VirginiaLynne is a mother of five. She writes about parenting, crafts, games for children, family fun, and Christian ministry ideas.
Easy Homemade Toy Gun That Shoots
Nerf guns are expensive. Why not make your own?
Follow these easy instructions for a cheap toy blowgun that shoots Nerf darts. I've also included directions for making a gun stock and hopper, along with party games to play with friends.
- Schedule 40 PVC pipe (or electrical 1/2 inch) cut into 2 1/2 foot lengths (a 10-foot PVC pipe will make 4 guns).
- Measuring tape.
- Sharpie for marking the pipe.
- Saw or Pipe Cutter.
- Decorations: Electrical tape, Duct tape, or stickers (optional).
- Darts: any Nerf dart works in the gun but off-brand Buzz Bee darts have better suction and work best (plus, they are cheaper to buy for a large group).
Instructions for Easy Nerf Blowgun
- Measure the PVC pipe into 2 1/2 foot sections. Mark with a pen or pencil.
- Cut the PVC pipe with a saw or Pipe Cutters.
- Decorate the guns with electrical tape, Duct Tape (camo works great), or stickers
- Shoot your gun by putting in a dart and blowing. Practice seeing how far you can shoot. Try shooting at targets, or shooting as far as you can over a lawn.
How to Make a Stock
Make a basic version to start, then make it better by creating a stock to make it look like a gun and to make it easier to shoot.
- 1/2 inch PVC "T" joint
- 3/4 inch PVC elbow joint
- 7-8 inches of 3/4 inch PVC pipe
- 3/4 inch end cap
- hot glue or PVC piping glue
- Follow the video and the pictures to put the stock together. It is a good idea to fit the pieces together and attach them to the gun before you glue them.
- The top of the 1/2 inch "T" joint fits inside the 3/4 inch PVC elbow joint.
- Put the 7-8" piece of 3/4 inch PVC into the other side of the elbow joint and glue.
- Add the 3/4 inch end cap to the PVC pipe.
- Attach the final side of the "T" joint to the gun and adjust it so it fits comfortably on your shoulder.
- Use a rubber mallet to pound pieces together tightly, or else attach with hot glue or PVC piping glue.
How to Make a Hopper
A hopper will automatically release a new dart for you to shoot. The hopper requires a little more engineering skill. You will need to use a hacksaw or other tool to cut the "T" PVC connector and will need to be able to glue it back together at an angle.
Materials for Blowgun Hopper
- 1/2 inch "T"
- 6-12 inches of 1/2 inch PVC pipe (schedule 40).
- 1/2 inch end pipe
- hacksaw or another cutting tool
- Duct Tape and hot glue
- Mark a "V" shape around the "T" pipe to show where to cut (don't cut all the way through). use the picture above as an example.
- Cut the "V" out with the hacksaw.
- Move the cut-out part slightly to the right to get the angle shown above. Duct tape it in place while you adjust the angle and try it out.
- Attach the PVC pipe to the end of the piece you cut out. Attach the "T" portion to the blowgun.
- Cut some nerf darts to use in the hopper. Put them in and blow. See if the darts flow in smoothly. If not, adjust the angle until they work.
- You can leave your hopper duct taped or you can make it stronger by holding the pieces together with hot glue.
Party Games Involving Nerf Guns
How Far Can You Shoot? Line everyone up on the grass. Give everyone 5 darts (put names on darts with a sharpie if you want to tell them apart). Have everyone shoot their darts as far as they can. Whose went the farthest?
Target Shooting: Make a target (use a dry-erase marker on a glass window, or use a large piece of paper you've drawn a target on). Mark different points for each circle (10 for outside, 20, 40, then 100 for bulls-eye). Take turns shooting darts at the target using 3-5 darts for each player. The player with the most points wins.
Knock 'em Down! Put some empty aluminum drink cans or lightweight plastic figures on a board or table. Have players in two teams. Each team has a certain number of darts to use. All players on a team shoot at once to try to knock the figures down. Then put the figures back up and it is the other team's turn. The team that knocks the most down wins.
Nerf War: My kids play this game all the time. They do not actually play for a winner. Instead, the object is to try to hit the other team more than you get hit. It works on an honor system to say when you are hit. Since you are never "out" in this game, it helps to keep people honest. Divide into two teams. Give each player the same number of darts. The object is to try to get as many "hits" as possible on the other team. Play inside a large area or outside. It helps if there are objects to hide behind. After you have used up your darts, you may re-load by picking up any darts you find on the ground. End when everyone is exhausted, or at a designated time.
Kendall Downey on August 23, 2017:
My brother and I did this when we were little! It was so fun :) My mom took us to the hardware store to buy the PVC pipe! I love this idea.
Grant Schutte on August 22, 2017:
This is really cool! It adds a twist to the original nerf gun that makes it much more challenging. Might have to use this to get my roommates to do the dishes!
Sarah Trocolli on August 22, 2017:
I for sure want to do this with my little brother...or use it against him!
Garrett Rodrick on January 15, 2017:
I love the simplicity of a PVC pipe nerf gun! Nerf guns have gotten ridiculously overpriced in recent years consequently making it harder to give kids these toys. However with this guide a child can build their own nerf gun (with adult supervision of course) for under $9! An indirect benefit of having a child build their own nerf gun encourages them to develop their mechanical mind. So not only are they making a toy for themselves, they are enriching their lives as well!
Dianna Mendez on July 20, 2014:
My grandson has one of these homemade guns and they work well. Lots of fun! I'm sure people will be making this one for their kids and be thanking you for the savings in cost.
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on July 15, 2014:
That is terrific! Thanks so much for sharing aethelthryth! I'll tell my son. He is actually designing a bunch of other guns. He has made a terrific watergun from PVC too. We saw them when we were in China on a bamboo boat cruise. We had a huge waterfight with another boat with these homemade water guns and he's been trying to reproduce them ever since. I'll have to make a hub on those too.
aethelthryth from American Southwest on July 14, 2014:
I guess those are the dimensions my husband used, because they work. Now, a few hours later, every boy on our street either has one or desperately wants one.
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on July 14, 2014:
So glad you told me! I should say that my son in the video says the wrong dimensions for the pipe size. What I've written in the instructions is correct--we double checked.
aethelthryth from American Southwest on July 14, 2014:
Okay, my husband and son are on their way to the store to buy the materials! They are still discussing which configuration he wants, and whether he should have the only Nerf blowgun around or whether he should make one for all the local boys. We eagerly await marshmallow gun instructions!
Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 12, 2014:
How creative! Thanks for sharing.
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on July 12, 2014:
I'm so glad aethelthryth--my son has made lots of different versions of this gun and it is so inexpensive you can make them for party favors. I don't know one that is decorated because he has given those away but the duct tape or electrical tape works great. We've also made a marshmallow shooting gun that is fun. I'm writing a Hub on that soon.
aethelthryth from American Southwest on July 12, 2014:
Great timing - our son's birthday is coming up!