Inspired by marshmallow shooters, this air-powered tampon gun turns your feminine hygiene products into high-flying projectiles. Have a shootout between rival tampon brands, or use it as a fun alternative to paintball. The tampon shooter has a range of 10 to 20 feet depending on your ammo and lung capacity. The matching bandolier lets you carry a full “clip” (i.e., box) of 20 tampons, so you’ll never be caught short in the heat of battle.
6 cardboard Tampax tampon vending tubes (not the cardboard applicators)
Four Tampax tampons, removed from applicators
Two 1/2-inch PVC T fittings
Two 1/2-inch PVC couplings
Two 1/2-inch PVC end caps
One 1/2-inch PVC 90-degree elbow fitting
Hot glue gun
With utility knife, cut 1/4 inch off ends of vending tubes to remove the crimped portion of the tube. Cut carefully to avoid bending or crushing the tube. Reserve the trimmings.
Lay out sections of tube and PVC fittings as they will be assembled: the barrel is composed of 3 cardboard tubes connected by the 2 T fittings, with a plain coupling at the open end of the barrel and the elbow fitting at the near end of the barrel. The elbow fitting has a tube going up, with another plain PVC coupling at the end to form the mouthpiece. Each T fitting has a tube coming down from it with a cap on the end to form the grips.
Test the fit of the tubes and PVC fittings before gluing in place. If the PVC fittings are not threaded on the inside, the fit may be too loose. To correct this, you can use some of the reserved tube ends you trimmed off as shims. Cut the cardboard rings vertically to open them and make a strip, then hot glue it around the outside of the cardboard tube end. Let glue dry before reinserting into PVC fitting. Stuff tampons into tubes to be used as grips. Filling the air space this way will make the airflow through the barrel more efficient.
To assemble, apply hot glue around the inside of a PVC fitting, insert the cardboard tube, and hold in place until glue has set. Then squeeze hot glue around the seam between the PVC and cardboard. Let each joint dry before moving on to the next.
Assemble grips, mouthpiece, and barrel separately, then connect the completed pieces.
Firing Instructions and Tips
To “load” gun, hold vertically with barrel pointing up and drop the tampon down the barrel.
To shoot, hold the gun steady and blow a hard, fast blast of air into the mouthpiece.
Aim the barrel slightly above the point you want to hit.
Wrapped non-applicator tampons (like OB) travel the fastest and furthest of any tampon ammo. They can also be fired unwrapped. If they are dipped in paint, they need to be fired quickly before they expand too much. Other unexpanded (i.e., unused) tampons (such as Tampax) can also be used as ammo provided they fit in the barrel. The gun can also be used to fire mini marshmallows.
Do not use tampons that have been worn. This is unhygienic and the expanded tampons will clog the gun barrel.
Wear appropriate eye protection and never aim at someone’s face.
7 plastic tampon applicators (from Playtex or similar tampons)
Self-adhesive Velcro strips (or non-adhesive, with glue)
OB tampons or other non-applicator tampons
Determine length of bandolier by looping a tape measure over your shoulder and diagonally around your torso for proper fit. Ours was about 40” long.
Create a two-sided strap of silver duct tape of the length needed. Do this by laying out the first strip of duct tape face up on a table or flat surface. Precut duct tape strips of a manageable length (about 12 inches or so) and very carefully lay them face down on the long strip, pressing them together and working from one end to the other. It’s OK if the strips overlap slightly as this side will be the back. Trim ends for evenness if necessary.
Starting about 4 inches from one end of the strap, mark ½-inch intervals where the “ammo” loops will be placed. The number of marks you make should be twice the number of loops you want on the belt. We made our bandolier with 20 loops, so there were 40 marks.
Cut ½-inch slits through the duct tape strap. Make sure the slits are even, centered, and straight because they will determine the placement of the loops.
To make the ammo loops, mark ½-inch intervals on the tampon applicator tubes and cut into ½-inch rings with the utility knife. Each applicator should yield 3 to 4 sections depending on its length. Slice each ring across its width to open it.
Starting with the first slit in the duct tape, insert the ends of loop into the front (solid) side of the strap. The ends of the loop should meet in the back and there should be a ½-inch space between the loops.
When all the loops are in place, turn the strap over. Secure the back side of each loop with a small piece of duct tape. Make sure the ends of the loop are close together so the loop will be tight enough to hold the tampons in place. A little too tight is better than too loose.
To create the backing and border of the bandolier, roll out a strip of black duct tape equal in length to your strap, and place it face up on your work surface. Holding the bandolier loop-side up, lay it carefully onto the adhesive of the black duct tape, lining it up so about ½ inch of adhesive is still exposed along the side. Fold the strip of black tape over onto the front of the strap. Repeat the process for the other side.
Finish ends of strap by wrapping with black duct tape. Lay a piece about 5 inches long face up on the work surface. Place the end of the strap face down on the adhesive, perpendicular to the tape, leaving about ¼ inch of the adhesive exposed at the bottom. Fold the ends of the tape across the back of the strap and press the adhesive surfaces together at the bottom to seal. Repeat for other end of strap.
Apply Velcro closures to ends of bandolier. Glue the Velcro in place if it doesn’t have adhesive backing. Use Velcro pieces about 1-inch square. One needs to be on the front of the strap and one should be on the back of the strap for the ends to overlap properly when closed. Load up the bandolier with tampon “ammo” and you’re ready to roll!