How to Build a Desktop Catapult

Build this awesome desktop catapult with leftover wood, a couple of dowels and some rubber bands. Your inner child will love it!


An hour or less




Less than $20


If you are anything like me, once a project is finished, you have all of this offcut lumber left over and hate to throw it away. It just feels like a waste. Well, this desktop catapult project will put that extra lumber to use. Put this cool little catapult on your desk at work to annoy your coworkers, or gift it to one of your young relatives. Since the only power tools we used are a jigsaw and a drill, this miniature catapult is easy for even a beginner to build!

Tools Required

  • 1-1/4-in. Forstner bit
  • Clamps
  • Drill press
  • Jigsaw
  • Speed square

Materials Required

  • 1-1/4-in. trim-head screws
  • 1x2 board
  • 1x4 board
  • 3/8-in dowel
  • rubber bands

Cutting List

Desktop Catapult Cutting List

Project Plans

Desktop Catapult Tech Art

Project step-by-step (6)

Step 1

If you want to check out some more quick projects like this desktop catapult, click here.

Crosscut the Lumber to Length

Desktop Catapult Cut to Length

Begin this desktop catapult project by first clamping down your board and use your jigsaw to crosscut the 1×4 board to 8 in. for the base (Part A), the 1×2 board to 12 in. for the arm (Part B) and the 1×2 to (2) 6 in. lengths for the vertical struts (Part C). Mark the lengths with a pencil and use a speed square with the jigsaw to make a straight cut.

Step 2

Cut Notches with Jigsaw

Desktop Catapult Scribe Notches

Place the 6 in. boards on the corners of the face of the 8 in. board and scribe the lines that need to be cut with a jigsaw. Clamp the 8 in. board to the work surface and cut out the notches with a jigsaw.

Step 3

Drill the Holes for the Dowels

Desktop Catapult Drill Holes

Temporarily fasten the struts together with painter’s tape face to face. Mark 3/4 in. and 4 in. on one of the struts and drill 7/16 in. holes on those marks with a drill press. Mark 3 in. from one end of the arm (Part B) and 3/4 in. from the other end. Drill straight through the board with a 7/16 in. bit and drill press.

Step 4

Use a Forstner Bit to Create the Desktop Catapult Bucket

Desktop Catapult Create Bucket

Mark a spot 1-1/4 in. from the end of the arm (Part B) and 3/4 in. from the edge. Drill about halfway through the board with a 1-1/4 in. diameter Forstner bit.

Step 5

Fasten the Struts to the Base

Desktop Catapult Fasten Struts

Drill a pilot hole in the struts (Part C) and fasten them to the base with two 2 in. trim head screws.

Step 6

Finish the Assembly with the Dowels

Desktop Catapult Finish Assembly

Cut the dowel to three 4-1/2 in. lengths and slide them into the holes, creating the final form of the catapult. Put the rubber bands on the catapult to finish the project.

CATAPULT featured image