Short Howe Truss Popsicle Bridge

By on December 24, 2010 -- Modified on August 17, 2017

I built this popsicle stick bridge to complete my short popsicle bridge series. This bridge uses the Howe Truss design. Previous to this I had built bridges using the Pratt and Warren trusses. This bridge was 13.5 inches long and used 50 popsicle sticks. It ended up holding 117 pounds before failing. Here is a video of the testing procedure:

I changed up the testing with this bridge. Instead of placing one very large weight directly on the bridge, I started with a small weight. This increased the concentration of the load in the middle of the bridge. I figured this would be more realistic to the way bridges would be tested when built by other people. This is why I think this bridge held significantly less than the Short Pratt Truss Bridge.

You can purchase blueprints for this popsicle bridge in my store.

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14 thoughts on “Short Howe Truss Popsicle Bridge”

  1. Do you have any instructions on how to build this!

    By Landon Plank -- April 2, 2018
    • Yes I do. They are available from my store.

      By Garrett Boon -- April 2, 2018
  2. There is a cut in the video at 0:27
    I am making a bridge with a limited number of Popsicle sticks (60) and it has to be at least 1.9 inches tall and 1.9 inches wide (or 5 centimetres, if you live in canada like me)

    By Patrick -- January 9, 2015
  3. Hey. I guess I SUPER underestimate Popsicle sticks. I never thought that something like that could hold up to 117lbs but I guess jokes on me. I’m doing a Popsicle stick bridge project myself ( with a group of 3 others) and ,of course, there are bridge specs: 24″ minimum length, 300 Popsicle stick max limit , use carpenter’s glue only, at least one popsicle stick wide and will be placed across two desks spaced out by 20″.
    We’re planning on making it an arch bridge modeled after the Royal Gorge bridge. We already have a general Idea on how to make it with the exception of the width. With the size , Popsicle stick limit ,and the space between desks, how wide would you think would be a good median between strength and the least Popsicle sticks used?
    Also, does cross-bracing help support the weight, or is it even worth the extra sticks used?

    By Zachary H. Chavez -- September 11, 2013
    • Zachary,

      You don’t want to make it any wider than you have to. In fact, I would wonder if you could make it just as wide as the bridge in this article. It is “almost” one popsicle stick wide. Otherwise in order to connect the sides of the bridge you will have to use double the popsicle sticks.

      If by cross bracing you mean lateral bracing, then yes. It is definitely worth it.

      By Garrett Boon -- September 12, 2013
      • Ok. Thanks for da tip. I have one more question for you. What website could I go to actually “build” a “clone” of my bridge at school and virtually “test” it so maybe I can use that info to improve my bridge without building a separate one at my house that’s more or less identical? It’ll save me a butt-load if time. Thanks in advance 🙂

        By Zachary H. Chavez -- September 12, 2013
  4. How much weight did it hold, and how long did it hold all of the weights?

    By Abi Calarion -- March 12, 2012
    • It held 117 pounds for about 3 seconds before failing.

      By Garrett Boon -- March 12, 2012
  5. do you have a tutorial to build this or just word instruction?

    By Luis -- March 3, 2012
  6. would this work with elmers glue?

    By student -- November 16, 2011
    • Yes.

      By Garrett Boon -- November 17, 2011
  7. did you build it entirely of white glue?
    or did u use any other things
    by the way that was really cool

    By Kobe_bryant JR -- April 4, 2011
    • I am pretty sure I used Weldbond for glue on this bridge. I didn’t use anything other than popsicle sticks and glue for materials in this bridge. I had a couple other things to help me make it, such as the blueprints and some heavy books.

      By Garrett Boon -- April 6, 2011

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