How to Make Small Homemade Clothespin Guns


Create a small clothespin gun with common household supplies. The clothespin gun can shoot small projectiles, such as toothpicks and pellets, with a powerful force hitting ranges of up to 10 feet. The gun has been a popular homemade toy since the introduction of the wooden prong and spring clothespin design in 1853 by inventor David M. Smith. To create the gun, the clothespin is dismantled then reconstructed to allow the spring to act as a trigger.

Things You'll Need

  • Clothespin
  • Rubber band
  • Scissors
  • Utility knife
  • Utility gloves
  • Sand paper
  • Toothpicks
  • Dismantle the clothespin. Cut one half of the clothespin at its first notch. Saw the notch using the utility knife until the cut is deep enough to break the piece off. Discard the cut section.

  • Take the second half of the dismantled clothespin. Enlarge its spring hole using the utility knife, widening and deepening the notch. Use sandpaper to level out the area between the two notches.

  • Replace the spring on the modified piece, fitting the bottom spring arm into the small notch on the underside of the clothespin. Line up the notch of the second half of the clothespin with the top spring arm. Using some force, slide the top spring arm into the modified notch. This will cock the clothespin gun. If the spring arm will not stay in the cocked position, the notch should be deepened.

  • Test the trigger by holding the piece as you would hold a gun and pulling the trigger. If the spring slips from the notch or the spring's snap is weak, continue modifying the notch.

  • Place the cut half on top of the modified half of the clothespin, lining up each of the piece's notches. Secure the two pieces together by wrapping the rubber band around them. Wrap the rubber band enough to securely hold the pieces together but still allow for some movement.

  • Cock the gun using the top half of the clothespin. Set the clothespin gun aside. Cut the tip off of one end of a toothpick. Load the blunt end of the toothpick into the gun, lining up the tip of the toothpick with the edge of the modified notch. Aim the toothpick gun and pull the trigger.

Tips & Warnings

  • Try different projectiles to find the one that fires best.
  • Adjust the tightness of the rubber band to ensure that there is a strong hold but enough flexibility to load and cock the clothespin gun.
  • Wear the utility gloves to protect your hands from splinters and cuts.
  • Use caution when cutting and modifying the pieces with the utility knife.
  • Do not shoot any projectiles at another person. They can be fired with enough force to cause injury.
  • Wear protective eye-wear to prevent injury from the small projectiles.

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  • Photo Credit Zedcor Wholly Owned/ Images
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