Make a Better Popsicle Stick Catapult

The Binder-a-pult 2000 is catapult with spunk! Built with popsicle sticks, a binder clip, bottle cap and hot glue, this DIY Catapult will shoot distances of around 20 feet!

Grab your popsicle sticks and raid the office supplies! We’re making a miniature popsicle stick catapult that seriously works great. It’s an easy to build catapult that’s not just a fantastic science experiment, but a fun toy.

Kids can use it to hurl marshmallows at their foes or knock down paper cup fortresses, all while picking up valuable lessons in STEM.

red catapult made of popsicle sticks, a binder clip and soda cap.
Behold: the Binder-a-pult 2000!

A while back Mitch and I made our first popsicle stick and spoon catapult. It’s a fine “simple machine” but it lacks…oomph. Plus it has an annoying tendency to fire straight up.

It’s fairly obvious why the spoon catapult launches it’s payload at the ceiling — when you pull back the spoon, it only moves about 45 degrees and all the launching force goes straight up.

I’m sure there’s a more scientific way to state this, but my degree is in journalism, not physics.

popsicle and spoon stick catapult made with rubber bands
The Spoon-a-pult 1.0

We’ve actually created a Popsicle Spoon Catapult 2.0 that solves the upward thrust issue, but…it’s not nearly as cool as today’s catapult.

The Binder Clip Popsicle Stick Catapult

Adding a binder clip to the pivot point (fulcrum) solves two problems: it’s adds way more energy to the catapult’s throw and has a greater range of motion. This allows the payload to move in a forward direction. In our basement tests, the Binder-a-pult was able to toss mini marshmallows 18 to 20 feet, and small foil balls around 15 feet.

Mini marshmallows are a great projectile — they’re a universal size, so your results should match mine. Plus you can snack on the ones not fired across the room.

— See how we made the Binder-a-pult 2000 over at YouTube. —

binder clip and popsicle stick catapult

Make a Binder Clip & Popsicle Sticks Catapult

Make a superior popsicle stick catapult using a binder clip as the fulcrum.

Materials

  • 6 Popsicle sticks (craft sticks)
  • 1 Binder Clip
  • Hot Glue

Tools

  • Low Melt Hot Glue Gun

Instructions

  1. Glue one craft/popsicle stick to the wire "handle" of the binder clip. Put hot glue inside the wire and down the length of the stick.
  2. Quickly place another stick on top, make a sandwich (stick, clip handle, stick). The sticks will NOT line up at the back -- that's ok!
  3. Repeat for the other wire handle.
  4. Glue the bottle cap to the top stick.
  5. Glue two more sticks to the bottom -- crosswise -- as a base.

Notes

Most bottle caps will work -- we used small water bottle caps for our Binder-a-pult. Metal bottle caps are not recommended as they might have sharp edges.

Always use caution when using a glue gun with kids -- even low temp glue reaches 250 degrees!

Crumpled balls of foil and small marshmallows make excellent projectiles for this style of catapult.

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