How to Make a Miniature Crossbow From Popsicle Sticks

How to Make a Miniature Crossbow From Popsicle Sticks

How to Make a Miniature Crossbow From Popsicle Sticks


Making a miniature crossbow from popsicle sticks is a fun craft project that allows you to build a working mini crossbow using simple materials. With just popsicle sticks, rubber bands, hot glue, and a few other supplies, I can make a small crossbow that actually shoots projectiles. In this article, I will walk through the full process step-by-step. I will cover the supplies needed, how to construct the crossbow frame, how to make the bow part using popsicle sticks and rubber bands, how to make a trigger mechanism, and finally how to assemble it all together into a working miniature crossbow. Let’s get started!

Supplies Needed

To make the miniature popsicle stick crossbow, I will need to gather these supplies:

  • Popsicle sticks – The main building material. I will need around 30-40 sticks. Craft sticks or tongue depressors can also work.

  • Rubber bands – For making the bow part. The thicker the bands, the more power the bow will have.

  • Hot glue gun – To glue the popsicle sticks together into the frame and bow.

  • Super glue – For gluing small pieces and securing rubber bands.

  • Mini bolts – Projectiles to shoot from the crossbow. Can use pencils, popsicle sticks, or foam bolts.

  • Wooden dowel – For making the trigger mechanism. A chopstick or skewer can also work.

  • Nail – For the trigger dowel to pivot on.

Constructing the Frame

The first step is to construct the basic frame of the crossbow using the popsicle sticks.

Making the Base

  • Take 5 popsicle sticks and hot glue them side by side to form the base. Make sure the ends are aligned evenly.

  • Add another layer of 5 sticks on top aligned in the same direction. This double layer base provides strength.

  • Glue another stick across the back ends to connect the two layers together for added stability.

Building the Sides

  • Take 2 sticks and glue in a vertical line on each end of the base. These form the sides/rails of the crossbow frame.

  • I recommend putting a dab of glue on the joints halfway up the sides as reinforcement.

The basic frame should now be complete – a platform base with sides sticking up vertically at each end.

Adding the Bow Supports

  • Take 2 more sticks and glue horizontally near the tops of the sides to form supports for the bow attachment.

  • Don’t glue them all the way to the edges – leave a gap in the middle for the bow itself.

  • These supports will hold the bow at full draw when the crossbow is cocked.

Making the Bow

Now for the key step – making the bow part from popsicle sticks and rubber bands.

Stacking the Sticks

  • Take around 10-12 popsicle sticks and stack them together in a bundle.

  • Make sure the ends align evenly. More sticks will make a higher draw weight.

  • I recommend starting with 10 sticks then adjusting from there if needed. Too many can overwhelm the rubber bands.

Binding the Bundle

  • Take 2-3 thick rubber bands and wrap them tightly around each end of the stick bundle.

  • The rubber bands provide the power – the more you use, the stronger the draw.

  • Secure the ends of the rubber bands with super glue to prevent slippage.

The bundled sticks held tightly by rubber bands now form the bow!

Attachment to the Frame

  • Place the bow on the frame supports in the middle gap.

  • Position it so the bands are facing inward toward the shooter.

  • Use hot glue on the supports to firmly secure the bow in place.

Adding the Trigger Mechanism

To fire the crossbow, a trigger mechanism needs to be added that will hold and release the draw string.

Making the Trigger Dowel

  • Take the wooden dowel and cut or carve a notch in the middle.

  • This notch will hold the draw string.

  • Cut the dowel to an appropriate length so it fits just behind the bow on the base.

Installing the Dowel

  • At the point where the trigger dowel will go, drive the nail through the base vertically.

  • The nail acts as an axis the dowel can pivot on.

  • Drop the dowel in place over the nail – it should be able to pivot freely.

The basic trigger is now installed!

Adding the Retaining Clip

  • Glue a cut popsicle stick above the trigger dowel to hold it in the drawn position.

  • Cut a small nick in the stick for the draw string to fit in.

  • This clip will retain the trigger until it is released by the shooter.

Assembly and Firing

With the frame, bow, and trigger all complete – it’s time for final assembly!

Adding the Draw String

  • Take a length of string, thread one end through the bow, and tie it off.

  • Tie the other end to the notch in the trigger dowel.

  • The string length will determine the draw length and power stroke.

Cocking and Loading

  • To cock the crossbow, pull the string back and down into the trigger notch.

  • The retaining clip will hold it in the drawn position.

  • Place a projectile or bolt in the firing groove.

Shooting Safety

  • Always point in a safe direction when firing. Wear eye protection!

  • To fire, simply press the trigger dowel forward – the string will release and shoot the bolt.

  • Adjust the rubber bands and string length to achieve the desired power.

And there you have it – a miniature crossbow built from simple popsicle sticks and rubber bands! Easy to make, and fun to shoot. Enjoy your homemade mini crossbow!