Make Crossbows at Home: How It’s Done & Common Materials Used

You’ve seen crossbows in movies and now you want to make one for yourself. No one can blame you, really. After all, they look cool AND effective. You’ve seen them pierce armors and you’ve seen them used underwater. Obviously, there’s no way that you can make it at home using common household materials. That’s where you’re wrong.

This guide will show you how to make crossbows at home using common household materials. Now, there are more complicated ways on making them. These processes obviously will make stronger crossbows. However, it’s better to keep it simple for now just so you can have a better understanding on how they work. You can consider this as practice before you move on to more complicated crossbows.

Here are the materials that you’ll need to make one at home:

  • Two pieces of wooden blocks that are about 2 inches in width (2 feet and 3 feet long)
  • Elastic wire or a very strong elastic band
  • Chisel
  • Hammer and nails
  • Projectile

Surprised? Using these basic materials that you can easily find in your garage or workshop, you can make your own crossbow. You don’t even have to go outside to buy materials. So go ahead and get those materials first and we’ll discuss what they’re for. If you have the materials already, let’s discuss how they’re used.

Wooden blocks

Blocks Crossbow

They will serve as the body of the crossbow. For this project, it’s important that they’re about the same width of two inches. The longer one (3 feet) will serve as the stock. That’s the part that you’re going to point towards your target. The shorter one (2 feet) will serve as the prod. This is where you’re going to attach the elastic wire. If you’re going to use wooden blocks that are lying around your workshop, you may need to cut and sand them.

Elastic wire or band

The elastic wire or band will serve as the string. The tension that it will produce will launch the projectile. The choice of string will be dependent on your project. For example, a rubber band would work if you’re just bored and you want to make crossbows out of pencils. But for this project, choose a very strong elastic wire or band.


The chisel will play a very major role for making the trigger. It’s not going to be a part of the crossbow per se but it’s important to finalize the details.

Hammer and nails

They will be used to put the crossbow together.


Think of it as the “bullets” of the crossbow. It’s like an arrow that one would normally use for a vertical bow. But these projectiles are called bolts and for this project, it can be made out of wood or steel. But aluminum or carbon works best. You can also attach a feather at the end for improved aerodynamics.

Now that you understand the materials needed and the part that they play, it’s time to put them together and make your own crossbow. Here are the steps on how to do so.

  1. You have to attach the two wooden blocks together. Make a letter “T” with the longer wood being the vertical line and the shorter wood being the horizontal one. Make sure that they make a perfect “T” so you may need to measure to know exactly where you will be attaching them together. Use the hammer and nails to attach them driving the nails through the shorter wood towards the longer wood.
  2. Hammer in one nail to each end of the shorter wood. But don’t hammer it all the way in. Make sure that the head is sticking out by about 1/8 inch. You also have to measure where you’re going to drive in the nails. Make sure that they’re parallel with the shorter wood.
  3. Tie one end of the elastic wire on the head of the nail on one end of the shorter wood. Make sure to tie it tightly and then tie the other end on the other head of the nail. Now, it’s very important to make sure that it’s as taut as a guitar string on a guitar. Your crossbow will not work if it isn’t. Now is also the time to check if the string is straight. If it isn’t, then it means that the nails are not parallel with the shorter wood.
  4. Now’s the time to use that chisel for the trigger and this is the tricky part. Chisel out a small rectangle through the stock from top to bottom where you’re going to arm the string. The size should be 1 inch by 1 ½ inches. Make a small L-shaped wood that will serve as the trigger. It should fit perfectly on the small rectangle that you chiseled out of the stock. Attach the trigger to the small rectangle using a nail. If you press on the trigger, you should see the other end stick out because that’s going to release the string. Chisel across the stock where you’re going to arm the string when you pull it.

You can also choose to attach a guide for your projectile. You can line the sides of the stock with popsicle sticks and that can serve as the guide. Now it’s time to arm it using your preferred projectile and test it in a safe environment. Once you’ve perfected it, you can make crossbows that are more complicated but stronger.