Slingshots are fun, versatile devices that can be used for a variety of purposes. If you’re like most people, when you think of a slingshot, you think of a young child or teenager with a slingshot hanging out of his/her back pocket.
Think of Bart Simpson or Dennis the Menace. Picturing that slingshot now?
Of course, you are! Slingshots are a prized possession of many children, girls, and boys alike, and the good news is that you can make your own!
Whether you want to use a slingshot for games or hunting, there are a range of dimensions to suit your needs. That being said, all quality slingshots have a few things in common.
These include its robust and iconic “Y” shaped construction, an elastic band to shoot, and a small-sized projectile that will shoot sharply once you pull back the elastic and aim.
Fashioning your very own slingshot can be done today and we are going to show you how! Keep reading to follow our step-by-step guide on creating a slingshot so you can get out there and use it before the day’s out.
Materials and tools required
Before you start constructing your slingshot, you will need various materials and equipment to get the job done.
The materials needed are:
- A sturdy “Y” shaped tree branch or piece of wood with at least a 30-degree fork
- Latex surgical tubing (available at stores such as Home Depot), elastic band, or strips of latex sheets
- Leather strips
- Dental floss
The tools needed are:
- A saw
- A knife
How to make a slingshot
Step 1 - Find the Right Wood
Firstly, you need to find a Y-shaped piece of wood that can be broken or whittled into the desired shape. Any type of wood should suffice, as long as it’s strong enough to support the slingshot as you pull back the sling.
We recommend you find a piece that is around 6 - 8-inches long and 1- 2-inches thick as this will be the easiest to use.
You can find wood such as this around wooded areas or by stripping back mossy bark from the outside of a piece of wood as this usually provides the best grip.
Step 2 - Dry Out the Wood
Now, you need to dry out the piece of wood.
Once you have the frame of your slingshot, place it over a heat source (a campfire or stove) and turn it now and again.
You will have to be patient here and it may need to dry for several hours. Moisture within the wood needs to be released through this heat to give the slingshot’s frame less give.
Always take precautions when dealing with open flames to not burn yourself. If you’re making this slingshot from your home, you can wrap the wood in a towel and microwave it for about 30 seconds or until the moisture has evaporated from within.
Step 3 - Carve out the Notches
Now the wood is dry, carve a notch at the top of both prongs (the tips of the Y-shaped piece of wood).
You can do this with a pocket knife or a sharp-edged rock. Cut shallow creases right around the arms of the Y-shaped wooden piece.
Each notch needs to be 1” from the top of the prongs as this is just enough to slot in the elastic bands used as the sling.
Step 4 - Find an Elastic Band
Here, you need to cut an elastic band to be used as the sling.
Materials such as heavy rubber bands, latex sheeting strips, or medical tubing can be used as these can generate a good amount of force.
Double over this material and cut two identical pieces to be about the same length as the slingshot frame. You can cut it shorter if you wish as this will generate more power but will be harder to pull back and release.
Longer slings will allow you to slacken it easier and start over again if you make a mistake.
Step 5 - Attach Band to Frame
Next up is attaching the sling to the frame.
Using one of the two cuts for your sling, wind it around one notch in the prongs which you have already carved.
Now, tie it down securely with dental floss or something similar. Repeat this with the second cut of the band and then cut off the shorter ends of the bands (sling) to reduce the excess length.
Step 6 - Attach a Pouch
You can attach a pouch to the bands by using a strip of leather.
Cut this into a rectangular shape that is about 4” wide and 2” high. Then, cut off the corner of the strip to make a long octagon shape.
Create holes at each end of the longer parts of leather with a knife or awl to thread the band through. Now, slide the bands through the holes and fold the band back into itself before tying off with a piece of dental floss.
Now, it’s time to test the slingshot!
You should ensure it fires accurately by making sure the loose ends are as similar in length as possible. If this is not the case, the slingshot could become uneven and shoot in a lopsided manner.
Also, it’s important you test the knots around the sling and notches to ensure they are secure. If one comes loose while firing your slingshot, you could injure yourself.
If you’re not happy with the amount of force from your slingshot, you can adjust the length of your bands. Whether you used rubber bands or latex bands, these can become worn and degrade over time with extended use.
This results in a higher risk of the bands snapping and smacking you in the eye and this is something no one wants! To prevent this, replace the bands as soon as you notice any wear and tear.
Congratulations! Now you have your very own handmade slingshot! Whatever you use your slingshot for, you should always use it with caution.
It’s crucial you are smart, responsible, and safe when using a slingshot, especially if your kid wants to have a go.
Don’t forget that a slingshot is a small weapon and fires various projectiles at very swift speeds. These can easily hurt you and others around you.