Slingshots have been a common tool, toy, and weapon for countless years. While the slingshot has seen many different variations and designs over time, the same basic principles have remained consistent.
A slingshot consists of elasticated bands stretched over a Y-shaped frame, with a pouch in the middle for holding projectiles.
The pouch is pulled back, and when it is released the elastic launches the projectile through the air.
Slingshots are incredibly simple, and plenty of fun to use. One of the great things about slingshots is their simplicity, and making your own slingshot is easy!
Follow the steps inside this handy guide, and you’ll be able to craft your own homemade slingshot in no time!
How To Make A Slingshot
Making A Wooden Slingshot
A wooden slingshot is a simple but versatile tool. They are great for target practice, and strong, well-made slingshots can even be used to hunt small game.
Wooden slingshots are fairly simple and rudimentary, but they are still dangerous if misused.
To make a wooden slingshot, you’ll need a Y-shaped branch, some pieces of strong elastic, a piece of stiff fabric or a similar material, and a pocket knife or other whittling tool.
Prepare The Wood
Before you can start making your slingshot, you first need to prepare the wood. Making sure the frame is completely dry will make the wood easier to carve, as well as making it more durable.
Damp wood is at risk of breaking or giving under pressure, which is the last thing you want for your slingshot.
You can dry your piece of wood out by hanging it over a heat source like a campfire, barbecue, or portable stove.
Make sure to be careful if working with open flames, and make sure you turn the piece of wood over occasionally to prevent it from cracks and burns.
Alternatively, you can wrap up the damp branch in a towel or dishcloth, then put it in the microwave. Heat it for 30 seconds at a time until all of the moisture has evaporated from the branch and absorbed by the towel.
Shaping Your Slingshot
Once your branch has dried out, it’s time to shape it into the slingshot’s frame.
Start off by removing any loose bark, moss, or other materials from the wood. If your branch has any bumps or excess wood on it, you should whittle and sand these down.
A comfortable handle will reduce the stress the slingshot puts on your wrist, and makes the slingshot easier to hold and use.
If the prongs of the slingshot are too thick or have bumps sticking out, it can get in the way of the projectile.
For a basic slingshot, the best branch will be around 5-6 inches long on each prong, and a minimum of 1-2 inches thick.
This will be comfortable to hold and large enough to be functional. Additionally, a decently thick branch will be more durable and less likely to break during use.
If you have a larger branch and the tools to carve it properly, you can sculpt yourself a sturdier and more powerful slingshot that is bespoke to you. However, this takes some more advanced skills and tools to do.
With your frame shaped properly, you can finish off making the body of the slingshot. Carve a notch on each prong, around 1.5 inches from the top.
Depending on the length of the prongs, you might need to adjust how far down these notches are. Longer prongs should have the notches slightly further down to prevent the arms from snapping.
Meanwhile, shorter prongs need the notch closer to the top to give your projectile enough room to clear the handle.
Carve the notch all the way around each prong, forming a band around the ends of the prongs. This will help keep your bands securely in place and reduce the risk of them slipping off.
Try not to carve the notches too deep, as the band can snap them off back in your direction.
Attaching The Bands
You can use almost any elasticated material for the bands on your slingshot, although tougher and stronger bands work best.
Heavy-duty rubber bands, elastic tubing, and latex strips are all great choices. The best material will be strong enough to put some force behind your projectile, while being stretchy enough that pulling the band back doesn’t require too much effort.
Take two pieces of elastic of equal length, which each band being around the same length as the slingshot’s frame. Loop one end of a band around the notch you carved in the prongs, and tie it securely.
Repeat this with the other prong and piece of elastic. Using wire or floss to tie off the ends will make the knot more secure, and trimming off the stub leftover will get rid of any excess material.
Once you’ve attached both bands to the frame, give them a few firm tugs to make sure they’re secure. If the band is loose, it can slip and fly back towards you when you’re firing.
Adding The Pouch
Now that your elastic is securely attached to the slingshot’s frame, you need to prepare a pouch. The pouch is where your projectile goes when firing your slingshot, making it easier to hold and helping your accuracy.
Ideally, your slingshot’s pouch should be made of a stiff and durable material. Leather, strong fabrics, and even denim are all great materials for a slingshot pouch – they are flexible enough to hold your projectile,
while being tough enough to withstand the wear and tear caused by firing the slingshot.
First, cut a piece of your material into a rectangle, measuring around 4 inches by 2 inches.
Fold over around half an inch from each of the shorter sides, and cut a small hold in the middle just large enough to thread your elastic through.
Depending on the thickness of your elastic, you can use a hole punch to make creating the hole easier.
From here, thread your bands through the holes in the pouch and tie them off. Start off on the outside of the pouch, pushing the elastic through to the inside.
This will leave the majority of the elastic on the outside of the pouch, giving your projectile more room.
Like with the elastic on the frame, tying wire or floss around the knot in the elastic and cutting off the excess material will leave you with the best possible bands.
And that’s it! Your slingshot is ready to go.
So now you know how to turn a few simple items into a strong and sturdy makeshift slingshot!
You can use your slingshot to fire small stones, marbles, and even BB pellets – your homemade slingshot is perfect for target practice in the garden or the woods.
Just remember: a slingshot is dangerous if misused, and even a homemade slingshot can cause serious injury if you aren’t careful and sensible.
But as long as you use your slingshot safely and properly, you’ll be sure to get plenty of fun and use out of it.