When SheKnows set out to create a live Angry Birds game for our Summer Block Party issue, one of our biggest challenges was finding an affordable and easily-made launcher. We searched and searched but could find nothing. And so, we’re sharing how we made our own.
- 2 Exercise resistance bands (Around $8 each)
- 1 Single cut fabric square (Can be found at Wal-Mart for $1)
- 4 S-Hooks (Around $2 each)
- 1 Yard of cord / twine (Around $1-$2)
- 4 Paint stir sticks (Free from hardware store)
- Sewing machine, thread, fabric scissors, and fabric marker
- Drill, paperclip, and spray paint (optional)
Pick up a single-cut fabric square, or find a scrap piece of fabric that you already have. You will need a square that is approximately 14 inches by 14 inches in size. Iron your fabric until it is free of wrinkles, and then fold your square in half and inside-out, and iron the fabric flat. You should be looking at the backside of your fabric after this fold. Mark a guideline about 1-1.5 inches in from the open edge (the edge that flaps open vs. the creased edge you’ve just ironed), and head to your sewing machine for a quick run-through.
Sew a straight hem along the line you have drawn as your guide. Nothing fancy, just a simple run-through, but reinforce where your run starts and ends by reversing your stitch at the edge. This is as simple as sewing forward for 5 stitches at the edge, then backward 5 stitches, then forward again. Once you have reinforced your stitch at the edge, sew along your guideline until you get to the end, and repeat the reinforcement on that edge to close your stitch.
Once you have sewn your hem, you should have a sleeve. Pull the sleeve to turn it right side out, and then iron the sleeve flat with your recently sewn hem at the bottom edge.
Measure the width of your paint sticks by wrapping the edges of your fabric sleeve around them.
Use the stir sticks to draw guidelines for your last two sewing runs. Then sew straight hems along those lines, just like the hem before.
Once you have sewn the final two hems, use a pair of fabric scissors to trim the excess fabric away from the hem.
Use a drill to drill holes at the top and bottom of each of your paint sticks. The hole should be approximately 1/4 inch in diameter. You may also trim the paint sticks down to shorten them, but this is optional and would require a small handsaw. We also spray painted our paint sticks black, but this is also optional. Slide your paint stir sticks through the sleeves that you just hemmed. You will need two sticks per side to have enough support.
Cut your cord into three even pieces. Unfold your paperclip to make a hook and use this to help pull one piece of cord through the holes you have drilled on each side.
Wrap your cord around the paint stick, and then tie it off in the back. Do this on each side, and then use your third piece of cord to tie across the center. This will become the launcher’s handle.
Attach an S-hook to each corner.
Attach the opposite side of the S-hook to your exercise bands, and then you’re done!
Does it work?
SheKnows put this launcher to the test, and we were able to get a lot of successful launches. However, there are a few things we’d like you to keep in mind. We found this launcher works best at a distance of approximately 10-15 feet away from your Angry Birds game. We also found that it does take a bit of coordination and timing on the release to get a good shot, so this launcher would work best for older children, teenagers or adults, but it would not be a good option for young children. For younger children, we recommend just allowing them to throw the balls at the Angry Birds game. We tested that too and found it to be a success!
What we liked
- Extremely budget-friendly
- Quick & easy to make, even if you’re not a seamstress — the sewing involved is minimal
- Small & easy to store. Simply unclip your launcher and tuck away
- Can be used anywhere since no posts are required to attach the bands
- Simply unclip, and you now have two exercise bands to work out with
What we didn’t like
- The launcher simply pushes the ball out, so timing is important. You may try yours with more slack in the fabric that can help to hold the ball
- Paint stir sticks are slightly flimsy, so doubling up was necessary. We’d recommend using a stronger wood for a more permanent option
- Though this launcher does not require posts, it does require people. You will need at least two people who are willing to hold the bands while others play
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