How to Build a Simple Toy Catapult in Minutes

Updated on March 12, 2018
A Roman catapult was used to fire heavy objects at the enemy.
A Roman catapult was used to fire heavy objects at the enemy. | Source

What is a catapult, and what does it do?

A catapult is a tool used to throw large objects over a long distance. They were also used to throw large rocks covered in tar that were set on fire over a distance. In battle, the catapult was used mainly as a siege engine to smash castle walls and combined with fire to burn wooden structures. Sometimes a catapult bucket would be filled with metal shrapnel such as nails that were then fired over the top of castle walls with the intent to maim as many of the enemy as possible.

The catapult I show how to build only fires a table tennis ball, but it is a fun toy and can be used in a target game.

A simple toy catapult that you can use for target practice games
A simple toy catapult that you can use for target practice games | Source

Modern-Day Catapult

Clay pigeons used for shooting practice and sport are fired from a modern-day catapult. The trap machine uses a mechanical arm to fire the clay pigeon into the air.

How To Build A Toy Catapult

The catapult fires a ping pong ball for a distance of about 20-30 feet, and it can be used to play a fun target game with your friends.

What You'll Need

  • Wood Block: It needs to be approx 6"x2"x1".
  • Clothespin With a Spring
  • 1" Wood Cube
  • Popsicle Stick: You can double up and stick 2 sticks together for extra strength.
  • Plastic Bottle Cap
  • Wood Glue

Instructions

  1. Take the 6" block and lay it on a flat surface.
  2. Glue the clothespin to it, centered lengthwise.
  3. When the glue has set, glue the 1" cube to the open end of the clothespin.
  4. Glue the Popsicle stick to the cube.
  5. Glue the bottle lid to the Popsicle stick, leaving enough space at the tip of the Popsicle stick to push it down with the tip of your finger to fire your catapult.

How to Use Your Catapult

  1. Load your catapult by placing a ping pong ball into the bottle lid.
  2. Move your catapult around to aim at your target.
  3. When ready to fire, hold down the front end of your catapult, pull down the Popsicle stick with the tip of your finger, and release.

Modern Day Catapult

The Human slingshot is also a modern day catapult, seen at fairgrounds around the world, people are securely strapped in and catapulted 100-150 feet up in the air.

Catapult Target Game

When you have finished building your catapult there is a fun target game that you can easily set up and play.

Line up 5 paper cups and write scores on them 10 points on the cups on the outside 20 points for the next 2 cups and 50 for the center cup.

----------50---------

------20-------20---

10-----------------10

Target Game Rules

  1. Take turns to aim and fire the catapult at the cups. The first person to score 100 points wins.
  2. If the ball goes into the cup, you score the points on that cup.
  3. If the ball bounces before it goes into a cup, you score half of the points marked on the cup.
  4. If the ball goes into the cup and bounces back out you again, score half of the points marked on the cup.
  5. If by some miracle the ball goes into one cup and bounces out and into another cup, you score the points marked on both cups.

Making a Simple Catapult

When I was young, a very long time ago, toys bought from a store were a luxury that was saved for birthdays and Christmas and when we were bought new toys we treasured them and played with them as little as possible.

That does not mean that we did not have any fun when we went out to play with our friends, most of the time when out playing, a soccer ball was all we needed and using our jumpers for goalposts we would play soccer until the sun dissipated from the sky and the moon smiled down on us usually with a score of 146 to 145 or some other outlandish numbers.

When we were not playing soccer we would make our own toys such as a catapult, a crossbow and bolts, bows and arrows, and swords. and chase each other around with them.

Considering our age group was between nine and twelve years old at that time you will understand that our weapons were crude but they worked really well and provided hours of fun. A few months ago, I made the same toys for my sons and they are now getting adept at making them for themselves and their friends.

Questions & Answers

    © 2006 James Paterson

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • teaches12345 profile image

        Dianna Mendez 2 months ago

        I would give one of these as gifts to business people. Great stress reliever!

      • profile image

        amy 6 years ago

        hi, does anybody have a video of them using this catapult?

      • profile image

        Jose 6 years ago

        GOOd got a +A

      • profile image

        malia 6 years ago

        mines not accurate? how can i fix it?

      • profile image

        malia 6 years ago

        mines not accurate? how can i fix it?

      • profile image

        Shannon 6 years ago

        How far does this shoot ?

      • profile image

        smellmyfart101 6 years ago

        i got a A+ :)

      • profile image

        Man in the sky 6 years ago

        it was awesome thanks it made a really awesome science fair project

      • profile image

        idk 6 years ago

        i love this desin

      • profile image

        I LOVE THISS!!! 6 years ago

        hey jimmy. you just saved my gade 7 progect on romans. ill get back to you in 4 weeks and tell you how it went :)

      • profile image

        rhannon killsplenty 6 years ago

        at cool hi

      • profile image

        6 years ago

        thx u realy helped for my last min project

      • profile image

        finlay parish 6 years ago

        thanks for that catapult design helped my bro out a lot

      • profile image

        shaymin 6 years ago

        I got an A++++++++ for my report

      • profile image

        lil girl 6 years ago

        can you show me how to make a catapult make a 200g bag of rice go 40cm high and 4m long

      • profile image

        tessa 6 years ago

        i will make this

      • profile image

        7 years ago

        rock on! i love this site! you guys rock! i am soo excited... From Africa

      • profile image

        777 7 years ago

        how much does it weight

      • profile image

        Amy Carr 7 years ago

        Thank you, Jimmy! You are a lifesaver! :)

      • profile image

        jessica 7 years ago

        Hi jimmy(: how can you automaticly get the ping pong ball to leave the catapult by just simply pushing a button or pulling a pin for example?

      • profile image

        charlotte 7 years ago

        is this as easy as it looks

      • profile image

        Dobby 7 years ago

        snazy

      • profile image

        the guy next door 7 years ago

        i wounder if that thing really shoots far

      • profile image

        tryston dennar 7 years ago

        does it show kinetic energy potintial energy and energy tranfer

      • profile image

        Troop 31083 7 years ago

        Will be using your design for a Girl Scout Camporee Station. Thanks for including the dimensions of the wood pieces! Now I know why I've been saving popsicle sticks and clothespins!

      • profile image

        Marty 7 years ago

        Yayyyyyyy We r making this for math carnival thank you for putting it on her- booger

      • profile image

        Cookie Monster 7 years ago

        how long does it launch

      • profile image

        Alexis_angel177 7 years ago

        this awsome

      • profile image

        Death_Therapy 7 years ago

        That catapult looks pretty cool im going to do it on a school project

      • profile image

        Carriella 7 years ago

        Hey! I need some help... I have to ulid a catapult that can shoot a beanie baby (about the weight of a lemon) 33 feet. In great need!!! So you think this could shoot it that far?? What if i double the measurements and all?

      • profile image

        needs help 7 years ago

        can it shoot an egg over a short wall??? and how far???

        its for my physics project and its already late...

      • profile image

        kiwi8993 7 years ago

        can this catapult make a shot of 10meters distance??

      • jimmythejock profile image
        Author

        James Paterson 7 years ago from Scotland

        Hi Drake it is a ping pong ball in the picture, thanks for your comment, take care and have fun.....jimmy

      • profile image

        ey yo name is drake 7 years ago

        @jimmythejock -thanks for the info, your a lifesaver ;0 .!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        ps my grandson wants to know if that is an egg in the picture?

      • profile image

        Quinn 7 years ago

        Jimmy you are the man!!!!! it took me 5min to make i used it for my science project. i think that you made a typo though. mine went a yard at the most. anyways thanks jimmy

      • profile image

        Angel93134 7 years ago

        Dude u rock! this is helpn loads! WOOT WOOT :D

      • profile image

        JellyBean 7 years ago

        thx jimmy! I hav seriously 7 days to mak dis and will b headn down to my local bunnings soon..... dude u rock..... PS b4 i make it how far dose it go at its max?? we r ment to make it the best we possible can..... screw u who were insulting Jimmy... some ppl need his help :P also thx ????? for the Idea... will try it...... OMG thx guyz......Im usn this for my science project... it worth 75% OF MY GRADE! hope dis worx :)

      • profile image

        Darren Lockyer 7 years ago

        Looking at building it..... is it good?. Sorry about loosing the game...

      • profile image

        kkawesome101 7 years ago

        this saves my science grade!

      • profile image

        lauren 7 years ago

        awesome design! keep up the good work!:)

      • profile image

        bill 7 years ago

        you are great this rocks

      • profile image

        JUST SOME LOSER  7 years ago

        This thing really helped me a lot thanks for this site!

      • profile image

        some kid  8 years ago

        thanks you helped me with a extra credit asighnment

      • profile image

        Liberty 8 years ago

        before i make one how far does it shoot?

      • profile image

        hi 8 years ago

        I'm making this for my science project! My uncle is cutting wood up for me right now! Hope it goes far so I can win! Thanks Jimmy

      • profile image

        Tayla 8 years ago

        my dad won't let me make on right now but ill convinse him

        eventully

      • profile image

        bashar.m 8 years ago

        man thanks a lot man u helped me so much with my physics project thanks a lot man

      • profile image

        dd 8 years ago

        thamks a lot for the information it really helped me a lot.

      • profile image

        daniel slonimsky 8 years ago

        can you make a catapult made of metal

      • profile image

        margeincharge 8 years ago

        How far can this launch a small bean-bag?

      • profile image

        wyatt (rad guy) 8 years ago

        it only goes high not long

      • profile image

        tasha 8 years ago

        omg ive never seen one of your things lol

      • profile image

        Asldjhcv 8 years ago

        Awesome idea i have to make a project for school today and i forgot about it until now and its due today!!!!! But i made this and now its all goood!!

      • profile image

        njblb 8 years ago

        does it work with eggs???

      • profile image

        AmyRose123 8 years ago

        its all right

      • profile image

        Bob 8 years ago

        What's up.thx 4 the Idea

      • profile image

        booby 8 years ago

        omg this is so kool how long u been doing this i doing sciece prodject on catupults

      • profile image

        nr 8 years ago

        nice trap

      • profile image

        Sally Joe 8 years ago

        THis is rad!! :)

      • profile image

        help! 8 years ago

        i need to build a catapult for pingpong balls. any help??

      • profile image

        urlbob 8 years ago

        thanx jimmy

      • profile image

        skyandbray 8 years ago

        awesome i used a large lego for the big block and a broken stamp for the 1 inch and elmers glue

      • profile image

        kisgen 8 years ago

        how far will it launch a marble?

      • profile image

        paige 8 years ago

        will this work with a golf ball? do you think it could go about 10 meters with a golf ball?

      • profile image

        Nick 8 years ago

        I honestly think I might try this for my physics assignment, it seems like a simple, yet effective and clever simple machine, thank you.

      • profile image

        Chr1stianMcquir3 8 years ago

        AWESome

      • profile image

        Chr1stianMcquir3 8 years ago

        Awseome thanks for the idea

      • profile image

        purple 8 years ago

        will it lauch a big marshmellow?

      • profile image

        Dan 8 years ago

        how far can it launch a marble?

      • profile image

        Georgia Henry 8 years ago

        That desine is fantastic for projects and it,s not hard and im 10!

      • profile image

        Alec 8 years ago

        Thanks so much i was biting my fingernails to find a catapult i just think it could go abit further

      • profile image

        rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrsssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssffffffffffffffffffffffffffff 8 years ago

        thanks you helped me with my project!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • profile image

        Ray 8 years ago

        thanks for your help dude!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • profile image

        harry parra testies 8 years ago

        wow... soooo cool!!!!!

      • profile image

        tim harris 8 years ago

        Hmmmmmmm, Interesting! D&T at a Hampshire school have built a spring loaded catapult just 1.5 mtrs tall. It fires a cricket ball 215mtrs. Donating it to the sports dept for catching practice. Year 7 will naever be the same.

      • profile image

        Blake 8 years ago

        I have to do this for tec

      • profile image

        dane 8 years ago

        thanks its really cool i used it for a project for highschool and its easy to make. i hope i get a good mark.

        dane

      • profile image

        dane 8 years ago

        thanks its really cool i used it for a project for highschool and its easy to make. i hope i get a good mark.

        dane

      • profile image

        Kristal Mccloud 8 years ago

        This didn't help at all I need a catapult that launches like 30ft So other than my D- it got me it was neat but really it needs t launch farther

      • profile image

        Coast Mastah 9 years ago

        HEY THANX A lot JIMMY, I GOT 7 XTRA CRED. POINTS 4 THIS PROJECT, THANX SOOOOO MUCH

      • profile image

        Rachel and Samantha 9 years ago

        Hey Jimmy

        Thanx so much for the catapult plan, you helped us make a great catapult for our D.T project although i must admit ours looks a lot better than urs!!! haha xx

      • profile image

        freddle 9 years ago

        thanks i got an a+on my project tht is sweet

      • profile image

        tom 9 years ago

        sweet

      • profile image

        Andrewtheballer 9 years ago

        It Works!!! thank you for the idea all though I changed the catapult. I realized that the clothes pin doesn't have very much force to it, so i replaced it with a "Chip Clip." It launched a marshmellow almost 9 feet and is really fun to bug my dogs with!

      • profile image

        Andrewtheballer 9 years ago

        I need to make a medieval catapult for social studies, can this launch a big marshmellow at least 7 feet.

      • profile image

        Carmen 9 years ago

        hey im doing a physics project and this is like the most simple design i have seen yet..but will it be able to launch a hackey sack 15 feet?

      • profile image

        Madeline, Lisa, and Wendy 9 years ago

        Thank you very much for this design! My friends and I needed a simple design for a class project. This makes it so much easier. I will let you know if we win :D

      • profile image

        terifo 9 years ago

        Thanks for such an easy plan for a catapult!! Someone posted using 5 clothespins to make it go further, but where would you put them?? My son's teacher is having them launch golf balls. Would extending the launch arm make it go further?? (longer lever?)

        Thanks again!! We just finished making balloon powered trash cars and it was frustrating for my son with Aspergers. Hopefully this will be easier!!!

      • profile image

        mk 9 years ago

        thank you so much

      • profile image

        Lori 9 years ago

        This was help. Thanks

      • profile image

        anon 9 years ago

        Thanks so much for the tutorial. My nephew will love to have these at his knights themed birthday.

      • profile image

        ????? 9 years ago

        i put 5 closepins and it works

        it went 80 meters

      • profile image

        Marty 9 years ago

        Nice simple catapult. Didn't make 30 meters, but sprung some ideas.

      • profile image

        Ray Van Camp 9 years ago

        I think it would be perfect for food fights.

      • profile image

        koolmoon1 9 years ago

        got more

      • profile image

        Ulul 9 years ago

        Hi there jimmy,

        thanks a lot for the design. I really appreciate it and it helped me a lot for my science project. If u have more designs just post the link to the website here thanks men.

      • profile image

        me 9 years ago

        hey do you how to make a trebuche some kids in my class made a this same catapault but i want to know how to make a trebuche

      • jimmythejock profile image
        Author

        James Paterson 9 years ago from Scotland

        poop, Ur Face, ptrpogjfe and funnybob181 thankyou for your wonderful contributions to this page, I have your IP Logged and I know that these are all from the same person, i love you too glad you love my "crapy "catapult".....jimmy

      • profile image

        funnybob181 9 years ago

        Guess what jimmythefreak. Your face remind's me of your mom's butt engraved on my grandma's meatloaf. Go spend your time somewhere else and do something else than make crapy "catapults".

      • profile image

        ptrpogjfe 9 years ago

        jimmy the jock is gay

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, feltmagnet.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://feltmagnet.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)