Most slingshots (like slings) are not merely toys, and must be treated with caution at all times. This article provides instructions for making a catapult-type slingshot, an old and remarkably simple design. It's fun to make and fun to shoot at targets, but it can be dangerous, so never shoot it in the direction of people or animals.
- Find a sturdy, y-shaped piece of wood. You can make slingshots with forked branch of just about any size, but piece about 6-9 inches long, with a fairly uniform thickness of 1-2 inches generally makes a strong, easy-to-use slingshot. Try to find a piece with as few imperfections as possible; even moderate cracks can render your slingshot dangerous or unusable. If there are knots or bumps you can cut or sand them off.
- Peel off the bark. With the bark gone the slingshot will be more comfortable to hold. You may need to let the branch dry a little before you can get the bark off.
- Let the wood dry. This step isn't necessary, but if the wood is still green, it's a good idea to let it slowly dry. This will give it more stability and strength.
- Get a long, thick rubber band to form the firing mechanism. You can make a stronger firing mechanism by using already made tapered bands. You can experiment with the length to find out what works best, but it is important that it be strong and thick.
- Cut the rubber band in half. You now have a band for each side of the slingshot. If you're using surgical tubing or multiple rubber bands, you can skip this step--just make sure that each band (each side of the firing mechanism) is of equal length.
- Get a rectangular piece of leather or strong cloth (several rectangles of duct tape stuck together work, too). This will be your holder or "pocket." It should be nearly square (each side should be about 2-4 inches), but a little longer one way than the other.
- Cut two slits into the pocket. Use a knife to make an incision about 1/4 to 1/2 inch in from each edge. The slits should run parallel to the shorter edges of the pocket. Try to get them both an equal distance from their respective edges. The slits should be just large enough for the rubber band to fit through without being wrinkled.
- Slip one end of one of your rubber bands through the slit and fold it back over itself so that it makes a little loop around the edge of the pocket. Secure the loop by putting a small, but sturdy rubber band around. The smaller rubber band will probably have to be doubled or tripled around itself to make it tight enough. Repeat this other rubber band on the other side of the pocket. Make sure the bands on both sides are still of equal length.
- Use rubber bands or electrical tape to secure the other ends of the long rubber bands to the slingshot body (the wood). You can also, if you wish, lash the rubber bands to the slingshot body Secure one of the long rubber bands to the back of one branch of the "Y" and secure the other long rubber band to the back of the other branch of the "Y". The rubber bands should be secured to the wood near the tips of the branches. Once again make sure the bands are of equal length.
- Shoot your slingshot. Use small rocks, rubber balls, and wadded-up pieces of paper--just about any small projectile--as ammunition. For optimum distance and precision ammuntition is also available to purchase. Exercise caution when firing your slingshot, and wear eye protection.
- Surgical tubing works better than rubber bands. It is much stronger due to its shape, and can be bought online or even at some hobby or hardware stores.
- Tightly wrap the handle with tape or twine to provide a surer, more comfortable grip.
- You can make slingshots of just about any size. Try varying sizes to find out which work best.
- Dried wood works better for slingshots. Make sure it's dried slowly or it may be prone to cracking.
- To protect your eyes, don't raise the slingshot to eye level. With practice you can be just as accurate (or more) by holding the loaded pocket in a fixed position close to your body (near the hip for example), and moving the body of the slingshot to aim.
- Head bands can be used in the place of rubber bands as they don't break as easily and they're longer.
- Use your slingshot responsibly. Treat it with the respect it deserves.
- Your rubber bands should be as strong as possible. Therefore, be sure that they aren't dried-out, nor have tears.
- Never fire your slingshot in the direction of people or animals. .
- Protect your eyes, and use your slingshot with care.
- Be sure that the branch has no sign of rot--a dead branch can result in serious injury.
Things You'll Need
- One or two long, thick rubber bands. Alternatively, you can purchase a band online.
- A small piece of leather
- A Y-shaped branch
- A knife
Sources and Citations
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