Introduction: Miniature Toy Crossbow

When I was younger, I was always interested in toy weapons. I would find sticks that in my imagination looked like swords or guns. I had nerf guns and rubber band guns, and would sometimes try to fashion my own toy guns out of legos or loose crafts and supplies from the family home office.

On one such occasion I found rubber bands and craft sticks and decided to make a mini crossbow. I was awfully proud of my little crossbow. It looked cool and really wasn't that hard to make.This instructable will recreate that crossbow.

In the spirit of 12-year-old me, this instructable will require no power tools and only requires two materials: craft sticks and rubber bands.


  • Craft Sticks
  • Rubber bands
  • A tool that can cut craft sticks (wire cutters, a saw, or a knife)
  • Flathead screwdriver, or any thin prying tool (optional)

Step 1: The Body

For the body we are just going to bundle a bunch of craft sticks together.

Stack 5 sticks and sandwich them between two other sticks. Bind them tightly with a rubber band on each end (about an inch in from both sides).

Step 2: The Bow

For the bow part, you will need two sticks and 3 rubber bands. One rubber band needs to be a little smaller than the length of the stick so that there can be tension on it. This rubber band will act as the bow string. The other two can be any size.

Bind the two sticks together, about a half inch away from one end. After you bind the first side put an extra craft stick in between the two bow sticks and slide it as close to the rubber bands as you can. This will make a space between the ends of the bow sticks to get the "bow string" in between them.

Bind the other side.

If you don't leave the extra stick in between to use as a spacer, use the flat head screwdriver to get it back in.

Slide the extra stick to the other side to get the "bow string" in place and remove the extra stick.

Step 3: Putting Them Together

Now we are going to attach the bow to the body.

Slide the top stick of the body out about half an inch. Put the stick extending from the body between the two sticks that make up the bow. (You might need to use the screwdriver to help make space.)

Step 4: The Trigger

This step will add an extra stick along the top and a trigger.

  • Remove the rubber band from the back end of the body
  • Cut a trigger piece
  • Add a new stick to the top
  • Wrap the new stick to the body with the removed rubber band
  • Add the trigger after wrapping the rubber band a few times

The extra stick along the top is to try to make a smooth path for the bolts we will be firing. I did it this way to avoid unnecessary resistance from rubber bands.

For the trigger cut off a one-inch piece of craft stick.

If you only have a knife for cutting your craft sticks, carefully cut a groove where you want the cut to be and then break it on the cut. You may want to sand or file the end to avoid splinters.

Step 5: Shooting

Test the trigger out by pushing the back of the trigger down and pulling the "bow string" back so the trigger will pinch the string.

If the trigger does not successfully hold the string back, you can add another rubber band to the trigger to make it pinch harder. If the trigger does not open when you push on it, you need to undo it and wrap it less tightly.

One you know the trigger will hold the string back, put a spare craft stick along the body. Slide it to touch the trigger, and when you are ready to fire, push the trigger down.

Congratulations! You made a mini crossbow! Don't aim it at people or animals, and don't take it to school. Set some cans up in your backyard have some fun knocking them down.

Step 6: Optional: Hand Grip

My hands are a bit bigger than they were when I was 12, so I added a hand grip to make it feel a little more substantial.

Cut two sticks in half, and sandwich the four half-sticks between two full sticks. Bind with a rubber band.

Use the screwdriver to make space between the body's side sticks. Put craft sticks in as spacers.

Once both sides are held open, put the two full sticks in and remove the spacers.

Tilt the sticks back, make sure the ends aren't sticking out above the body, and wrap some extra rubber bands around it for a grip.

You're done!

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