How to Make a Miniature Pencil Catapult

This is a step-by-step guide for making your own miniature pencil catapult. The project uses only household items and simple tools, so it’s easy to do with limited time or materials.

The “how to make a simple catapult that shoots far” is one of the few ways to defend yourself in case of an attack. The catapult is made from a piece of paper and a pencil.

We thought it would be fun to give a weekly craft/project idea you can work on together to help pass the time when most of the globe is under quarantine of some kind, and frequently isolated with children who are longing for something to do. If you create the project, please post it using the hashtag #aomkidcraft on social media. 

Catapults have been used for thousands of years. According to some sources, they initially appeared in China in the 3rd century BC. Others claim that the Greeks were the first to fire missiles into the atmosphere. The sheer range of catapult types, ranging from trebuchets to devices that looked more like huge crossbows than ordinary catapults, only adds to the confusion. 

The way they operate is something they all have in common. All catapults work by holding energy, generally in the form of tension, and then releasing it in such a manner that a projectile is launched across a long distance. The largest medieval catapults were capable of launching 300-pound stones more than 1,000 feet. 

Replicating a full-size medieval catapult is certainly out of the question for a kid’s craft project, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of options. You’ll be well on your way to making your own small version if you have a dozen pencils, some masking tape, and a few rubber bands. It’s simple to make one, and it’s a terrific way to educate youngsters about fundamental construction principles, such as how levers and springs function, as well as more sophisticated concepts like the form of a parabola and how potential energy works. But, apart from the educational value, they’re really simply a lot of fun to construct and play with!

Here’s how you can make your own. These instructions call for a particular set of supplies, but there are plenty of alternatives if you don’t have them on hand. For example, instead of using a cardboard box, you might use a spoon or measuring cup, thread instead of rubber bands, and any form of tape.

How to Make a Catapult with a Pencil

Accessories like pencils, Scissor, Tape, Rubber bands and card board displayed on the ground.

Supplies

  1. Scissors
  2. a little cardboard piece
  3. Rubber bands are a kind of elastic.
  4. 12 coloured pencils
  5. Tape for masking

Step 1: Draw a triangle using a pencil.

Pencils are kept on each other along with rubber bands.

Make an equilateral triangle using three pencils. Make sure at least one side of your triangle has two eraser ends facing down for added stability. Your catapult will have gripping feet thanks to the erasers.

Attaching pencils with the help of rubber bands to make them triangular shaped.

Two pencils attached with rubber band at one end.

Rubber bands may be used to connect them together at the corners.

Step 2: Re-establish the Triangle

Taping one side of pencils.

Pencils are attached with each other in a triangular shape with the help of tape.

Reinforce each junction with a small piece of masking tape to keep your triangle’s form and pencil position. 

Step 3: Create a new triangle.

Two triangular shaped attached pencils kept on the ground.

To construct another similar triangle, repeat steps 1 and 2. These will serve as the primary supports for your catapult. 

Connect the Supports in Step 4 (At the Top)

Connecting the two triangular shaped pencils with a single pencil from top.

Boat like structure of pencils along with scissor and other pencils displayed on ground.

Tape another pencil from peak to peak across the top of your catapult supports. There’s no need for a rubber band in this case. 

Connect the Supports in Step 5 (At the Bottom)

Connecting the Supports at the bottom with pencils.

Step 4 is repeated, but this time at the bottom of your catapult supports. Again, no rubber bands are required; just tape is required. 

 

Step 6: Put the Pivot in Place

Attaching a pencil halfway up one side of the supports using rubber bands.

Using rubber bands, secure a pencil halfway up one side of your supports.

Attaching a pencil halfway up on the other side of the supports by rubber bands.

Fixing pencils through Rubber Bands.

Rearranging Rubber bands with hand.

Start by wrapping one end of the rubber band around the end of one of the pencils, then wrapping it around both pencils until it’s tight and you can connect the other end.

Pyramid shape formed with the help of pencils.

This is the pivot point that will connect to the arm of your catapult. 

Step 7: Build a Catapult

Two pencils attached with each other with the help of tape.

Using masking tape, tape two pencils together. This will serve as the catapult’s arm. Binding it at many spots will strengthen it. 

Step 8: Connect the Catapult

Pencils are fixed by the help of tap and rubber bands.

Hut shape formed with the help of pencils, tape and rubber bands.

Using a rubber band, secure your catapult arm to the center of your pivot point. 

Step 9: Assemble the Rubber Bands

Rubber bands tied with each other.

Two rubber bands sharing a knot with each other.

Rubber bands sharing a tiet knot with the help of hands.

A basic hitch knot connects two rubber bands.

Rubber bands are stretched around the pencils.

Stretch them over the catapult’s supports on the other side of your pivot arm. Tie the ends of the rope together. To cover the distance, you may need to link three or more rubber bands, depending on the size of your rubber band. 

Make the Launcher (Step 10)

Cutting small slits into each side and folding up the middle of the card board.

Cut out a 3 by 3.5-inch square of cardboard. Each side should have a little slit cut into it, and the centre should be folded up.

Cut small slits into each side of card board and folded it up from the middle.

A match box shaped card board displayed.

Then, to make a little box for your projectile, fold the ends up and wrap the tabs over them, fastening them with tape. 

Step 11: Connect the Launcher to the Catapult.

Tape applied around the card board.

Pencils are attached at the back of card board by tape.

Attach the cardboard box to the end of your catapult’s arm using tape. 

Step 12: Go live! 

 

Roll up a piece of masking tape to make a missile. To launch, place the other end of your catapult arm on the opposing rubber band and place your tape ball in the cardboard box. Then, directly below the box, push down on the catapult arm to develop tension. Simply release the arm when you’re ready to shoot and watch the ball go! 

This project was inspired by The Double Dangerous Book for Boys.

Here are some more entertaining and kid-friendly tasks to keep your family occupied:

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  • Slime Making Instructions
  • PVC Blowgun Instructions
  • PVC Archery Bow Instructions

 

 

The “how to make a catapult with a spoon” is a fun and easy project that can be done by anyone. It takes less than ten minutes, and will provide hours of entertainment.

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