Introduction: Night Elf Bow Tutorial
1. Cut out four layers of pink insulation foam and glue them together, two on each side, of a layer of thin plywood using Gorilla Wood Glue. Let dry for at least 24 hrs with a heavy weight on it to prevent the foam from lifting or sliding around. Or you could apply spray adhesive generously to the layers and clamp into place while they dry. It's faster but sometimes doesn't adhere completely.
2. Use a Dremmel and/or Power Sander to sand down the foam until it is flush with the wood and has a nice rounded shape. If you really want to push the "wood" texture, don't smooth the foam down too smooth and just allow it to be a little rough. Make sure to sand all the surfaces of the pink foam so the original label isn't visable, otherwise it'll give a different texture than the sanded parts when it's painted.
3. Map out the desired wood rings with a sharpee and carve them out with a Dremmel and a narrow bit or a wood burner with a really narrow bit. Both tools are great, but you have to have a steady hand with the Dremmel so the tool doesn't just go right through the foam, but the wood burner releases a lot of bad vapors and you can't let your hand linger or it'll just melt all surrounding foam.
4. Coat entire bow in a dark wash of brown acrylic, getting into all the grooves. In multiple layers, add lighter colors of brown, toape, red, cream, etc with a dry flat brush and just scratch the paint across the surface so it keeps the natural styrations and stays looking like wood. You can also use some wood varnish in the end to bring some warmth into the finish. Simply brush on, then wipe off with a paper towel. After you get the look you want, paint on a sealing layer of polyurothane.
5. Wraps are made with linen stained with coffee that was set to drip dry. Once dry, they were simply wrapped around and end was glued and tucked under. Bow string is also stained with coffee. One end is glued into place, other end is in a simple knot in case it needs to be restrung or tightened.
6. Handle is made from a simple wood dowel with leather cording wrapped around it, then stained with varnish. Use a power drill and a drill bit slightly smaller than the dowel to make the hole for the handle to go. When you're cutting the plywood from Step 1, make a hole for the dowel to go, otherwise drilling after the foam is down will be a lot more difficult.
7. Pole a hole into the foam under the spiral on either end, then glue feathers in place after wrapping the shafts with leather cord, leaving several inches of cord leftover so the feathers can dangle. Feathers above spiral are created by pulling the "spine" over the dull end of scissors, then glued into place with more holes that you drilled. Three large turkey feathers made the spine, then smaller, fuzzy feathers were used to fill in the space.
8. Pat yourself on the back, you're done! This tutorial can work for just about any bow design, is super lightweight and quite durable. I used bailing twine for the bowstring today, but I've also used elastic string from Joanes as well with much stronger results.
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