular part as it breaks off fast, again work slowly. If they do break off though don't worry in a few steps we'll fix that :)

Step 8: Sanding the Gun

A straightforward step. Take your gun and clamp it down using clamps and a vise and then use your electrical sander to sand it. Make sure that the top part of the gun is nice and smooth as the rubberband fires from there. Be carefull with the circles on top of your gun, they break easily when sanded to hard.

Tip on clamping wood into a vise: A vise can leave ugly clampmarks on your wood if you clamp it in. Therefore I would advice wrapping an old cloth around it for protection.

Step 9: Preparing and Attaching the Clothespin

Okay so now the hole is ready it's time to attach the clothespin.

But first you may want to get rid of one of the legs of the clothespin as you only need one for your gun.

So dismantle your clothespin as shown in picture one and then saw of one of the legs as shown in picture 2.

Then put your clothespin back together. Now put some superglue on the back of the sawed off leg of your clothespin and put it in the hole.

Make sure your clothespin comes t'ill the top of the gun and your clothespin leg sticks out far enough. A good indication of this is if the round part of the spring is concealed by the wood. (pic 3)

Step 10: Making the Barrel and Attaching It

Take your rod and saw a 10 cm / 3,9 inch piece off. Use a cloth to protect the wood if you are using a vise like me (pic 1). This piece of rod will be the barrel of your gun.

Then take a small nail and nail it in at the tip of the rod making sure you still have some nail left. Bend the rest of the nail forward. This will be the part of the barrel you attach your rubberband to. You can also file a part of the barrel in like traditional rubberband guns do but it just isn't as stylish I think.

Then take your gun and drill a hole in it. Make sure not to drill it to deep, just enough to make sure the barrel won't fall out. I chose to drill a hole of 0,5 cm deep. Then put some woodglue in the hole and put the barrel in.

Note on the barrel: The longer you make the barrel, the more force there will be on the rubberband and the further it will fly. My visible barrel is 9,5 cm long and easily clears a long distance of about 2-3 meters. If you want to have a stronger gun you should think of making the barrel length longer. however this will also increases the chance your rubberband will not stretch that far or break. And the last thing you need in a classroom-, office- , backyardwar is a gun that has limited ammo. You'll be better of with a gun that doesn't shoot as far but will accept all rubberbands.

Step 11: Adding Details and Painting (optional)

If you managed to accidently cut off part of the circles of the luger while sanding the gun don't worry. It happend to me to the first time and there is an easy solution. Take your second rod and saw of a piece with thickness 0.5 cm or less. Then glue it to the side of the gun. Even if you did not cut off part of the circles I would advice you to still do this. It adds a real nice detail to the gun and makes it look that more awesome!

Other then that you can add a brown handgrip by taking a thin piece of wood and putting it on each side. I didn't do this because I like the gun as it is. But it would make a nice detail.

You can also think of painting your gun. Again I didn't do this because I like the way my gun looks now. Perhaps when I get bored of it I'll paint it. However if you would like to paint it just look at the reference pictures. The top should be black/silver and the grip should be brown.

Step 12: Afterthoughts


I must say that I have had alot of fun with this gun and alot of people have already asked me to build them one. I figure it's mostly because they are tired of getting shot with no means of returning fire but alot of people also admire the beauty of the gun and the enormous amounts of fun you can have with it.

Well this certainly was an interesting build and I am very pleased with the result. The gun looks very stylish is instantly recognisable and is easy to use.

The total cost of this gun is exactly zero dollars for me as everything that was used in this 'ible  was laying around my house. I think this will be the same for many people but if you should buy everything new, including quality wood (unlike my pallet wood) I guess you would be around 10-15 dollars or so. Note however that you can get the price down to 2 dollars if you use some cheap wood like I did. I recommend pallet wood because it is usually made out of strong wood as it has to carry alot of weight.

I'll probably make some more of these guns and I have some ideas to increase the amount of rubberbands you can fire at once so click the "subscribe" button to get notification of my new ibles :)

But if you should have a question, comment, remark anything at all... Please leave a reply. I'm partly fuelled to make new great ibles by the response and views I get on already published ibles :)

Also note that English is not my first language, it's my fourth... So if you should come across any spellingmistakes or weird sentences leave a reply and I will correct it as soon as possible.

This is an entry for the "DadCanDo Family Fun"contest so if you think this ible is a winner please rate and vote for me :)

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