How to Build a Toothpick Catapult

By Kelly Sundstrom
Toothpick catapults can hurl small objects.

Catapults are typically used to hurl large objects far distances, like over castle walls or towers. However, you can scale down the size of a catapult and use it to hurl tiny objects as well. For example, you can construct a tiny working model of a catapult using everyday household materials, such as wooden toothpicks. This will enable you to successfully attack your family and friends with a barrage of small objects, like cotton balls.

Place three toothpicks into a triangle on a flat surface. Squeeze a small drop of tacky glue onto each corner of the triangle, then allow the glue to dry for 15 minutes to secure the triangle in place. Repeat this process again to create a second triangle.

Squeeze a line of tacky glue along one edge of one of the triangles, and then place one edge of the other triangle against the glued edge. Position the triangles so that they are angled out about 60 degrees. Hold the triangles in place for 15 minutes to secure the form into place.

Place the toothpick form upright on to a table top, positioning it like an opened book facing towards you. Squeeze a drop of tacky glue onto both ends of another toothpick, then slide the single toothpick against the bottom opening of the form, positioning it so that it is parallel to the ground. This will stabilize the catapult form. Hold the toothpick in place for 15 minutes to secure it in place.

Cut a small piece of duct tape to measure 1/4 inch wide, 1/2 inch long. Place another single toothpick into the corner of the triangular form where all of the toothpicks meet, and position the single toothpick so that it is at a 60 degree angle. Tape the corner in place with the piece of duct tape, which will allow it to stay in place while remaining flexible.

Cut a piece of cardboard into a 1-inch wide circle using scissors, then tape the circle on to the end of the angled toothpick. Wrap a small rubber band around the cardboard, then loop the same rubber band around the top of the triangular form. You can now place a cotton ball onto the cardboard circle, pull the cardboard back, then release the cardboard to hurl the cotton ball though the air.


Make a few toothpick catapults so that you and your friends can take part in a catapult competition to see how far each of you can hurl a cotton ball.