Marshmallow Crossbow Project


This project was entirely inspired by Steve Ramsey’s Wood Working for Mere Mortals YouTube channel. I’m really fond of some of the smaller wackier projects which Steve shows on his channel and I often get a lot of ideas from him. This particular project is a crossbow (pretty cool!) which fires small marshmallows (even cooler!). Having seen Steve’s video I decided I had to give this a go.

In an exception to my usual working practices, I actually didn’t need to model this project in 3D on my computer because Steve already provides plans for the project which can be downloaded and printed from his website. Having done that, it was just a case of cutting the pieces out and sticking them to some suitable lumber ready for cutting on the bandsaw.

I decided to use a two-tone effect (like Steve’s) as I thought it looked pretty cool. So I used oak for the handle and a mahogany type wood (Not actually sure what it is, as it came from an old table top I pulled out of a skip).

Glued the sections to be cut onto some wood

Using the bandsaw I cut each of the required pieces out as accurately as possible

All of the required pieces cut and ready of sanding

Once the pieces were cut I just had to clean them all up with the sander. For the most part this was pretty easy, but the more awkward pieces needed a bit of hand sanding to get into the nooks and crannys.

I spent quite a lot of time at the sander getting the curves right

The bow section fitted perfectly on the edge of my sander (Which was handy!)

The bow section needed to fit snugly into the handle section. So I cut the waste so that the gap left was a bit too small and then just used a chisel and file to remove a little extra at a time until the sections fitted perfectly.

Using a coping saw I removed the waste and then refined the edges with a sharp chisel

I test fitted the bow in the base and refined the edges until it was a good fit

The design called for a couple of thin wooden strips to act as a guide to channel the marshmallow along the crossbow. I simply used a couple of leftover bits of the darker wood and glued them to the handle. Then it was a case of sanding this to a smooth curve.

I glued some strips of wood to the top of the crossbow to act as a guide for the projectile

All of the required pieces for the crossbow cut and drilled.

I rounded off the guides on the sander

…so that they looked like this

Once this was done I could attach the bow to the body using a little bit of glue.

I used a bit of glue to attach the bow to the body

The bow and body attached

At this stage I spent a bit of time doing some more sanding to smooth everything off and to round over the edges so nothing was too sharp.

Then I spent more time sanding the entire bow, rounding off edges and making it nice and smooth

…this included using good old fashioned sandpaper too…

I also applied some finish at this stage. I decided to use boiled linseed oil, which with hindsight might not have been the best choice. It just made the oak look a bit too yellow for my liking. That being said it was only a bit of fun so I wasn’t not too bothered but I’ll know for next time not to use it on oak again.

I used some boiled linseed oil to finish the parts of the bow. Not my favourite finish I must say but it looks OK.

The trigger itself needed a bit of shaping in order for it to be comfortable, and I did this on the bandsaw. Then it was a case of attaching it to the body. The trigger was attached using a little bit of string and dental floss…strange but seems to have worked great!

I shaped the trigger a little bit on the bandsaw and then did a lot more sanding to get it nice and smooth

I used string and dental floss to attach the trigger components to the body

You can see here how the system works

The final step was to attach the actual bowstring. In Steve’s video he recommends a product called Thera Band which is a physiotherapy tool to help strengthen muscles. Its super strong and comes in a variety of stretchynesses (…is that a real word?) Anyway I went for the strongest one as I wasn’t really sure how strong it would be. Turns out that the one I got is pretty much perfect.

I used strips of physiotherapy band for to provide the tension in the bow.

I cut strips of the band and cut a length of string for the bowstring. I’d have rather used a thicker piece of string but I didn’t have anything better at the time.

I used a piece of string for the bowstring, but I would have preferred to use something thicker and harder wearing…but couldn’t find anything.

By wrapping the string in a few pieces of the elastic it was possible to hold the string tightly in place

You can see how the bow is under tension here.

One final addition was a small holder at the top f the crossbow which holds the marshmallows in place so they don’t fall off.

I glued the holder in place on the top of the bow…the idea being that it holds the marshmallow lightly so it wont fall off before firing

And here it is ready to fire…great fun 🙂

And that was it!

The crossbow works really well actually. I bought a big bag of marshmallows and spent the evening shooting at pretty much everything and everyone…great fun 🙂 My 2 year old daughter also learned what marshmallows are and that she really likes them…might need to limit the amount of ammunition I use after all 🙂