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How to make a Pea Shooter

Updated on May 18, 2013

I used to make these all the time when I was younger, and got the urge to make one recently. They are easy to construct, shoot a good distance, and are pretty fun.


For this pea shooter you’ll need a balloon, a film canister or another cylindrical tube, and electrical tape. You’ll also need something to cut the film canister (hacksaw, knife, etc.) and scissors to cut the balloon.

Step 1. Create the Barrel

Cut the bottom off of the film canister with a hacksaw or knife to create a hollow tube. If you used a hacksaw or other type of saw you will need to de-burr the edges. You can do this with the back of the hacksaw blade or with a pair of scissors. You can throw away the bottom of the film canister but I like to keep the cap so the pea shooter can be used for storing ammo when not in use.

Step 2. Cut the Balloon

Next you will have to cut the balloon with the scissors so that it fits tightly over the film canister. I find that cutting just below the neck of the balloon where it starts to open up works best and gives a nice tight fit.

Step 3. Attach Balloon to Barrel

Stretch the balloon over the film canister. I recommend pulling the balloon almost half way up, but this depends on the size of the balloon. You want to keep a good amount of balloon hanging off the back. This is the part that will propel your ammo. The more stretch you have the further your ammo will go.

Step 4. Secure Balloon

Use electrical tape to secure the balloon to the film canister. This step is optional, but I recommend it as it is quick to do and stops the balloon from coming off and you having to adjust it all the time.

Material Substitution

In the age of digital cameras it’s getting harder to find film canisters. They can be purchased, but it’s probably easier to scavenge something else. Some suitable replacements would be the top of a milk jug or soda bottle, a marker or highlighter with front and backs cut off, or even the inside of a tape roll. Any sturdy hollow cylinder that you can fit a balloon over will do.

A Word on Ammunition

These things will shoot pretty much anything you put in them from pebbles to BB’s. However, while pebbles and BB’s are good for targets, they are not the safest thing to be shooting. I imagine those little balls that expand when they are put in water would make good ammo that would be fairly safe. I believe they are called spitballs. In a pinch you could probably craft some real spit balls and have a good time.


The author of this hub page does not take any responsibility for any injury or personal damage resulting from the miss-use of the information presented in this article.


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    • Blond Logic profile image

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