How To: Water Balloon Launcher

Water balloon launchers are the perfect addition to any outdoor summer activity, providing endless fun and excitement. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of creating your own super cool water balloon launcher.

Water balloon launchers are also known as water balloon catapults. They use elastic bands or tubing to propel water balloons through the air, providing a thrilling way to engage in water balloon fights or target practice.

There are different types of launchers available, including hand-held models and larger ones that require more than one person to operate. By knowing the type you want to build, you can gather the necessary materials and prepare for construction.

As you follow the instructions in this article, keep in mind the tools and materials you’ll need, as well as any safety precautions to consider. With a little bit of time and effort, you’ll soon have a water balloon launcher ready to provide hours of entertainment for you, your friends, and family.

Key Takeaways

  • Create your own water balloon launcher for endless fun and excitement during outdoor activities.
  • Understand the principles behind water balloon launchers and choose the type you’d like to build.
  • Gather necessary materials, tools, and follow safety precautions to craft a functional and enjoyable launcher.

Understanding What a Water Balloon Launcher Is

A water balloon launcher is a fun and exciting way to add a little extra distance and power to your water balloon battles, especially for kids. Imagine the thrill of watching a water balloon fly through the air at top speed, ready to deliver a satisfying splash to its unsuspecting target!

These devices are typically made from simple materials and use tension to hurl bunch o balloons over longer distances than you could achieve with just your arm. The basic concept involves a sling or pouch to hold the water balloon, along with elastic bands or surgical tubing to generate the necessary force for launching.

It’s essential to prioritize safety when using a water balloon launcher to prevent injury or damage to property. Be sure to keep a safe distance from targets, use only soft water balloons (like Bunch o Balloons, and follow any instructions and guidelines provided with the launcher. Never aim the launcher at someone’s face, as the force of impact can be dangerous.

In the next section, you’ll learn how to make a water balloon launcher of your very own. Get ready to take your water balloon fights to the next level and enjoy some friendly summer fun!

Filling up water balloons

Types of Water Balloon Launchers

Catapult-Based Launchers

Catapult-based launchers are ideal for some serious water balloon launching fun. These devices work by building up tension and then releasing it, propelling the water balloon through the air with great force. They often have a sturdy base made of wood or metal and a launching pouch, which typically holds the water balloon.

To make a catapult-based launcher, you’ll need:

  • A base made of sturdy wood or metal pieces
  • A throwing arm connected to the base
  • A flexible material, like latex rubber surgical tubing or bungee cord, for the tension mechanism
  • A launching pouch to hold the water balloon

When using a catapult-based launcher, simply load a water balloon into the launching pouch, pull back on the throwing arm (careful not to stretch the tubing too far!), and then let go to send the water balloon soaring through the air.

Sling Shot-Based Launchers

Sling shot-based launchers offer a different and more portable option for water balloon fun. These launchers consist of a Y-shaped frame – just like a traditional slingshot – with two latex rubber surgical tubing bands attached to each side, and a pouch for holding the water balloon.

Slingshot balloon launcher

To make a sling shot-based launcher, you’ll need:

  • A Y-shaped frame made of sturdy wood or even PVC pipes
  • Latex rubber surgical tubing to make the bands
  • A pouch for holding the water balloon, typically made from fabric, nylon, or other durable material

To use a sling shot-based launcher, grab the frame with one hand, and use the other hand to pull the pouch with the water balloon loaded, stretching the tubing bands. Once you’ve got good tension, let go, and the water balloon will be launched with impressive speed and distance.

Both catapult and sling shot-based launchers offer unique advantages in terms of design and user experience. Depending on your preferences and needs, you might find one type more suitable for your water balloon battles. Just always remember to play responsibly and have fun!

Handheld Balloons Launcher

If you’re short on time or just want to keep things as simple as possible, there is a third option when it comes to making your own water balloons launcher.

A handheld launcher is identical to the catapult and y-shaped types except that it has no supporting frame. To make one, simply make a balloon pouch and attach launching tubing.

Handheld Launcher

Add a handle on each loose end of the tubing. Instead of attaching these ends to a frame, ask a couple of friends to hold them instead!

You’ll need one person on each end of the launcher. They’ll need to hold it steady and keep it as taut as possible whilst you pull back the pouch and release the balloon.

This option is also very portable as it can be easily folded down for storage and takes up little space.

For easy instructions on how to make a handheld launcher, simply follow the steps below for making the balloon pouch and launching tubing.

Materials Needed to Make a Water Balloon Launcher

To make your own water balloon launcher, you’ll need to gather the following materials:

  • Handle: A 2 x 4 board will serve as the base for your launcher. You can adjust the length according to your preference, but common sizes are around 36 inches to 55 inches long.
  • Balloons: You’ll need water balloons, of course! Make sure to have plenty on hand for endless fun. Bunch o Balloons are an example of a popular brand of water balloons.
  • Surgical tubing: 2 pieces of 6-foot long latex rubber surgical tubing will be used for launching the balloons. This can be purchased online (e.g. McMaster, part number 5234K75).
  • Vinyl tubing: 2 pieces of 8-inch long 1/2″ vinyl tubing, available at your local hardware store.
  • Plywood: 2 pieces of 12″x36″x3/4″ plywood for stability and support.
  • Fence rails: 4 pieces of 2″x3″x8′ boards, typically sold at lumber yards.
  • Screws: A combination of 1.5″ and 3″ deck screws to hold everything together.
  • Duct tape: A small roll of duct tape will come in handy for added reinforcement.

In addition to these materials, you’ll need some basic tools for assembly:

  • Saw: A saw is necessary for cutting the 2 x 4 board to the desired length and cutting the fence rails.
  • Screwdriver: Both manual and cordless drill/drivers work for securing the screws.

With these materials and tools, you’re all set to create a water balloon launcher that the whole family will love. Remember to always practice safety when using tools and launching water balloons. Have fun!

Preparing the Launch Pad

Launch pad

Working on the Legs

To start building your water balloon launch pad, first gather four 2″x3″x8′ boards. These boards will serve as the legs for your launch pad, and you can find them at most lumber yards as fence rails.

Grab a cordless drill/driver and use it to connect the legs to create two separate pairs. It’s essential to make sure they are even and secure to provide proper support for the launch pad.

Creating the Pad Base

Next, you’ll need to create a base for your water balloon launch pad. Obtain two 12″x36″x3/4″ pieces of plywood. Align the bottom of one plywood piece with the marks on the connected leg pairs, holding the outer edges flush.

Then, drill three ⅛-inch pilot holes on each side of the plywood, around ⅜-inch from the edge. Screw the plywood tightly onto the leg pairs using eight 1.5″ deck screws, making sure the connection is strong and secure.

Attaching Cross Braces

The final step in preparing your launch pad is attaching the cross braces. These braces will provide additional support and stability to the launch pad. Set the second plywood piece aside for now. Use two 3″ deck screws to connect the top of the legs, where they meet in a V-shape. Once the cross braces are in place, you can attach the second piece of plywood to the top of the legs using the same process as before.

Your water balloon launch pad is now ready for action! With a stable foundation and supportive structure, the launch pad will help you get the most out of your water balloon launcher. Happy launching!

Making the Launcher Handle

Alright friend, it’s time to create the launcher handle for your water balloon launcher. This handle will give you the grip you need to pull back the surgical tubing and launch those water balloons with precision!

First, grab a piece of 2 x 4 board and cut it down to about 18 to 24 inches in length. This will be the ideal size for your launcher handle. If you’re unsure of the best length for you, feel free to adjust it according to your comfort.

Now that you have the right size, you’ll want to ensure the handle is comfortable to grip. Smooth out any rough edges on the 2 x 4 board using sandpaper. You can also round the corners if you prefer, to make it even more comfortable to hold.

Once you’re happy with the shape, it’s time to add some grip to your handle. Take your duct tape and wrap it around the 2 x 4 board. Start at one end and work your way to the other, overlapping the tape slightly as you go. The duct tape will provide a nice, non-slip surface for you to grip while launching those water balloons.

To attach the handle to the launcher frame, you’ll need some screws. Pre-drill holes into the 2 x 4 handle, ensuring that they align properly with the corresponding holes on the launcher frame. When you’re ready, use the screws to secure the handle to the frame. Ensure it’s tight and secure, as it will be under pressure during use.

And there you have it! You’ve successfully created a comfortable and functional handle for your water balloon launcher. Enjoy your new launcher, and may the back yard water balloon battles commence!

Working on the Launching Tubing

Designing Tubing Channels

To create an effective water balloon launcher, you’ll need to start by working on the launching tubing. Choose a type of tubing that offers high strength and elasticity – surgical tubing, latex rubber tubing, or vinyl tubing are all great options.

Make sure to calculate the ideal length of tubing for your launcher, keeping in mind that longer tubing allows for higher tension and increased launch distance. Decide on the width of the tubing channels, which will determine the amount of force your launcher can produce. The wider the channels, the more power your launcher will have.

Tying Square Knots

Now that your tubing channels are determined, it’s time to secure them. Tying square knots is an efficient way to ensure your tubing stays in place. When tying knots in your tubing, be careful not to create any kinks or weaken the material. To tie a square knot:

How To Tie A Square Knot
  1. Cross the right end of the tubing over the left end.
  2. Bring the right end under and through the left loop, pulling it tight.
  3. Cross the left end of the tubing over the right end.
  4. Bring the left end under and through the right loop, pulling it tight.
  5. Double-check the knot to ensure it’s secure and evenly tightened.

Creating Slits on Tubing

Creating slits on your tubing is essential for attaching the launching mechanism to the frame of your water balloon launcher. To create slits:

  1. Establish where the slits should be positioned based on your launcher’s frame design.
  2. Use a sharp knife or cutting tool to carefully cut small, evenly-spaced slits along the tubing. Be cautious not to cut too deep or damage the tubing’s integrity.
  3. Smooth any rough edges on the slits using sandpaper or a similar abrasive material.
  4. Inspect the slits to ensure they’re consistent in size and shape. This helps to maintain even tension distribution when your launcher is in use.

Creating the Balloon Pouch

First, let’s focus on creating the pouch for your water balloon launcher. This part is essential, as it securely holds the water balloons and serves as the holder and launching mechanism of your water balloon slingshot.

To begin, gather five pieces of duct tape, each about 8 inches long. Attach them together, side-by-side, with a slight overlap to create a larger rectangular sheet. Fold the top and bottom edges of the tape sheet about ½-inch inward, forming clean hems. This will be the main body of your pouch.

Next, cut two long strips of duct tape, each about 12 inches. Just like before, fold over one edge of each strip, about ½-inch, to create neat hems. Place these two hemmed strips facing each other, about 3 inches apart, on your work surface.

Now, carefully align the top and bottom edges of your rectangular duct tape sheet between the two parallel strips. Adhere the duct tape pieces together, forming the pouch for your water balloon launcher.

To reinforce the pouch, consider adding an additional layer of duct tape to the top and bottom edges. This will help to ensure a secure and durable pouch for your water balloon slingshot.

Water Balloon Fight

Launching Water Balloons

In this section, we will discuss two types of water balloon launchers: catapult and slingshot launchers. These devices can help increase the range and fun factor of your water balloon fights!

Using a Catapult Launcher

A catapult launcher is a great tool for launching water balloons over long distances. You can build your own catapult by using wooden materials and creating a sturdy frame. To make a catapult launcher:

  1. Drill a hole in the center of the 2-inch side of each leg, 3 inches from one end.
  2. Measure 12 inches from the end opposite the holes on the narrow side of two legs.
  3. Construct the frame and attach the launching mechanism.

After building the catapult, follow these steps to launch water balloons:

  • Place a water balloon in the launching pocket.
  • Pull back on the sling with the water balloon inside.
  • Aim for your target and release the sling.

With some practice, you can launch water balloons over 200 feet away using a catapult launcher!

Using a Sling Shot Launcher

A slingshot launcher is a simpler alternative to a catapult if you want to launch water balloons over long distances. To make a slingshot launcher:

  1. Find a sturdy Y-shaped branch or use a pre-made slingshot frame.
  2. Attach elastic bands to both ends of the Y shape.
  3. Create a small pocket or pouch to hold the water balloon.

Now, let’s launch water balloons using the slingshot:

  • Position the water balloon in the pocket of the slingshot.
  • Hold the slingshot securely in one hand and the water balloon pocket with the other hand.
  • Pull back on the elastic bands while aiming at your target.
  • Release the pocket to launch the water balloon.

Remember to be cautious while using launchers, and make sure you’re launching water balloons in a safe area away from people, animals, and property. By using either a catapult or slingshot launcher, you’ll bring an exciting new element to your water balloon games!

Finding Tools and Materials

It’s time to gather the tools and materials you’ll need for making a water balloon launcher. Don’t worry, most items can be easily found at your local hardware store or ordered online.

First, make a list of the materials you need. You may need items such as vinyl tubing, latex rubber surgical tubing, plywood, or 2″x3″x8′ boards. For fastening and securing the parts together, have a roll of duct tape, deck screws of different sizes, and wood screws at hand.

Next, head to your local hardware store to pick up the items on your list. For instance, most hardware stores sell vinyl tubing and deck screws. If you’re unsure of the exact product specifications, friendly store associates can help you find the right items for your project.

Some materials, like latex rubber surgical tubing, might be easier to purchase online from trusted sources like McMaster. Just look up the part number and place an order.

When it comes to tools, check what you already have at home before making any purchases. Common tools you might need for this project include a cordless drill, a saw, a screwdriver, and a ruler.

Let’s recap: you’ve got your list of materials and you know where to find them – at your local hardware store or online. It’s time to gather everything you need and start building your very own water balloon launcher. Have fun!

Tips and Warnings

When making a water balloon launcher, it’s important to keep safety and enjoyment in mind. Here are a few friendly tips and warnings to consider during your project.

  1. Choose the right materials: You’ll need materials like a 2×4 board, wood screws, a small plastic container, and duct tape. Make sure to use sturdy and durable materials to ensure the launcher lasts longer. If you’re making this launcher with kids, be sure to supervise them closely throughout the process.
  2. Watch out for sharp edges: When cutting boards or pieces for the launcher, be careful with sharp edges or splinters. Smooth them out as much as possible to avoid any injuries during the building or playing process.
  3. Select the appropriate screws: Using the right type and size of screws is essential for securing the launcher’s structure. Make sure they are long enough to hold the pieces together without poking through the other side. Remember to supervise kids when working with screws to prevent accidents.
  4. Consider different launcher sizes: There are various sizes and styles of water balloon launchers available. It’s a good idea to experiment with different lengths – such as 36 inches or 55 inches – to see which one works best for you and your kids. Keep in mind that longer launchers tend to be more exciting and can launch water balloons farther.
  5. Test the launcher first: Before letting your kids use the water balloon launcher, give it a test run yourself. This will help you identify any potential issues or hazards and ensure that the launcher is safe for use.
  6. Always prioritize safety: While using the water balloon launcher, make sure that everyone is aware of the proper safety precautions. This includes never aiming the launcher at people, animals, or property, and always wearing eye protection when operating the device.

By following these tips and warnings, you can create a fun and safe water balloon launcher for your kids to enjoy. Happy launching!

Water Balloon Launcher

Frequently Asked Questions

What materials are needed for a DIY launcher?

To build a DIY water balloon launcher, you’ll need materials such as plywood, 2×4 or 4×4 lumber, wood screws, a saw, a drill with a 1/8-inch bit, a screwdriver, a small plastic container, duct tape, vinyl tubing, and latex rubber surgical tubing. Depending on the design, you may also need PVC pipes and fittings, as well as a solenoid or sprinkler valve for more advanced versions.

What’s the best design for a one-person launcher?

The best design for a one-person launcher is likely a handheld slingshot style launcher. It is simple, portable, and easy to use. You can make a handheld slingshot launcher using surgical tubing and a small pouch for holding the water balloon. Attach the tubing to the pouch using duct tape or zip ties, and then attach the tubing to a sturdy handle or piece of PVC pipe.

How can I construct a PVC launcher?

To construct a PVC launcher, start by gathering PVC pipes, fittings, and a sprinkler valve. Measure and cut the PVC to the desired length. Assemble the launcher by connecting the PVC pipes and fittings to create a frame, a barrel for the water balloon, and a handle. Attach the sprinkler valve to the launcher to control the flow of air or water pressure. Make sure all connections are secure and watertight using PVC glue.

What are some fun water balloon games?

Water balloon games are a great way to enjoy the hot summer days. Some popular games include:

  • Water balloon toss: Players stand in a circle and toss a water balloon to each other. The goal is to avoid breaking the balloon.
  • Water balloon target practice: Set up targets, such as cutouts or buckets, and try to hit them with water balloons launched from your DIY launcher.
  • Water balloon relay race: Teams race to fill and launch Bunch o Balloons at targets or into a container at the finish line.

How can I make a launcher using surgical tubing?

To make a water balloon launcher using surgical tubing, you will need latex rubber surgical tubing, duct tape, a small pouch (or a section of an old T-shirt), and two handle options such as sturdy sticks, PVC pipes, or heavy-duty plastic pipes. Cut a length of surgical tubing, attach it to the pouch using duct tape or zip ties, and then secure the tubing to your chosen handles. Make sure to reinforce the connections with more duct tape to ensure the launcher is sturdy and ready for use.

What are some safety tips for using a water balloon launcher?

When using a water balloon launcher, it’s important to prioritize safety:

  1. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions or design specifications to ensure proper use.
  2. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid pointing the launcher at people, animals, or property that could be damaged by water balloons if the launcher misfires.
  3. When launching your Bunch o Balloons, use appropriate protective gear, such as safety goggles, to safeguard against accidents.
  4. Adult supervision is essential for children who are using or around a water balloon launcher to ensure they handle it safely.

Remember to have fun with your water balloon launcher while maintaining a safe environment for everyone involved.

Like this activity? You’ll love this Easy Balloon Painting Activity. Want another way to make a cool catapult? Check out the easy video tutorial in How to Make a Catapult with Lolly Sticks.