December 14, 2004

Simple Rubberband Gun

As kids, we used to make these as needed every summer, although occasionally someone would fashion a more elaborate one and keep it from year to year.

And no, none of us ever put an eye out with one of these. Then again, we were bright enough not to intentionally aim at the face. We also did a lot of target shooting with 'em. That's what I recommend: target shooting at cans or flies or plastic army men. Don't be dumb, and I'm not responsible if you are.

Wood - length of broomstick or dowel, or a 1"x2" or even a 2"x4". Whatever you use, you need a piece about 12" long (more for a 2"x4" rifle).

Clothespins - tradition says use the wooden spring type, but the plastic ones will work just fine. The simplest gun uses one, we usually used at least two. They come in bags of 100 or more, so borrow from a neighbor if you don't have your own. Or make lots of guns, you politically incorrect brute.

Rubberbands - in our house, we kept rubberbands around the doorknob on the furnace closet, and had plenty because you got one with every newspaper delivered. They're cheap, so don't go mugging the paperboy for his.

How To
Take sandpaper and round off any sharp edges to eliminate splinters.
Use a file to cut a shallow "V" notch in the end of the wood.
Use one rubber band to fasten a clothespin to the wood on the opposite end of the wood from the notch.
That's it!

Here's a picture of a fancy store-bought model that works exactly this way. It's a good view of the clothespin and notch setup.

To Use
Hook a rubber band around the end of the wood so it's in the notch.
Stretch it back with one hand, use the other to open the clothespin and catch the rubberband.
When ready to shoot, press on the clothespin and zing!

You can cut out pistol or rifle shapes from the wood, mount multiple clothespins (and make extra notches), and do all kinds of custom coolness with the basic design. Often we'd grab a piece of scrap wood, use a rock to gouge out the notch, grab a clothespin from the clothesline out back and a handfull of rubberbands from the doorknob. Within minutes you had something that worked, and sometimes the ugliest thing was the straightest shooter (my best was from an old yellow broomstick with two clothespins attached). Showing up with a store-bought rubberband gun was tolerated - barely - mainly because we'd closely examine it to see how they managed multiple shots if it worked that way.

Posted by Ted at December 14, 2004 05:49 AM
Category: Build It

I'd never heard of a store-bought rubberband gun until about two years ago when my nephew showed me his. (Yes, my little sister was a tomboy who followed me around...)

Did they really exist back then? Not 'round my parts they didn't! Where's the sport in buying a rubberband gun? Making it one was most of the fun!

Posted by: Tuning Spork at December 14, 2004 10:22 PM

im going to make one now! thanx for the info!


Posted by: ................ at May 1, 2005 03:59 AM

i like the article it explained the subject very well: i have been making these since about 2-3 summers ago,i pretty much found out how to make them myself(im i very inventive guy)i taught my brother how to make them to and we would always sneak up on my cousin and shoot him it the aiess.
i noticed that u used rubberbands to fasten the clothespins,ive always used a hot-glue gun(its very reliable the clothispins never come off.
ive also made up to a 3 shooter but it doesnt work that well i always think of new ideas so ill post another message when i think of somethin

Posted by: >>>> at June 6, 2005 12:13 PM

kool i made one the size of a rifle but instead of using a clothes pin i used a office clip thanks

Posted by: Tyler at August 2, 2005 05:04 AM

Thank You so much! I have been looking everywhere for a rubber-band gun. I refuse to order from the internet, and can't find a store in my area that has them. I desperately needed one for my girlfriend's birthday (her 34th!)I have just made one in 5 minutes-she will love it! Meg

Posted by: Meg at August 4, 2005 10:45 AM
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