Pencil Crossbow




This is my entry in the Instructables Launch It Contest.

It is a simple and powerful pencil shooter/crossbow

Step 1: Safety Gear

You WILL NEED safety equipment when building and using this device.

When building this device you WILL NEED safety goggles when using the saw and the Exacto knife

When firing this device you WILL NEED safety goggles.

Above all: use common sense.
Don't fire things at the cat.
Don't aim things at your self.
Don't give this to someone that you would not trust with a book of matches.

Step 2: Gather Materials


2 Pencils (1 sharpened, 1 unsharpened)
1 Rubber Band

Safety Gear
Exacto Knife
Small Saw

Step 3: Remove Erasers

Remove the erasers and the metal piece from the ends of both pencils using the pliers.
Just pry them off.

You can save them if you like but they are not needed in this project.

Step 4: Notch Ends of Pencils

Use the saw to cut a small notch in both ends of the unsharpened pencil and the unsharpened end of the sharpened pencil

Step 5: Carve the Arrow Rest

Use the Exacto knife to carve a dent/notch in the middle of the unsharpened pencil to act as the arrow rest.

Make sure that when carving the arrow rest the notched in the ends of the pencil are vertical so the elastic will fit properly.

Step 6: String the Bow

You can either String the rubber band once or twice around the unsharpened pencil.

String the rubber band through the notches in the pencil

Step 7: Firing!

To fire your crossbow pull back all of the elastics insert the sharpened pencil.
Make sure that the notch in the back of the pencil has the elastics in it

Pull back the pencil and release it.

The ealstic will not go back very far if it is doubled



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26 Discussions


8 years ago on Introduction

This is no crossbow but a catapult. The defenition of a (cross)bow is that the potential kenetic energy is stored in the elastic limbs of the bow, and not in the elastic string.

Secondly if it were a bow that stores elastic energy in it's limbs, this would be a bow and not a crossbow. Becouse the defenition of a crossbow is a bow mounted on a stave with a mechanical device to hold and release the string. while this device lacks such a stock and triggerdevice.

1 reply

Reply 1 year ago

why does some !d!ot have to be a smart@ss


9 years ago on Step 7

thats bull in your video you probably just had the pencil there cause there were no waves from the pencil in that pool

1 reply

Reply 9 years ago on Step 7

Actually, you are wrong. The pencil did fly over the building, and it did, in fact, land in the pool. You could not see any waves because (a) they were very small and dissipated before the camera got to the pool; and (b) the camera filmed in very poor quality. To give an idea of how much power this device had, the pencil with the elastic snapped because of the force applied by the elastics. Cheers!

Ignorance, ignorance, ignorance... This is not a crossbow at all. In fact, this is a shortbow on its side. On a full scale size, a bow of any kind can perform better at certain shots, possible aim, and trajectory for beginners I'm not sure exactly how you would make a real crossbow with pencils but you would need more than one pencil. In fact, I'm sure, for a simple crossbow, you would need at least five pencils. One for the stock, one, possibly two, for the lathe, something for a the catch, one for a trigger, and another for a bolt. and thats a simple one... a full one would include a crannequin and stirrup


10 years ago on Introduction

Yesterday I made a really good crossbow, it doesnt get very good distance, but thats just because i messed up the rubber band and it is kinda loose, but it has a trigger mechanism allowing for easy firing, and I put in a crosshair XD. Im going to post it on instructables soon, when i have the time. By the way, that little crossbow has some insane power for being so small.

Aburame Shino

11 years ago on Introduction

L0L. My friend and I would jack some pencils from around the school and pry off the metal and erasers. We had a whole army of erasers. =P It was fun, those days.


11 years ago on Introduction

tape a pencil on u dweebs if u want a cbow this is awesome speccialy since i have all of these pencils that got made into pencil topper darts...


11 years ago on Step 5

Your photos are horrid. Next time set to "Macro" mode on your camera.

1 reply

11 years ago on Introduction

omg this took you 2 hours this thing totally sucks. you are definetely going to win the instructables take flight contest go 25mm sniper rifle that thing is a beast and a made one