How to build a catapult with popsicle sticks

Written by carole ellis
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How to build a catapult with popsicle sticks
Save up your Popsicle sticks and turn them into a toy catapult. (boy with smile holding Popsicle image by sonya etchison from

Real catapults were weapons used in medieval times. The mechanism for catapults evolved from crossbow weaponry. You can build a catapult out of Popsicle sticks, then use it as a toy or as a science experiment. This project will give you an opportunity to create something and get a better understanding of the engineering involved in catapults. You will also have fun thinking of various objects to use in your catapult.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 40 Popsicle sticks (you might not use them all)
  • Masking tape
  • Glue
  • Thick rubber band
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Styrofoam cup

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  1. 1

    Tape three Popsicle sticks together to make your support legs. Place two sticks end to end on a flat surface. Place a small piece of tape on these two sticks where they meet. Place the third stick on top of these two, centred on the joint. Pick up all three sticks and wrap tape around at least two times. Create six sets of these.

  2. 2

    Create a support base by taping together the sets of three legs that you just made. Place three legs together on a flat surface to form a triangle. Tape these three legs to each other by wrapping tape around the connection point at least two times.

  3. 3

    Tape one leg to each joint of the support base to create a support assembly for your catapult. . Bring the three legs together in the middle to form a pyramid shape, and tape the three legs together.

  4. 4

    Tape five Popsicle sticks together end to end to make the catapult arm. Place three sticks end to end on a flat surface. Place a small piece of tape on these three sticks where they meet. Place two more sticks on top of these, centring each one on a joint. Pick up all the sticks, and wrap tape around at least twice.

  5. 5

    Join the free end of the catapult arm to the triangular base at a joint on the base. This will require several pieces of tape. The tape will act as a hinge between the catapult arm and the triangles. Do not join too tightly, the catapult arm must be able to move.

  6. 6

    Cut the bottom 1 inch from the styrofoam cup using the scissors.

  7. 7

    Glue the cup to the free end of the catapult arm. It should be a 1/2 inch from the end.

  8. 8

    Wrap the rubber band around the catapult arm. Secure it with a knot.

  9. 9

    Wrap the other end of the rubber band to the top of the pyramid form where the three legs join. Fill your cup with projectiles and fire away.

Tips and warnings

  • Styrofoam peanuts are ideal for launching with this catapult.
  • Never place hard things in the catapult and launch them, or you risk serious injury and property damage.

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