Introduction: How to Make a Childrens Bow and Arrows

About: In a valiant attempt to keep myself from dying of boredom, I create.
Many years ago, I came home from a Cub Scout activity with a bow and arrows designed for fun and safety.  Eventually the arrows disappeared and so did the bow.  A couple of months ago, my 12 year old grandson, found the bow and asked if he could play with it.  No arrows, so he began creating some from tubes of newspaper etc.  He had fun.  This last time we created some not so great arrows to go with my bow, he still had fun, and he let me know that for his next birthday, he wanted a bow with some arrows.  Since I have no idea where I got this one, I have had an adventure, figuring out how to make a birthday gift worthy, yet safe, bow and some arrows.  This is the result of my adventure.

Step 1:

3 ft. piece of ¾ inch PEX Pipe (plumbing supply store +/- 65¢ a foot, comes in red, blue or white)
Nylon string
PVC pipe cutters
3 – 18” long 5/16 inch dowels (45¢ a 36 inch dowel at Wally’s World)
1 round pool noodle ($1 at dollar store)
1 flower shaped pool noodle ($1 at dollar store)
9 plastic vanes, 6 on one color, 3 of another (found them cheap here:, $4.95+$3.00 shipping for 36 vanes, any combinations of 2 colors, that’s enough vanes for 12 arrows, so 66¢/arrow, made my pocket book happy)
3.5 inches grey pipe insulation, for ¾” pipe (+/- $1 for 8 foot piece)
E-6000 glue
Paint (if wanted)
Box knife
Colored electrical tape
Tape measure
Masking tape
Serrated knife

Step 2:

This is the original bow I started with, I spent a month trying to determine what kind of pipe was used to make the bow.  No one seemed to recognize it.  I bought and tried several different kinds of pipe, until I discovered that it was blue 3/4 inch PEX pipe.  I got white thinking I could paint it.  PEX pipe doesn’t paint well.  You will spend a lot of time getting the shine off the exterior of the pipe before the paint will even dream of sticking.  Save yourself some trouble, and buy red or blue pipe, that way the color is taken care of.

Step 3:

Bow string:  Measure 3-36 inch pieces of the nylon string.  Tie a slip knot in one end of the 3 strings, and proceed to braid the string

Step 4:

until you have a braid 31 inches long.  Tie another slip knot.  This is your bow string.  The bow string on my original bow was fraying, so I needed to replace it any way, this worked really well for a new bow string.

Step 5:

Bow:  Using the pipe cutter, take a snip in one end of the pipe. 

Step 6:

Take another snip, very close to the first one.  This will cause a little piece of pipe to stick out. Cut it off with the box knife. 

Step 7:

Do the same things down the other end; just make sure they are on the same side of the pipe.  You don’t want the bow string to be twisted around the end of the bow. 

Step 8:

How slip one knot into the inside of the little slit. 

Step 9:

Flip the bow over and bend it outward, until you are able to slip the other knot (in the other end of the string) into the slit in the other end of the bow.  Place the bottom edge against the inside of your right foot.  This will hold the bow in place while you bend it.

Step 10:

Wrap a piece of colored electrical tape around the ends.  This keeps the string from slipping out (if you end up with 3 white bows, like I did, helps you be able to tell them apart).

Step 11:

Take the 3.5 inch piece of grey pipe insulation,

Step 12:

wrap it around the center of the pipe for the bow grip, and use the tape to secure it in place.  The bow is done.

Step 13:

Now the arrows:  I will show you how I did one and you will repeat the process 2 more times so that there are 3 arrows to go with the bow.

Arrow Nock:  The arrow needs a place to rest the bow string on the end of the arrow.  After much contemplation and experimentation, I decide the easiest way to make a nock is to just cut one into the wood, thus there is nothing to break, loose or cost extra.  I used the box cutter and cut (a little at a time) a V shape into one end of each arrow.  It doesn’t have to be deep or anything, just enough to help the bow string stay where you want it, each time you draw the bow. 

Step 14:

After the nock I spray painted the arrow shafts brown.

Step 15:

Arrow tips:  I wanted these arrows to be safe around things that pre-teen boys may want to shoot.  I had a couple of pool noodles in the toy closet, to I took them out and cut off one inch pieces, of the 2 types, round and flower shaped. 

Step 16:

I cut the round one in 4 pieces and I cut the flower one into 5 pieces. 

Step 17:

I took the E-6000 glue and put some on the inside curve of the round pool noodle part, and glued the outer side of the flower petal to it. 

Step 18:

I used masking tape to hold the 2 pieces together while they dried.

Step 19:

Once they dried, I took off the tape, and using my serrated knife and cut off the sides, so that the arrow point will have a point, but the dense closed cell foam from the pool noodle should prevent damage to things hit by the arrow. (hope, hope, hope).

Step 20:

Use the box knife and cut an X on the back of the arrow point and put a little E-6000 glue on the center of the X.  Stick the end of the shaft that doesn’t have the nock, into the center of the X.  The glue will help the arrow tip to stay on the end of the shaft.

Step 21:

Arrow vanes:  I told you where to get inexpensive arrow vanes, for these arrows.  If you just can’t do it, don’t put any on, they will be fine.  Otherwise take the odd colored vane, and using the E-6000, put glue on that vane

Step 22:

and attach it to the shaft so that it will be perpendicular to the nock.  The way you can teach your young archer that when grabbing the arrow grab the odd colored vane and it will be easy to load it onto the bow sting, plus, once you have glued the other 2 vanes on they will slide past the bow with less chance of being knocked off. 

Step 23:

Glue on the other 2 vanes, eyeballing where 1/3 of the way around the shaft is located.  Let it dry.

Step 24:

Now they are done.  This set of bows and arrows will never take down a deer, or a little brother, yet with a few lessons and reminders about archery safety they are ready for some summer outdoors fun.  Enjoy!
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