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The Popsicle Stick Ballista

This is a great little ballista project that was submitted by a web visitor (Jesse L.) You can see more on his youtube channel here: Drako155Video where you can watch the build of this ballista.


Here is the finished Ballista

popsicle stick ballista




    • 9 Full Popsicle sticks
    • 2 Three-Quarter Popsicle sticks
    • 2 Popsicle sticks cut in half (4 Half Sticks)
    • 6 Quarter Popsicle sticks (1 stick cut in quarters and the 2 quarters left from the ¾ sticks)
    • 3 pieces of string 3' , 3' and 12"
    • Hot glue



Make the base:

Glue together 4 full and 2 half sticks "log cabin" style with long sticks on bottom


Make the Bow:

Glue together 4 full and 2 quarter sticks together "log cabin" style with long sticks on bottom. Only put the quarter stick half on the full sticks when gluing.

Glue full stick in middle of frame with ½ inch sticking out front. This is your projectile rail.

Take one 3' piece of string and fold it in half. Hold the folded tip in your lips (or get a friend to hold it for you) and twist the string together ten or twenty times.

Fold the string double again, but let the string hang by one end. It should twist itself together part way. Again, hold the loose ends in your lips and twist it all the way.


Thread the string between the two full sticks on your bow frame.

Wrap the string around toward the long side of the projectile rail and tie it.

Rotate the string so your knot is on the top and trim your ends.

Repeat for other side
Use one of your quarter sticks, this is your rope twister. Insert the flat end between the ropes. Twist away from the outer frame rail towards the long end of the projectile rail the desired number of times.

After you have the rope twisted as tightly as you want it, put a generous gob of glue on the rope twister. Attach a half stick to the outside of the twister and hold in place for a minute or so to let the glue set.

If you did it properly than it should hit against the outer frame rail when pulled back towards the end of the projectile rail.

Repeat for the other side

String the Bow:

Put a slip knot in one end of your 12" piece of string and loop it around one end of the bow.

Tighten the knot so the string comes off the bottom of the bow.

Glue in place ( try to only glue the upper part of the loop because if the loose string gets glued it will hinder the movement of the string and the bow)

Tie another slip knot on the other end of the string so it lines up with the other end of the other bow arm. Tighten onto end of arm like before.

Glue in place.

**Your bow is now done and can be mounted on the base but you can add some firing rails to the projectile rail if desired(These will help in aiming the projectile)**

Make the Firing Rails:

Take a ¾ stick and cut both ends flat

Cut an angle at one end of both sticks. This is the front.

Glue this on one side of the projectile rail so there is a small lip. 1/16 -1/8 if possible

(this does not need to be very high at all) Reinforce this with more glue from the bottom if necessary. (Keep the top as clear from glue as you can because your projectile will need to move along this channel)

Repeat on the other side

Attach Bow to Base:

Glue a ¼ stick in bottom of bow between the 2 long sticks on outside of string

Repeat on other side. Do your best to keep the lengths of these the same. If not than your bow will not sit straight on your base.
Glue feet and back of projectile rail to base

To Fire:

Pull back string and load with projectile (pencil, pen, drinking straw, etc.)

Release string to fire



My finished Ballista cocked, loaded and ready to fire

The projectile in the picture is rolled paper with an aluminum foil arrow head.

You may also notice that I have added a firing pin. This is just a bent paper clip resting in a drilled hole so you can pull the string off the firing rail and fire the ballista.

Young Modelers Ballista

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