The Professional Spitwad Guide




About: I am a recent graduate of the Sustainable Manufacturing program at California State University Chico. I currently consult with local businesses and provide freelance design work. I've been making things for ...

(The following is not a terribly serious Instructable. It was born as a combination between an experiment in high-school level semi-comedic writing and realizing at the last minute that I didn't have an entry ready in time for the Launch It! Contest one year. There is actually some useful information and entertainment in this guide, therefore I have allowed it to remain published.)

Hello. Its Ilpug.
Let's get this straight.
Spitwads are an exact science. Sure, anybody can combine a tube, some saliva, and a piece of homework to create a projectile weapon, but it takes a Spitwad-marksman to do it well.

How much can you know about spit-wads? Apparently, you can know a bunch. From shooter sizes and calibers, to ammunition components, and even neat trick shots.

I am a slacker. It's what I do. A major part of slacking is finding something unproductive to do while you slack, so you wont get too bored. This is where spitwads come in.

What better way to diminish the establishment and show your disdain for your fellow man than by nailing their nose with a high-velocity ball of wood pulp and saliva?

I will now share with you all of the knowledge I can think of or fabricate related to this sacred art.

Step 1: Choose Your Weapon- Standard Issue

Spitwads are launched by the basic principle of compressed air in a sealed chamber. The spitwad launcher is one of the most simple projectile weapons imaginable: at its simplest form, it is just a small featureless straight tube. That is all you need. A tube. Of course, there are many different kinds of tube, so one must choose wisely. Here are the two most common types and their sub-types.

Straws- These are the original. Available for free at pretty much any fast food joint, they are flexible, smooth, and easy to obtain. They come in several different varieties. However, they are quite flexible, and can easily be bent, torn, or broken from the rigors of everyday use. These are so easy to get you should never have to have to pay to get them. Next time you are in a fast food restaurant, grab a handful of extra straws.

1. Standard: these are normally about 10-12 inches long, and about 1/8-1/4 inches in interior diameter. These make great weapons, because their interior is very smooth, allowing excellent projectile sealing. Their length also works in their favor, increasing the accuracy and velocity of the spitwad.

2. Smoothie (aka- Large Caliber)- these are a little more rare, but can still be easily obtained at fast food joints. These straws are made for slurping up more viscous things like smoothies, milkshakes, and ice cream treats. They are usually larger in diameter, with the largest one I have ever seen being the Oreo McFlurry straws at McDonalds, which is 1/2 inch in diameter. they can vary greatly in length, but generally stay about the same length as a standard straw. These straws are usually made of tougher materials, to withstand more extreme forces of food enjoyment. These are just as smooth as standard straws. Their larger diameter makes them capable of launching larger pieces of ammunition, but decreases their power by a bit, requiring more blowing to fire accurately.

3. Spoon straws- These are basically the same as the smoothie straws, except they have an end cut in the shape of a spoon to aide in scooping up stray goodies in the bottom of your cup. This spoon just gets in the way when shooting, and it is best to cut it cleanly off with some scissors or a knife to enable normal shooting.

4. Bendy straws: these are the same as standard straws, but they have a pleated section about 1/4 along their length that allows them to bend so you can drink more easily in tight situations. This bendy section makes them impossible to use for spitwads, unless you trim off the bendy end and use the smooth part. I usually avoid these.

Pen tubes- In the office or school environment, there is usually a large supply of pens. These range from the free cheap ones that were accidentally stolen, to expensive Mont Blancs that might have been purposefully stolen. In the spitwad business, we only really want the cheap ones. They can be found everywhere. Desks, supply cupboards, the floor, waste baskets, pockets, backpacks, briefcases, or next to the box of Hello My Name Is stickers.

1. Cheap ballpoints- you know the type. about six inches long, and never work. The most common type (in the US at least) is the Bic Round Stic. They come in other brands but all are essentially the same. You can get them at office stores in huge boxes, or just look around. I guarantee you can find some easily. These are shorter than drinking straws and harder to get, but are practically indestructible. They are about 1/4 inch in diameter, or about 6.5mm.

2. Other pens- This is basically a category including every other kind of pen. Just go and dig through your pens, and you might find a winner. Just keep in mind that all you are really looking for is a tube of acceptable length, with no holes, and a consistent diameter along its length.

Note- tTo use most pens as spitwad shooters, the pen usually has to be deconstructed. This can be accomplished with teeth, fingernails, brute force, or a handy multitool, like the one in the photo, which I carry everywhere. Just get creative and you can get a usable tube.

Step 2: Choose Your Weapon-special Issue

Okay, so straws and pen tubes are not the only shooter options available. however, those are the only ones you will really need.
there are however, more options.

Metal or plastic tubing or pipe- for the perfectionist. available in all sizes, lengths and thicknesses in home centers, hardware stores, or on the good'ol internet. There is no real reason for needing to use any of this, so i wont go into details becasue i assume if you are going to use specialty tubing, you know enough that i dont need to tell you.

Paper tubes- these are easy to make when you have no other materials except for paper and tape. basically all you need to do is wrap a peice of paper of your choice tightly around a pencil and then tape it so it does not unwrap. slide it off of the pencil and you are done. these are not very durable, as you would expect, but will last long enough for a good amount of shots, granted you do not slobber on it too much. knowing how to make these is a major asset, because it can give you a weapon when no one thinks you will have one, and will help you acheive MacGyver status amongst your peers.

Peashooters: okay, so these differ from the standard blow-gun type spitwad shooters, so i hesitate to mention them. however, if i didnt mention them, i would get a flood of comments reminding me to, so here we go. pea shooters are made from tape, a balloon, and a peice of pvc or something like it. they are capable of shooting anything that fits in them with deadly power, sometimes as strong as a BB gun. these can be used to shoot spitwads, but they lack the finnesse of the standard tube-style launchers. there are a bunch of instructables on how to make these, so here are some links :

Step 3: Preparing Your Weapons

depending on your choice of tubing, there may be some things to do before it is truly ready to fire. these are detailed here

Straws: basically all you need to do is unwrap it. that simple. However, if you are using a spoon or bendy straw, you need to cut off part of the straw. refer to the terribly edited photos for where to cut.

Pens: there are different types of pens, and i cant possible know how to prepare every different type. here i will show you how to take apart a Bic Round Stic. (i really dont need to show you how to do this, as it is extremely simple, but i will anyway, just to eliminate the need for stupid questions). refer to the images.

now, if you were able to follow my terribly complex instructions, move on to the next step.

Step 4: Commandments I-V

As i said, spitwads are an exact science, and heres where the details really count.
Follow these five commandments (the first of 10) and you will have better luck

Commandment 1-thou shalt use only paper and spit to craft thy wads.

Commandment 2- thou shalt make thy spitwad just a tiny bit smaller than the inside of thy spitwad shooters barrel to prevent it from getting stuck.

Commandment 3- thou shalt know the three main types of spitwads, and what situations each is good for.

Commandment 4- thou shalt not reuse spitwads, for they are nasty enough as it is.

Commandment 5-thou shalt make thy spitwad as shperical as possible, to increase the accuracy of thy attacks.

Step 5: Ammunition

Now, its time for ammo.

First, a note about nomenclature: some people call spitwads "spitballs." Technically this is incorrect. Most spitwads are not spherical, and most are not even ball-shaped (this is not to say that you should'nt try to make them as spherical as possible!). Most truly are what the name suggests: a wad of paper covered in spit. I use the word "spitwad" and you should too.

When making spitwads, the type of paper isnt really importants, as long as it can easily be torn and isnt covered in alot of dye or other things you dont want in your mouth. i prefer binder paper, but whatever you have will usually work.

The following directions are more like Guidlines. basically you have to try for yourself and practice to get the wads just right. It doesn't take too much practice.

there are three basic types of spitwads: the sticker, the normal, and the drywad. (i just made the names up off the top of my head becasue they are descriptive, call them whatever you want)

The Sticker: Stickers are spitwads that are so wet and chewed that they will stick to most surfaces if launched well.
to make a sticker: tear off a peice of paper and chew it up. keep chewing until you feel the paper beginning to fall apart. stop chewing, and mash the paper together using your tongue. then saturate the ball with spit. a perfect sticker spitwad will be able to fly through
the air with out breaking up in flight, and stick to a hard target without falling off. if not removed from the target, these will dry onto the surface like papier mache'.

The normal: these are pretty simple. basically all they are is a sticker with alot less spit in it, so it will not stick to something. all you need to do is to chew paper up into a wad without getting very much spit on it. that simple. these usually are slightly more accurate than stickers and can inflict a very minor degree of pain if they hit on bare skin with full force.

The drywad: The drywad is exactly what it sounds like: a spitwad with no, or almost no, spit. these are hard to master, but when you get them right, they are the most accurate and deliver the most pain. To make a drywad, tear off a bit of paper, and wad it up as small and tight as you can with just your fingers. then wet your fingers lightly and compress the drywad. the trick is to make it as compressed and dry as possible, only using a small amount of spit to make it hold together tightly.

If you follow these instructions just right, you will have amazing wads like the guy in the picture.

Step 6: Loading and Firing Techniques

Okay, now you have a weapon and some ammo.

Loading: to make the whole process smoother and cleaner, i prefer to load my spitwad shooter with my mouth rather than by hand, this keeps my most likely dirty hand out of my mouth and eliminates steps. You just bring the spitwad shooter up to your mouth, and push the ready-made spitwad into the back of the tube with the tip of your tongue. that simple. now, at this point, your spitwad shooter is in position and ready to fire.

Proper firing position: the proper firing position differs depending on your choice of shooter. with a straw, the back of the shooter should be held with your lips, to prevent you from involuntarily biting the shooter when you blow. if you have a pen tube, you can hold it with your teeth becasue it is tough enough that a little biting will not hurt it.

Firing: Heres another part where the little details really count. After some experimentation, i have discovered the optimum way of shooting. It seems complicated, but it is actually very simple and once you learn it you wont forget. Start out with a loaded launcher in firing position. push your tongue up against the back of the launcher, sealing it. make sure your mouth is sealed. blow air into your mouth, keeping your tongue over the back of the launcher. quickly pull the tip of your tongue off the back of the launcher, releasing the air. once the wad has fired, stop blowing or stop the flow of air again with your tongue, allow only enough air to come out to launch the wad, any more creates excess noise and affects accuracy. refer to the badly drawn pictures for clarity.

Step 7: Notes on Accuracy

Accurate spitwad fire is something that can only be achieved through practice.

These few tips will help you improve your accuracy

- using a long drinking straw with normal wads delivers the best accuracy

- almost every launcher is different, so practice a few shots with a new launcher before you use it in "combat"

-spitwads, especially drywads, have a greater range than you might think. tilting the barrel upwards a little bit will allow for longer range fire. this is known as "lobbing" in marksmaship terminology

-like any sniper should, account for differences in wind direction between you and your target. identify scources of air movement such as fains, the backs of computers, and open windows when you fire.

- try to make your spitwad as round and streamlined as possible, in accordance with the 5th Commandment

-if you want, you can be like this guy but thats kind of cheating if you ask me.

Step 8: Notes on Stealth

Apparently in some situations (i absolutely cant think of ANY) people dont like spitwads being fired at or around them. this nescessitates the use of stealth. here are some helpful tips on stealth.

-use the firing method i described earlier. this method limits the amount of excess air to a bare minimum, which reduces the chance of detection. as a general rule, the less air coming out of the tube, the more silent.

- pen tubes are less likely to be spotted in an office or school environment than straws, due to the profusion of pens in these areas. likewise straws are less suspicious in a restaraunt or cafeteria.

-store the shooter up your sleeve fully loaded while you wait for the opportune moment to strike


-long distance shots are harder to trace back to you

- try to make it look like someone else did it.

-the more random a target you choose, the less likely it will be that you are blamed. for example, shoot at the kid far away across the room you never have anything to do with, instead of the kid right near you who you always fight with.

-crowded spaces are your friend

Step 9: Trick Shots, and Further Inspiration

now that you are versed in the art of spitwads, what now? here are a few trick shots and ideas.

stick them to fan blades

stick them to the lenses of sunglasses-while they are being worn

put a popcorn kernel into a spitwad shooter and shoot it into someones food as they put it into the microwave. when they open the microwave there will be a popped popcorn kernel in their foo, leading to a "WTF?"

stick them right into the center of a clock

on computer screens

at your friends from a car window or bicycle.

over the top of a cubical wall at the person on the other side

into a camera lense as someone trys to take a picture

onto the lense of a telescope or binoculars while someone is looking

shoot bugs

make patterns on walls and ceilings

Step 10: The Ten Commandments of Spitwads

Complete collection of the commandments

Commandment 1-thou shalt use only paper and spit to craft thy wads.

Commandment 2- thou shalt make thy spitwad just a tiny bit smaller than the inside of thy spitwad shooters barrel to prevent it from getting stuck.

Commandment 3- thou shalt know the three main types of spitwads, and what situations each is good for.

Commandment 4- thou shalt not reuse spitwads, for they are nasty enough as it is.

Commandment 5-thou shalt make thy spitwad as shperical as possible, to increase the accuracy of thy attacks.

Commandment 6-thou shalt not get caught

Commandment 7-thou shalt hone your skill with dedication

Commandment 8- thou shalt not covet your neighbors spitwad shooter, for you can get germs

Commandment 9- thou shalt not shoot people in the eye

Commandment 10- timing is everything

Step 11:



    • Pocket Sized Contest

      Pocket Sized Contest
    • Tape Contest

      Tape Contest
    • Remix Contest

      Remix Contest

    8 Discussions


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Now that was entertaining, and a bit educational. I was LOL at the trick shots. Well done!

    First Knight

    7 years ago on Step 7

    That laser spitball shooter is crazy!If you spend that much time and money on shooting peas and spitwads, you are crazy in my opinion.

    1 reply
    ilpugFirst Knight

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah, that guy is a bit crazy, I would say. I prefer just a straw and some skill.