Christmas Cannon




About: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at You'll like it.

Decorating stuff for the holidays takes way too much time. You have to string stuff up and attach this shiny thing to that thing and it blows. That's why the best way to get into the Christmas spirit as fast as possible is with a Christmas Cannon.

The Christmas Cannon is a pneumatic cannon that is loaded with the spirit of Christmas. It is then aimed at something horribly devoid of Christmas-ness and then blasts it with goodness. If even just some of the Christmas-ness is imbued into the target it's a success.

Now, let's get Christmas-y!

Song: "Jingle Bells" by Gary Hoey.
WARNING: The people that are shot in the video were shot at very low pressures. Each of the projectiles shot were tested against other objects several times before these shots were done. In normal circumstances, do NOT shoot or aim at people or animals even if you are wearing safety glasses. Be safe.

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Step 1: Parts and Tools

WARNING: Be sure to do your research before building a pneumatic gun. This cannon is more of a prototype since it was never meant to go to high pressures. Be careful and be safe. Before starting such a project be sure you know exactly what you're going to be doing and not making it up as you go along.


  • 1" Modified sprinkler valve
  • Schrader valve - can get from dead bike tube
  • 2" PVC cap
  • 18" 2" PVC pipe
  • 2" coupling
  • 2" to 1" bushing
  • 2x 1" male threaded adapter
  • 2' 1" PVC

  • Drill (preferably a drill press)
  • PVC Primer & cement
  • saw
  • Teflon tape

Step 2: Chamber

Cut the 2" PVC to the size you want for your chamber. We cut ours to 18", but this has been more powerful than we needed. 12" would have been better.

Use the PVC primer and cement to weld together these pieces:
2" cap
2" PVC pipe
2" coupler
2" to 1" bushing

That is the main chamber. Then you will be adding these two pieces in order to be able to connect to the modified sprinkler valve:
4" piece of 1" PVC pipe
1" threaded male adapter

Step 3: Barrel

This part is simply a 1" threaded male adapter and a length of 1" PVC pipe. We cemented a 12" piece of 1" PVC pipe onto the adapter.

Step 4: Wait 24 Hours

To be sure that all of your pieces are secure and safe as can be, wait for 24 hours before moving on. You'll be impatient. You'll think that the 24 hours includes a huge safety margin.

Wait 24 hours anyway.

cc-licensed picture from Eva the Weaver

Step 5: Add the Schrader Valve

You'll need to get air into the chamber and we used a schrader valve so that we could pressurize it with a bike pump.

We did this by drilling a hole through the connection of the 2" cap and 2" PVC at the end of the chamber. We tapped the hole for the valve, wrapped some Teflon tape around the threads and screwed it in.

Step 6: Connect All the Pieces

More Teflon tape was wrapped around the threading on the 1" male adapter and it was then screwed into the modified sprinkler valve.

The barrel is then screwed in to the other end and you're ready to go.

Step 7: Load, Pressurize, and Shoot

We loaded all sorts of Christmas goodness into the cannon. This included:
  • red and green glitter
  • tinsel
  • red and green tissue paper
  • red and green ribbon
  • plastic snow

Everything fit in just fine and could be prodded in a little farther with the help of a stick.

We pumped up the chamber to 20 psi and started shooting. Thus, the spirit of Christmas was spread all around our office and we are so ready for the holidays it isn't funny.

Big thanks to Brian at for the excellent sprinkler valve and the quick shipping.

WARNING: The people that are shot in the video were shot at very low pressures. Each of the projectiles shot were tested against other objects several times before these shots were done. In normal circumstances, do NOT shoot or aim at people or animals even if you are wearing safety glasses. Be safe.

Once again, be extraordinarily careful if you decide to make one of these. I personally recommend that you don't. If you still want to try it, view this Instructable as a brief overview and do more research first.
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    151 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I saw the video and please don't shoot Jesus that offended me.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I saw this, and the first thing that came to mind was:

    Pinkie's Party Cannon.


    Haha reminds me of a snow cannon me and a friend built for a stage production, ours fired directly off of a 120 psi compressor! Maybe wise we didn't shoot each others faces!!


    7 years ago on Step 4

    I love the warning of the typical impatient rationale to rush out of waiting the full prescription.


    7 years ago on Step 6

    I agree, how is the valve modified? I have used ball check valves from the hardware store on similar projects. They are pricey but effective. I make a rocket launcher but this might be good to launch smaller rockets indoors.

    1 reply

    Like this

    Haven't looked at this in a while and the links to the store where I bought my supplies have gone dead. Now it's an even more DIY project.

    Alternatively, you can use a battery, wires, and a switch like this


    7 years ago on Introduction

    You are painfully negligent in telling us what the sprinkler valve is all about. I assume it is the trigger mechanism, but your details need some explanation.

    1 reply

    Ouch! Painfully negligent. That sounds bad!

    The link used to go to where you could buy one, but it looks like that store is now gone. Replaced with link to instructions.


    7 years ago on Step 4

    This is critical, if you over pressure this without letting it cure it can allow the glued joints to divide rapidly and forcefully. I have had it happen at a workshop where we were in a hurry.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    And did I see an air blow gun? Please explain! I need a confetti cannon!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I had to do a double-take while watching the video, to be sure that actually was a Katamari Damacy game case you were shooting (0:21 seconds in). I'm making this instructable a favorite just for that. I'm sure the King of All Cosmos would be highly pleased...


    9 years ago on Step 5

    Where did you get a schrader valve like that? I have only been able to salvage them from bikes, and epoxy them into the tank.

    4 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 5

    I didn't, I just salvaged one from an old inner tube. cut off all the exsess rubber from the tube, except for about a 1in diameter circle. then you put in the valve from the inside, with some superglue on the top part of the rubber, so it glues to the inside of the tank. I think I may have also used some epoxy putty on the outside to seal it a bit more. if you do it this way I would recomend you put it on the end of the cap, not the side of it....I hope that made sense.


    9 years ago on Step 1

    Weirdly broken page for the sprinkler valve/trigger - could we get more info here?

    1 reply