Friday, October 23, 2015

Fun with Fabric: from Jeans to Ancient Weapon

Pondering a pair of jeans that had outlived their usefulness I immediately knew the best way to upcycle them. While the Internet is bursting with ideas, there was one clear option: Weaponize Them. That's right, use the fabric to construct a David and Goliath style sling. Instructions for doing so are here, but I always got tripped up with the first step: find a swatch of leather. The instructions begin with this warning:

You can use fabric, like jeans, but they tend to rip around the hole the cords go through unless you reinforce them.

With retired jeans in my hands, I had to ask: did I really care about the longevity of this project? So it'll rip along the holes, who cares. Let's make one of history's oldest projectile weapons!

I used whatever resources I had lying on or near my desk. And this was the result:

Who knew a regular whole punch would have no problem cutting through jeans fabric?

You're eyes do not deceive you: the cordage I had readily at hand was indeed fuchsia. Between the blue jeans material and the fuchsia cordage, I've probably replicated the sling that comes with Medivial Warrior Barbie. Luckily, I'm very open minded about these matters.

So I've finally got my sling. And earlier this week, I tossed into my bag to take on a walk along the Potomac. When the coast seemed clear, I hopped down to the edge of the water. I grabbed a largeish pebble and deftly placed it in the sling. I then spun the swing and the appointed time, let go of one of the ends. The rock went splashing into the Potomac. It was absolutely pathetic. Surely someone got this on video and is, as I type this, posting it on YouTube. But I persevered and launched a few more projectiles.

The whole thing felt illicit, like I was somehow committing a crime by tossing rocks that came from the Potomac, back into the Potomac.

It was also fun and challenging and like any new skill, humbling. The experience was sort of like trying to hit a golf ball using only your intuition. It's harder than it looks.

I'm proud to say I have zero photos of me slinging or attempting to sling.

I've got a long ways to go before I even have anything resembling control with this primitive weapon. If I get the chance, I'm thinking about hitting the tennis court with some tennis balls. In a contained space, how much damage can I do? Hopefully, we'll find out!

Incidentally, check out this YouTube video, it shows the ancient sling being used for warfare today. Remarkable.


  1. I made a paracord sling a while back. I thought becoming accurate would be the hard part. Launching it in the desired direction proved a challenge. Just launching it proved tough sometimes. There is a very steep learning curve associated with these. But like most things, working at becoming proficient is part of the fun.

  2. Exploriment - exactly! I don't know if you watched the YouTube clip that I linked to at the end of the video, but it shows a group of guys hurling explosives. One mis-launch there, and you've blown yourself up. That's crazy.

    Anyway, I agree - it's challenging. But making the sling was easy and finding ammunition was easy. I just have to find a good place to practice.