How to Build a Catapult That Shoots Far

Do you want to learn how to build a catapult that shoots objects over 20 feet away? We’ll show you how, using only two sets of wooden chopsticks, a rubber band, and duct tape. If you have wood glue or someone to help you with hot glue, you can use that instead of the tape.

Here are some instructions that show how to make a catapult, but there are many ways. See if you make your own design!

Step 1:  Using two chopsticks, make a rectangular base:

how to build a catapult

To join the corners, hold the two wooden pieces together and carefully wrap a strip of masking tape around the corner as shown in this picture:

How to build a catapult: taping the edges

Step 2: Break two short pieces (same length) and one longer piece of the second pair of chopsticks and tape them to the base as shown in the picture below. Make sure you tape them securely.

How to build a catapult: building your structure

Step 3: Join the other ends of the sticks you taped together to form a 3-dimensional triangle. This structure will provide the strength to hold the catapult arm in place.

How to build a catapult: building your structure

Step 4: Build your arm. Cut a longer stick to a suitable size (you can experiment with how long this should be) and make a cup out of tape on one end. I glued this cup to the stick, but you can also use the tape.

How to build a catapult: making the arm

Step 5: Attach the catapult arm to the frame and tie a rubber band around the catapult arm and the top of the triangle. Experiment with how tight you tie this rubber band to adjust how far the catapult launches.

How to build a catapult: finished product

Step 6: Storm the castle! Try shooting small objects (pebbles, pencil erasers). You can change the angle the catapult shoots from by sitting it on a notebook that you can tilt.

How to build a catapult: launching!

What other Catapult Designs Can You Make?

Here are the only rules:  Use 2 sets of wooden chopsticks (find them from a restaurant or cafe), masking take/glue, and 1 rubber band.

What can you change to get the catapult to shoot further?

Take a picture (create a youtube video) of your best design and share it in the comments. Share it with us and your friends!

How does it Work?

Check our our catapult science page!

If you like this activity, you might also like:

20 Responses to “How to Build a Catapult That Shoots Far”

  1. Ryan Baker 'blog December 24, 2012 at 7:02 am #

    I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it

    • Albert August 22, 2016 at 1:43 am #

      Sup bro Nice topic really helped me out.

    • Ella October 25, 2016 at 3:52 pm #

      i love this catupult it gave me a good idea

  2. annamarie April 7, 2013 at 8:41 pm #

    can a ping pong ball fit in there? or would u have to make the box thing bigger

    • spathak May 30, 2013 at 1:29 am #

      You will have to make it bigger but the ping pong ball with work.

    • Hugh Janus June 2, 2016 at 3:01 pm #


    • Jasmes September 25, 2016 at 8:49 pm #

      You will be able to make it bigger

  3. JANESSA May 27, 2013 at 3:10 am #

    It took me some time but I can launch light things……. I tried an eraser and it went bizzare far!!!!! I hope I can do more experiments like this on the site!! THANK YOU……..EXPLORERBOX.ORG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Mariana Jimenez November 9, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

    How far does this catapult launch?

    • Simmy March 9, 2014 at 1:28 am #

      It depends on the design you make

  5. Davyon December 11, 2013 at 6:40 pm #


  6. Jess December 11, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

    Does this work with pop sticks instead of chop sticks

    • explorabox December 12, 2013 at 1:25 am #

      It will work with both. Pop sticks are stronger when you bend from the narrow side (as compared to the flat side). See what works best!

      • Bob June 2, 2016 at 4:07 am #

        thank you so much I’m making this for something called marketplace where kids sell and buy stuff thank u explorerbox!!!!!

      • joe September 7, 2016 at 1:47 pm #

        i love you

  7. Hannah L March 22, 2016 at 12:34 am #

    Will this experiment work with a golf ball? ( a slightly heavier object)
    What is the optimal trajectory angle for this catapult to launch the object the farthest and highest and what is the physics behind this answer?

    Thank you so much…this is for a school experiment for quadratics…
    Thanks again 🙂

  8. JJessiBecK April 8, 2016 at 2:50 pm #

    Exactly how far does it shoot??

  9. Julio Rosrevierez June 3, 2016 at 3:01 pm #

    wow this really works

  10. Jack meoff June 6, 2016 at 2:52 pm #

    this is amazing I love this web site

  11. Isabelle Conklin October 25, 2016 at 3:53 pm #

    Explorabox has really helped me and my friends out with our science experiment I just want to thank you for helping us!

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