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.

© 2006 Jimmy the jock

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    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      14 months ago

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

    • profile image

      amy 

      7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Jose 

      7 years ago

      GOOd got a +A

    • profile image

      malia 

      7 years ago

      mines not accurate? how can i fix it?

    • profile image

      malia 

      7 years ago

      mines not accurate? how can i fix it?

    • profile image

      Shannon 

      7 years ago

      How far does this shoot ?

    • profile image

      smellmyfart101 

      7 years ago

      i got a A+ :)

    • profile image

      Man in the sky 

      7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      idk 

      7 years ago

      i love this desin

    • profile image

      I LOVE THISS!!! 

      7 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 

      7 years ago

      at cool hi

    • profile image

      7 years ago

      thx u realy helped for my last min project

    • profile image

      finlay parish 

      7 years ago

      thanks for that catapult design helped my bro out a lot

    • profile image

      shaymin 

      7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      lil girl 

      7 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 

      7 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 

      8 years ago

      how much does it weight

    • profile image

      Amy Carr 

      8 years ago

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

    • profile image

      jessica 

      8 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 

      8 years ago

      is this as easy as it looks

    • profile image

      Dobby 

      8 years ago

      snazy

    • profile image

      the guy next door 

      8 years ago

      i wounder if that thing really shoots far

    • profile image

      tryston dennar 

      8 years ago

      does it show kinetic energy potintial energy and energy tranfer

    • profile image

      Troop 31083 

      8 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 

      8 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Cookie Monster 

      8 years ago

      how long does it launch

    • profile image

      Alexis_angel177 

      8 years ago

      this awsome

    • profile image

      Death_Therapy 

      8 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Carriella 

      8 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 

      8 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 

      8 years ago

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

    • jimmythejock profile imageAUTHOR

      Jimmy the jock 

      8 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 

      8 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 

      8 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 

      8 years ago

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

    • profile image

      JellyBean 

      8 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 

      8 years ago

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

    • profile image

      kkawesome101 

      8 years ago

      this saves my science grade!

    • profile image

      lauren 

      8 years ago

      awesome design! keep up the good work!:)

    • profile image

      bill 

      8 years ago

      you are great this rocks

    • profile image

      JUST SOME LOSER  

      8 years ago

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

    • profile image

      some kid  

      9 years ago

      thanks you helped me with a extra credit asighnment

    • profile image

      Liberty 

      9 years ago

      before i make one how far does it shoot?

    • profile image

      hi 

      9 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 

      9 years ago

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

      eventully

    • profile image

      bashar.m 

      9 years ago

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

    • profile image

      dd 

      9 years ago

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

    • profile image

      daniel slonimsky 

      9 years ago

      can you make a catapult made of metal

    • profile image

      margeincharge 

      9 years ago

      How far can this launch a small bean-bag?

    • profile image

      wyatt (rad guy) 

      9 years ago

      it only goes high not long

    • profile image

      tasha 

      9 years ago

      omg ive never seen one of your things lol

    • profile image

      Asldjhcv 

      9 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 

      9 years ago

      does it work with eggs???

    • profile image

      AmyRose123 

      9 years ago

      its all right

    • profile image

      Bob 

      9 years ago

      What's up.thx 4 the Idea

    • profile image

      booby 

      9 years ago

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

    • profile image

      nr 

      9 years ago

      nice trap

    • profile image

      Sally Joe 

      9 years ago

      THis is rad!! :)

    • profile image

      help! 

      9 years ago

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

    • profile image

      urlbob 

      9 years ago

      thanx jimmy

    • profile image

      skyandbray 

      9 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 

      9 years ago

      how far will it launch a marble?

    • profile image

      paige 

      9 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 

      9 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 

      9 years ago

      AWESome

    • profile image

      Chr1stianMcquir3 

      9 years ago

      Awseome thanks for the idea

    • profile image

      purple 

      9 years ago

      will it lauch a big marshmellow?

    • profile image

      Dan 

      9 years ago

      how far can it launch a marble?

    • profile image

      Georgia Henry 

      9 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Alec 

      9 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 

      9 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Ray 

      9 years ago

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

    • profile image

      harry parra testies 

      9 years ago

      wow... soooo cool!!!!!

    • profile image

      tim harris 

      9 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 

      9 years ago

      I have to do this for tec

    • profile image

      dane 

      9 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 

      9 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 

      9 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 

      10 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 

      10 years ago

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

    • profile image

      tom 

      10 years ago

      sweet

    • profile image

      Andrewtheballer 

      10 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 

      10 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 

      10 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 

      10 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 

      10 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 

      10 years ago

      thank you so much

    • profile image

      Lori 

      10 years ago

      This was help. Thanks

    • profile image

      anon 

      10 years ago

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

    • profile image

      ????? 

      10 years ago

      i put 5 closepins and it works

      it went 80 meters

    • profile image

      Marty 

      10 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Ray Van Camp 

      10 years ago

      I think it would be perfect for food fights.

    • profile image

      koolmoon1 

      10 years ago

      got more

    • profile image

      Ulul 

      10 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 

      10 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 imageAUTHOR

      Jimmy the jock 

      10 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 

      10 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 

      10 years ago

      jimmy the jock is gay

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