How to Build a Crossbow

Developed in ancient times, the crossbow is one of the coolest-looking weapons out there. There’s just something fascinating about its design; the principle of the bow and arrow combined with the precision of a gun (which it naturally predates). Of course, not everyone can go around carrying a deadly weapon, so would-be William Tells will just have to settle with building a simple, non-lethal homemade crossbow made from everyday materials.

The materials that one would need to build a crossbow include 2 wooden skewer sticks, 4 square wooden chopsticks, cardboard, duct tape, an x-acto knife, strings, either rubber cement or hot glue, and a cloth pin. To begin, boil some water on the stove, in a clay container if possible. As soon as the water begins to boil, lower the heat and immerse the skewer sticks into the hot water for a period of 45 minutes in order to make them flexible.

After the 45 minutes have passed, remove the sticks from the water and jointly curve them in the shape of a crescent. These will serve as the bow of the crossbow. Make sure to bend them slowly and carefully so as not to break them. The sticks should remain in this shape for quite some time if they are placed on cardboard and wrapped on their ends with duct tape. Leave the sticks as they are until they have dried off. Afterwards, the skewers are wrapped with duct tape to keep them from coming out, as well as to toughen them.

The 4 chopsticks are then wrapped with duct tape, and a slit is cut onto them as well. The slit should either share the same width as the crescent-shaped skewers or have a depth of a few centimeters. The skewers’ midpoint is then positioned into the chopsticks. Use a string to tightly wrap both of the skewers’ ends (tying it at around ¼” from the curved ends), and apply either hot glue or plastic cement to affix them in that position.

To make the crossbow’s trigger, tie the bent ends with a string positioned diagonally from it. Ensure that the loop is firmly tied around both of the ends, and firmly glue the string at the skewers’ bent ends. Using duct tape, the cloth pin is attached on the chopsticks’ opposite end, which faces the bow. The cloth pin has to be sufficiently flexible so that it can be opened when desired.

This basically concludes the assembly of the crossbow itself. As for the arrows, they can be made out of simple toothpicks. To make them look a little more presentable and “arrow-like,” make little flags out of paper and merely attach them onto the ends of the toothpicks. A word of advice, though; when playing with the crossbow, please do be careful. While it may not be as dangerous as the real thing, it may still take someone’s eye out.

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