Need a gift for a birthday party?  Be the hero with the kids when you bust out a homemade bow and arrow set that actually works, is safe, and doesn't break. Sturdy PVC pipe and 1/16" steel cable for the bow, and a wooden dowel capped with a rubber foot does the trick! Budget $10 for parts and 45-60 minutes for assembly. (7 year old boy not included.)

Step 1: Get the stuff

Get the supplies at your local hardware store.

5' of 1/2" schedule 40 (cheap stuff) PVC
2 1/2" PVC 45 degree bends
5' of 1/16" steel wire
2 #8 fender washers
2 sheet metal screws or similar wood screws
2 screw-on rubber bumpers or hammer-in plastic feet for stools (1/2" to 3/4" diameter)
1 48" wooden dowel 1/4" or 5/16" diameter

1. The rubber bumpers are heavier and make higher performance arrows. For tots you might use the lighter plastic feet.
2. To cut the wire use diagonal cutting wire clippers like the kind built into needle nose pliers . Anything else will leave undesirable sharp frayed ends. (Remind the hardware store employee who cuts your length of wire.)
3. If the rubber bumpers come with fat stubby screws, you will want to replace them with longer thinner wood screws (see picture).

Useful tools:
Hack saw
Hand drill
Pliers with wire cutter (not shown)
Ruler or tape measure
Screw driver or socket driver
Drill bit
PVC primer and cement
Careful. PVC tends to shatter when it breaks.
Good work. But the arrows need feathers or similar. You can do it in soft plastic, or even on paper.

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